October 17, 2017

Three types of list stories

Choose from definitive, listicle and framework lists

Not all list stories are created equal. BuzzFeed’s Jack Shepherd lists three types of lists for Nieman Lab:

Three types of lists

Wish list The definitive list — all I want for Easter is a date with a girl with nice eyes, or at least one nice eye and a really cool patch; plus eight other things — is just one type of list that Buzzfeed favors. Image by Ian Muttoo

  1. Listicles. “‘109 Cats in Sweaters‘ is literally that,” says Shepherd. “There’s nothing more going on there.”
  2. Definitive lists. Lists like “The 50 Cutest Things that Ever Happened” tend to go viral. “50 Cutest Things,” for example, has garnered 316,000 Facebook “likes” so far. “50 Cute Things”? Not so much.
  3. Framework lists. These lists exist only to structure a narrative. Take, for example, “54 Reasons You Should Go To A Dog Surfing Competition Before You Die.” “That’s just a way of organizing this story that I’m telling about this amazing experience I had watching these dogs surf in San Diego,” Shepherd says.

“A list is just a scaffolding for a story … a way of organizing information,” says Shepherd. “I mean, The Odyssey is 24 chapters. You could call that 24 Chapters About Odysseus. That’s, like, a really great list. Really top notch. Really, really viral. Super viral.” 

Which type of list makes the most sense for your story?

  • Create Content Marketing Pieces That Almost Write Themselves

    Here’s the bad news: The story structure you’re using now probably isn’t helping you reach readers online. But there’s another structure that does draw readers into your message, pull them further through the piece and leave a lasting impression. Not only does it delight readers, but it makes the job of organizing webpages, blog posts and content marketing pieces a breeze.

    Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie’s Social media-writing workshop on Feb. 6-7, 2018 in Los AngelesAt Get Clicked, Read, Liked and Shared — a two-day social media-writing Master Class on Feb. 6-7, 2018 in Los Angeles — you’ll learn a six-step structure that reaches readers online and in print. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

    • Fill in the blanks to craft the best survey story you’ve ever written.
    • Use a simple template for crafting a tipsheet that almost writes itself.
    • Model the masters to a great listicle: It’s easy with our annotated example.
    • Three elements of a great lead — and five leads to avoid.
    • Five ways to avoid the “muddle in the middle”.
    • A three-step test for ending with a bang.

    Learn more about the Master Class.

    Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie’s Social media-writing workshop on Feb. 6-7, 2018 in Los Angeles

    Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

    Would you like to hold an in-house Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked workshop? Contact Ann directly.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

%d bloggers like this: