There’s something about a title with a number in it that draws a crowd. I expect it’s the promise that there will be a several sub-headings and the reader can pick and choose what to read. You should be inserting sub-headings into your articles anyway, when possible, but the list article is the only kind guaranteed to have those subs. How do you write one?
Steps for writing a list article
1. Pick a topic that can use a list. Is there more than one way to get a task done? Are there several solutions to the same problem? Can you create a list of subcategories for your topic? Is there a multiple step process your readers would be interested in learning.
2. Having found a topic that will have a list, research your list. Use the numbered list as the headings for your article. Add enough notes below each heading so you’ll be able to add details in the next step.
3. Expand on the points. If anything is unclear to you, it will be unclear for your readers. Do more research and keep your eye out for more points.
4. Don’t forget to put in a good intro and conclusion. Don’t just present a list. Explain why your readers need this. Tie your list together at the end.
5. Finish by checking your numbering. Is it in a sensible order? Do you still have the same number of items as the title of your article?
Taking Your List Article Further
Since you went to the trouble of researching the items on your list, you probably have more you could say. Each item in your list is another potential article. Do you see more articles waiting to be written? Do you see more list articles?
If your first list article is at a high enough level, you can find yourself drilling down into your topic over and over again. One well choosen article can breed dozens of offshoots. Since you probably don’t want to have dozens more articles in progress, put your ideas into an idea file. Every idea that pops into your head for another article can be added immediately. Don’t wait until after you’re done the current one. You may believe you’ll remember it. You often won’t, especially if you have a lot of ideas. And that’s the how and why of writing list articles.
Article text copyright 2011 David Arthur Smith. All Rights Reserved.