10-Tips for Writing a Listicle Blog Post

Warning! This is a listicle about listicles. Wait, what?

At its most basic, a listicle is simply an article, broken up into a list. But it’s so much more than that. 

I LOVE listicles! I love writing them. I love reading them. I love writing them for my clients. 

So here are my 10-Tips for Writing a Listicle, including why listicles are an excellent blog format for your business:

  1. They’re easy to consume: 

Everyone is busy; we get it. Unless your prospect is taking time to do some serious research, you’re probably going to catch them while they’re perusing your site on their mobile device. 

  1. They’re scannable: 

For the skimmers out there (probably all of us), listicles, like bulleted items, are easy to scan to get the gist of the thing. And sometimes, we want to go deeper to read more or click on something inside the copy. But the beautiful thing is we don’t have to. We can take 5 minutes and know just what the point is.

  1. Add more detail: 

Make your list scannable, but also add value by including practical information, resources, or links. Your audience may consume this now or never, but Google loves when you provide value. Plus, useful SEO-optimized content that matches what people are searching for will help your chances of ranking higher if that’s your goal.

  1. Use your expertise: 

Always, no matter what you’re writing or what format it takes, use your blog to demonstrate your knowledge and authority on a subject. A listicle might take zero research if it’s a topic you know, like the back of your hand. Test this theory: Do a brain dump on a topic you feel comfy with and see how much you can write. That might be the start of your listicle right there.

  1. Collaborate with others for exposure and backlinks: 

Your listicle could be a curated collection of things that provide value for your audience. If you mention another business, reach out to them and ask if they would share or link to your blog. It’s good for them and good for you. 

  1. Shareable on social media: 

The beauty of a listicle is that each item in the list can be repurposed on social media. For example, a listicle with 10-20 items (optimal) can be turned into 10-20 mini blogs or posts on IG or FB. I recently wrote a blog on product descriptions and later created graphics to go with each item in my list and shared them on social media. I can use these again and again.

  1. Easy to write: 

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by a 500-1000 word blog post, instead you can think of a listicle as writing 10-20 captions or paragraphs. Does this feel less daunting? I think so!

  1. Great for teaching a process: 

Listicles are a great way to teach your audience how to do something like make Kale chips (something I’m actually doing) or changing the oil in your Can-Am Spyder (something I’m not doing). But you get the idea. Think of something you do that feels routine to you, and then imagine you’re teaching a classroom full of students how to do it. Just write it like that. There’s your listicle.

  1. Ideal for showing behind the scenes: 

Maybe you want to share a behind-the-scenes look inside your workshop or studio, not necessarily for teaching, but because people love to see how stuff is made. I wrote a recent blog post for Kristen Mara Jewelry on this exact thing. She was launching a new jewelry collection, and the listicle showed her process. We then used this content to build excitement and anticipation for her latest collection while also repurposing the listicle content for social media. Boom!

  1. Mobile friendly: 

Listicles are perfectly bite-sized nuggets for consumption on our mobile devices. Did you know that 3-lines of copy in a word doc adds up to 6-lines of copy on your phone? That feels and looks like a lot of copy, and for busy people (all of us), they might just scroll on by. Most people nowadays consume content on their phones, so take the extra step to see how your blog post looks on mobile.

Are you feeling inspired to try your hand at writing a listicle blog? I’m willing to bet it goes easier than a regular blog post, and you might even surprise yourself with how much content you can create that’s already in your head!

Give it a try, and let me know how it goes! Need help? I’m here for you. Contact me today to schedule a 30-minute brainstorming session!

MY Year of YES!

Photography by Sandra Costello

Ok, Shonda, game on!

I just finished reading Year of Yes, and I’m not trying to steal your thunder or anything like that. Promise. But it’s time for MY Year of YES!

I’m a homebody. A varsity-team recluse. That is until I miss my kids or sisters, and then I go into full-on-planning-get-together mode. And after, I’m a homebody again. 

To say I was made for COVID and social distancing…that’s cliche. Every introvert has been claiming this for the past 18-months. But I really was made for it. 

For real. The pandemic just provided positive reinforcement that I don’t need to go anywhere or see anyone to be happy.

I’d been practicing for this moment my entire life. 

Until I decided to start practicing for the next part of my life.

My year of yes started in February when I said yes to a virtual retreat hosted by branding expert Juju Hook, called Prime Time Prosper. It was an emotional, jarring, and magical journey over 3-days with talented, beautiful prime time women (40 and over), all seeking the same thing: to design the 2nd half of our lives the way WE want. To do what WE want and build businesses we never want to retire from. Mind. Blowing.

And after saying yes to the retreat, I said yes to a year-long coaching program with the same group of women, also led by coach, mentor, sister-in-prime-time, and beautiful human, Juju Hook. 

What I expected to get from the program was guidance, support, and a roadmap for my business. Check, check and check.

What I didn’t expect? 

  • I didn’t expect to feel like I ‘belonged’ in a community of women who are kicking some major business booty. But I do.
  • I didn’t expect the pureness and richness of genuine, authentic friendship and connections.
  • I didn’t expect the giving-nature of my prime-time sisters and a culture of community over competition.

But I got ALL of this. Because I said yes.

So why stop there?

Why not say yes to something I would have said a gigantic NO to a year ago… A rebranding photoshoot with a real professional photographer. 

WTF?

Could I actually say yes to getting in front of the camera, having my makeup done by a ‘pro,’ smiling, laughing, tilting my head, and tossing my hair? Yes. I said yes.

And instead of feeling self-conscious, like I would have in my 20s, 30s, and 40s, on photoshoot day, I gave zero fucks about my past insecurities… 

too curvy, 

too busty,

too short, 

too curly-haired,

not enough this, 

not enough that,

blah, blah, BLAH!

Hey insecurities, bite me.

At 59-years old, I said yes to ME…

  • More confident in ALL of myself-ness than anytime before in my life. 
  • Yes to building the life and business I want. 
  • Yes to knowing I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. 
  • Yes to connecting with amazing, talented women.
  • Yes to all of it.

I’m chipping away at things that feel uncomfortable and not quitting when things feel hard or even when the path forward is zig-zaggy and pebbled. The voices in my head that used to say ‘no, you can’t’ are now saying ‘oh hell yes, you CAN!’

My year of yes is morphing into my life of yes. I’m saying yes to all of the experiences and people of my choosing. 

Yes to overcoming challenges and fear.

Yes to more adventures.

Yes to more connections with family and friends.

Yes to my gifts and talents.

Yes to everything that ever felt out of reach or not for me.

YES, big wide world, bring it on!

Writing Product Descriptions that Sell!

“My product descriptions are boring!”

“I have no stinkin’ clue what to say about this collection.”

“My jewelry descriptions all sound alike.”

I hear these comments pretty often, and one of the most common requests I get from my clients who have product-based businesses is asking for help with product descriptions.

With just a few simple guidelines, you’ll be on your way to writing product descriptions that sell and are far from boring:

Keep the focus on your ideal client.

Ask yourself:

  • What are their problems, pain points, or desires?
  • What makes them feel comfortable or cared for? 
  • What matters to them?

How you answer these questions about your ideal client will dictate your next steps when writing your product descriptions. By addressing these fundamental questions, you’ll be able to use just the right language to grab their attention and convert sales.

Talk about benefits first, features next.

Benefits will speak to how your product will make your customer feel or how it will solve their problem and then make them feel. They’ll care less about features if they know your product will fix something or make them feel better. So focus on benefits first and features later.

Here’s an example for a shower drain screen:

Are hair-clogged shower drains drowning  you in a soggy puddle of soapy water? 

Crossing your fingers and counting your pennies to see if you can afford that $150/hour plumber? 

No need! We’ve got you covered (and your drain too) with our NEW drain screen, designed to stop hair from clogging your pipes and draining your kids’ college fund.

If you sell a luxury item, the benefits are not quite so easy because the customer doesn’t really “need” what you’re selling. So it’s even more important to figure out what matters to your customer or what emotion you need to appeal to and then start by leading with benefits.

Avoid using superlatives just because.

Superlatives like: easiest, fastest, best, most improved sound like you’re stretching the truth unless you have clear proof of these things. It’s essential to build trust with your audience, so avoid these words unless you can back them up.

Tap into your ideal client’s imagination.

When you’re selling online, your customer cannot pick up your products, touch, feel or smell them. So when choosing how you describe something, find words that insert your customer in the exact scenario you want to create. 

Here’s an example for an apple-spice scented candle:

You’ll never forget those summer picnics in the backyard when the highlight of the day was plunging your fork into Grandma’s homemade apple pie. It was warm and crusty, not too sweet and not too tart, with a touch of cinnamon spice. These apple-spice scented candles feel like visiting grandma.

Use storytelling to overcome practical or rational objections.

This is most important when your product is a luxury item rather than a necessity. 

Some of the resistance you might face may sound like this:

  • Do I really need another pair of athletic shoes?
  • I already have 2-pairs of hoop earrings, do I need another pair?
  • The wine glasses I have are dated but they’re good enough.

By interjecting a story with your ideal client at the center, you’ll get them to look past their objections by painting a picture and appealing to their emotions. Use sensory words to elicit feelings.

Here’s an example for a leather backpack: 

You’ve had your fill of “rules” for now. The weather forecast is showing sun for days. You gas up your machine, pack your Gridiron Black Leather Backpack and start misbehavin’ a little. You are daring. Dazzling. Unpredictable.

Back it all up with social proof.

Use testimonials and reviews as much as possible on your product pages. Most customers want to see social proof and know that others have tried and loved your product or service.

Make your descriptions visually scannable.

This applies to other parts of your website as well. Here are the most important components:

  • Name of Product as a Subhead: Make sure this is bigger than the rest of the description or in a secondary color.
  • Great Photography: This is a must. Your imagery is the first impression of your product. If your images are dark, fuzzy, unclear, or too far away, your clients might just skip right over them.
  • Storytelling Intro: This is where you talk about benefits and tell a story for your customer, and put them at the center of it. 
  • Features and Facts: Here’s the nitty-gritty about the product. Materials, size, and any specific and pertinent details. List these in bullet form for easy scannability.

Use words and phrases that sell.

With your choice of pretty much the entire dictionary, don’t reinvent the wheel. Use words that have been tested and proven to convert sales:

Urgent words – limited quantity, for today only, don’t wait, while it lasts

Words about your audience – you, your, yours

Newness – introducing, launching, brand new, be the first

Reassurance – guaranteed, easy, simple

Build a word bank.

Store it in Google Drive or whatever system you use like Asana or Trello, and consider the following:

  • List the words that best describe your product or service. 
  • Don’t be afraid to use a thesaurus to expand on your initial list. 
  • List words that you use in everyday communications when writing or speaking
  • Make a note of words you would never use or that are just not you. This is helpful if you are working with a copywriter.
  • Your word bank becomes your go-to when you’re writing anything for your business, not just your product descriptions.

Test. Test. Test.

As with everything related to your product, sales, and marketing, nothing is set in stone. If you feel like your descriptions could be improved or could use a refresh after a while, go for it!

The same is true for your emails, blog posts, and website content. Make a plan and then test it to evaluate your results via actual data. Keep what’s working, and revise and retest what’s not.

Need a little help with product descriptions? Let’s set up a 30-minute complimentary discovery session to dig a little deeper and get you on your way to some kickass product descriptions that sell!

Down the SEO Rabbit Hole

I know I’m not alone.

You start with a task, a plan, and a clear path to the end game, and somehow you end up someplace else. Can you relate?

2-hours later, you realize you’ve gone so far down the rabbit hole you can’t remember what you were doing in the first place. Not only that but now, all other projects MUST be placed on a brief hold while you reprioritize.

Usually, I’m pretty structured, using my Asana planning system to tick things off the list every day and get shit done. I’m pretty effing good at getting shit done, to be honest. I’m not perfect, and I do fall off the wagon. But each day, I climb back on and keep moving forward, trying to do the next most important thing.

Recently, I went so far down a rabbit hole that I had to add a whole new project to my Asana system when I came up for air. Has this ever happened to you?

My rabbit hole? SEO. Search Engine Optimization. You know what I’m talking about…

  • We all know we need it. 
  • We all think it’s the magic fairy dust that will cure all of our business problems. 
  • We all feel if we understand it, we’ll leap onto page one of a Google Search. 

Probably not going to happen, at least not today. Trust me; I have the same delirious thoughts.

As a copywriter with years of direct response marketing experience, it’s my job and responsibility to write copy that gets results for my clients. That’s why you hire me, right?

So, while I love to tell meaningful stories, it can’t just be about pretty words. It has to move your audience into action, but your ideal clients need to find you first. That’s part of SEO. And as the digital marketing arena evolves, my skills need to grow at the same time to stay current. Part of the reason SEO is so essential is that Facebook ad reach is not working as well as it used to unless you have a sizeable budget. So people are looking for alternatives, like SEO.

This week, while down the rabbit hole, I committed to up-leveling my SEO knowledge to help you get what you want. Results.

Today’s blog post was supposed to be about my favorite writing and grammar checking tools, but instead, it’s a promise to share what I’m learning so that you can benefit from my rabbit hole excursion.

Already this week, I’ve learned about a few helpful tools like SEM Rush and Moz and also the increasing value of ranking for local search. And still, there’s so much to learn! 

So I’ll be digging into the SEO resources with the specific intention of bringing you more value by sharing what I learn.  

To quote one of my favorite authors, Maya Angelou…

“Do the best you can until you know better.

Then when you know better, you do better.”

Are you ready to dig into your SEO? Let’s jump on a discovery call to chat about where you’re heading. CONTACT me today to get started.