Content thought leaders constantly advise us refrain from writing these gimmicky things, yet we never seem to listen, do we?
One of the most popular types of listicles is the “5 Tips” article.
Why five? My objectively correct theory is that readers generally aren’t interested in learning more things than they can fit on one hand. (And if you’re a double amputee, my most sarcastic apologies.)
Because these kinds of blog posts do so well in terms of traffic and engagement, I thought I’d ensure that this blogging fad is perpetuated in the form of this article.
So if you’re a blogger who wants to learn how to cash in on this annoying trend, this article is for you:
1. Start with the first point first, then work your way down from there
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating: “Don’t begin your ‘5 Tips’ article with Tip #38”.
However, if you like countdowns, you can start with Tip #5, followed by Tip #4, Tip #3, Tip #2, and so on until you finally get all the way down to Tip #1.
Just make sure that when you go in reverse order, you maintain that sequence. Five tips is plenty to confuse the heck out of the brains of your readers.
2. Write an obnoxiously long intro that takes forever to get to the actual tips
Make sure to write a preamble that’s long enough to put the Gettysburg address to shame. If you have a long personal story that has little to do with the topic of the article, this would be the place to put it.
Also, doing this ensures that your audience will be surprised when you finally get to the first tip. “I was so engrossed in your story about why you decided to quit your job as a bank teller to become a shark tamer that I totally forgot that I came here to learn how to fix a leaky faucet. Neat, I guess!”
3. Make sure your tips are vague enough to encourage people to continue reading
Who wouldn’t want to continue reading a section that begins with something like “Just do it”? Not I!
This is a great way to add unnecessary suspense to an article about something that doesn’t need suspense, like knitting or whatever.
Recommend tips like “Keep it simple”, “Do it everyday”, or “Don’t get discouraged”, that way your audience will be frustrated when reading your post, but frustrated in a good way.
4. Always make sure your tips are really obvious
I’m pretty sure the Writer’s Bible says “Thou shalt not let thy reader feel stupider than thou.”
For example, if you’re writing an article about blogging, be sure to include tips like “proofread your articles before you publish them”, or if you’re writing an article about health and fitness, include tips like “stay hydrated throughout the day”.
Remember, if you’re readers walk away smarter than they were before reading your article, you’ve failed.
5. Throw in at least one shocking tip that’s really not that shocking when you explain it
This is especially useful in articles that are about something completely innocuous and wholesome.
For example, if you’re writing an article about how to be a good mother and wife, you could include a tip that begins with “mercilessly slaughter your entire family”, and then follow it up with “…but only if they’re possessed by demons”.
With this type of tip, write it as if telling your audience “please take my advice out of context”, only explain it further with “don’t judge me by my weird advice, judge me by attempts to explain it.”
There! Now just follow these 5 tips and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a blogging hack, uh, I mean, blogging master! Yeah, that’s what I meant to say!
…Yes. Of course…
Hey, look at that weird thing over there!
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