Listicle: Things to Consider When Creating Content

Updated: Mar 30

Whether it's marketing, news reporting, or just posting content on social media, your organization needs to have criteria in place to ensure resources, like money and time, are not wasted. Believe it or not, it's not a complicated process.

· Frequency: How often do people talk about a certain topic? If you witness this phenomenon in various places more likely it's something that is of interest to just about everyone.


· Familiarity: Does it have to do with people or places close to your target market/demographic? Certain communities are more familiar with certain things than others. For example posting an article about Sushi may not be helpful on a Facebook page about Midwestern Cooking while an article about grandma's secret fried chicken recipe would be.


· Negativity: Does this portray target market/demographic in a positive or negative light? Sometimes tough subjects need to be discussed in order to make a community a better place. When doing this always end with a "light at the end of the tunnel" comment.

· Unexpectedness: If an event is out of the ordinary it will have a greater effect than something that is an everyday occurrence.


· Unambiguity: Is it easy to understand? To some a topic is easy to understand to others it's complicated. When possible, break it down to the simplest concept while avoiding generalizations and stereotypes.


· Personalization: Events that can be portrayed as the actions of individuals will be more attractive than one in which there is no such "human interest."

· Meaningfulness: Does it reflect your target market/demographic values, customs, and morals? Can it be used to fix a problem?

· Prominence: Stories concerned with the influential, famous and infamous get more coverage. a good example is a news agency reporting on a recent shoplifting crime; While theft of a $60 item from a store doesn't sound like an important story, the politician who is accused of the crime makes it such.

· Conflict: Opposition of people or forces resulting in a dramatic effect. Stories with conflict are often quite newsworthy. With this in mind, don't use it all the time or your audience will accuse you of being a "provocateur" or someone who is just "stirring the pot" in order to get attention.

• Continuity: This idea has two parts: 1. Content that is already produced is easier to add to than that that has little to no information. 2. A story that has the potential to evolve or offers numerous aspects each time you update it.

· Composition: Will it make a good article, listicle, or video? Sometimes less is more. If you saw a video about these criteria would you watch? Probably not..

· Competition: Is a competitor already producing similar content?, if so what aspect are they not revealing? What can you do that doesn't just "rehash"?

· Co-optation: Content that is only marginally newsworthy in its own right may be covered if it is related to a major running theme.


· Predictability: An event is more likely to be covered if it has been pre-scheduled. When you have a planned event you can get numerous stories out of it; The event is next week, here's the event, last week the event happened. Holiday seasons, elections, sporting events, etc. fall in this category.

· Time constraints: How long will it take to produce it? Sometime content is like a pizza, the best approach to talking about it is to focus on the pepperoni.

· Logistics/Data: Do you have supporting photos, video, newspaper clippings, or access to expertise needed to tell the story?


· Labeling: Especially on social media, the audience judges whether or not to interact with your content based it's first impression of it. Thumbnails, title, and date are major factors. Ensure to deliver on "clickbait" each time or your audience will just dismiss you as a waste of their time.


· Copyright: Is this original content or is it something you got elsewhere? If a government agency or official produced it more likely you can use it. If it's produced by a company or individual assume you're going to need some form of permission. Be aware of grey areas, a good example is Dr. Martin Luther King jr.'s "I have a dream" speech.. yes MLK is a historical figure but his estate owns all of his works. To learn more visit https://thekingcenter.org/contact/


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About the Author

Michael Woodruff is the owner of Woodruff Media Management, a marketing/news agency in Miami, Oklahoma. Mike earned a certificate of Film Production from Central New Mexico Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication from Missouri Southern State University.


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