Challenge: Create a List Post

This is part 1 of our 7 Days to Getting Your Blogging Groove Back Challenge that we kicked off in the last episode of this podcast.

To recap –

Today’s Challenge: Write a List Post

In this episode I talk about different types of link posts that you might consider writing and given you a number of examples from my own archives to check out.

Listen to it in the player above or check out episode 138 on iTunes here.

  • Write and publish a List post
  • Head to the FB group (search for ProBlogger Challenge Group on FB) and look for the update I’ve done there were I call you to share your list posts. Share the link. Only new posts please.
  • Take a few minutes to check out, like, comment on and share other people’s lists.

In Today’s Episode List Posts Can Take a Number of Forms

Further Resources on Writing List Posts

Update: Here are the rest of the Challenges in the Blogging Groove Series

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view

Hey there and welcome to Episode 138 of the ProBlogger Podcast. This is challenge number one of our seven days to getting your blogging groove back challenge that we kicked off in the last episode of this podcast. If you haven’t listened to that episode, I really do strongly recommend that you go back to Episode 137 which just goes for 13 minutes, and it gives you an overview of what we’re doing in this challenge.

To recap, everyday for the next week I’m going to suggest a particular style of blog post for you to create. It can be a written piece of content, it can a video, it can be a podcast, whatever you choose to do. My challenge to you is to create and publish that piece of content and to join our ProBlogger Challenge Group on Facebook and to share the post that you’ve written so that we can check out each other’s blog posts.

You can find all the details of the challenge and today’s transcript and show notes at

Let me tell you what today’s style of blog post will be for you to create in the next 24 hours. Today, I want you to create a list post. This is the easiest type of post that I could come up with for day one to help you ease into this particular challenge. I decided a list post would be a good one for a few reasons.

Firstly, it’s something most of us are familiar with, we’ve all read them. Most of us as bloggers have probably created them. It’s also something that can be done relatively quickly depending on how you approach it and I’m going to give you some options that you might take with your list post in a moment.

Also, in my experience, it’s one of the most effective ways of creating content and it’s something that appeals to readers. It can be the type of post that can attract a lot of eyeballs and it can be accessible to those readers.

A list post works for a number of reasons. Firstly, they’re scannable. They tend to keep you from rambling although that does depend on the style of list post that you choose. I guess they do keep you a little bit more succinct, they’re readable. It’s very easy to consume a list post, particularly if you format it well. They can be comprehensive if you want it to be and they can also be pretty light. They can also be very persuasive, you can come up with twenty-one things in your list post that can really add a lot of weight over time if people get right through in that list.

They can be easy to write, I actually find them quite easy to write because you come up with an outline first of your twenty-one posts or however many points you want to make. And then, you just fill in the blank after that. They’re very shareable and they’re the type of content that does get shared around a lot. There’s been studies done into that. They can enable you to communicate something that can be quite complicated in a fairly easy to understand way. They break things down just by the factor that they affect that they are a list. List posts can be a great type of content to write.

Most of you have probably done plenty of list posts in the past and may not need to listen to anything else. But if you want a few tips on how to do it and how to approach this challenge, there are three types of list posts that I would suggest you consider. Really, I guess it’s about the complexity of the post.

The first one that I would suggest you consider is the simple list post. This is where the vast majority of your whole post is a list. You might want to write a short introduction or a short conclusion with a call to action at the end. But the list itself makes up the bulk of the post. The post itself may not even have an intro outro, it might just be a list.

An example of this is a post that I published on ProBlogger a little while ago now called Twenty-One Ways to Write Posts That Are Guaranteed to Grow Your Blog. When you go and look at this, the whole post is a list. It’s just twenty-one short phrases or sentences. Some of the only have three words, some of them have up to nine. It’s a very, very simple list. You could read it in fifty seconds even though there are twenty-one points there. You could probably read it in half a minute.

This is an example of a very simple list post. That may be what you choose today. I actually find list posts, some of you might look at it and go, “Oh, that’s too light.” Sometimes, by the fact that they’re so few words in there, you get straight to the point in each point you’re making, they can actually be very powerful. I’ve seen a number of people use this technique to communicate really powerful things in very few words.

The challenge when you’re writing such a short post is to choose the right words and to make them powerful words. You may choose to do that today. Secondly, you might choose to do a longer list post. The last example that I gave you, those twenty-one things that were just very short, light sentences and each point can be very effective because it’s so to the point, but it can also sometimes be too light to convey a more complicated message. You may actually frustrate your readers if you do too light a post.

Most of my posts I would say are longer list posts that I’ve done. These are where you come up with your list and you might have a heading for each point which might be similar to that simple list and then you might write a paragraph on each of those headings. Or, you might write two or three paragraphs. Again, I’ll give you some examples in today’s show notes. Firstly, a post I wrote a few years ago called How to Take a Great Group Photo. This is on Digital Photography School. How to take a photo of a group of people.

Whilst that title doesn’t indicate that it’s a list post, it actually has twelve tips. I could’ve probably titled it Twelve Tips to Take a Great Group Photo but I kind of sometimes don’t like numbered type posts. They tend to convey something to your readers, so I decided just to title it How to Take a Great Group Photo. But if you look at it, it’s a list post. There are twelve tips, each of them has a heading, each of them has one to five paragraphs under that heading and most of them has a photo as well to illustrate the point.

Similarly, another post I did on Digital Photography School, Twenty-One Tips For Amateur Wedding Photographers. Again, very similar style heading for each of the twenty-one tips. Underneath, there was a paragraph or two as well. This is a bit more comprehensive than your simple list post, it allows you to go into more depth. Also, the thing I like about these is that they link out very often to other things that you’ve written in your archives. Particularly look at that Amateur Wedding Photography one, most of the points there’s links to other things that I’ve written. This is one of the things I love about a list post is that it enables you to sneeze people out into your archives.

The third type of post that you might like to choose today is where you just use a list within a post. You might choose to write something more in the format of an article, or an essay, a long format piece of content and then use lists within that as well. That can also be very effective. I’ll share examples in today’s show notes of those types of posts. It’s sort of an essay but there’s these lists within it as well. That can help to illustrate several points along the way in your article.

Now, I know some of you are listening to this challenge today and are cringing, you may even be crying. List posts are very popular with bloggers. As a result, some bloggers don’t like them because they can be overdone in some niches. Sometimes, people go list posts are too light, they’re too fluffy, I write much detailed content. Of course, it all comes down to how you want to approach it today. You could make almost any style of post lighter, it’s not just list posts. You can write an opinion post that’s light, you can write a review post that’s light. You can also make list posts very meaty as well.

If you’re saying to yourself I’m not doing this, I don’t want to sell it, I don’t want to write a list style post, I challenge you to write a meaty, comprehensive list. For example, I’ve used this example before on this podcast, my post on ProBlogger My Ultimate Guide to Making Money with the Amazon Affiliate Program. I’ll link to it in today’s show notes. It’s actually a list post. In fact, it’s two lists if you look at it. There’s an extended introduction with newer sections in the introduction and then there are thirty tips that have several paragraphs of information.

The total length of that article was seven-thousand and seven-hundred words long. As I said two episodes ago on this podcast, it’s an evergreen piece of content that continues to drive hundreds of visitors to my blog everyday, if not thousands. Hundreds of thousands of people have read that post, it’s seven-thousand words long, it’s a meaty post. I would argue it’s probably my most comprehensive post on the blog. It’s broken down into lists.

I think that the list format of that post makes it much more readable, shareable, and much easier to understand. If I just chosen to write more of an essay style post, I don’t think it would’ve been read as much as it has. It wouldn’t have had as much impact upon my readers.

I challenge you, if you are thinking no, I’m not doing a list post, they’re too light. Write a meaty one, write the most comprehensive list post you can possibly write if that’s where you’re heading.

A few last tips on list posts. Think about your formatting, it’s really important to make it scannable, to use headings, to use bullets if that helps. If you’re doing a simple list post, one of those really light ones, it’s probably appropriate to use bullet points. If it’s a more comprehensive post, I would encourage you to use headings and subheadings and to consider breaking the post up with images as well.

Adding further reading to the post, the points that you write can be a really effective way of making your post more comprehensive, more useful to your readers, but also getting people to visit other parts of your sites.

Lastly, if you want some more step by step tips on how to create a great list post, check out today’s show notes because there I’m going to link to a great post that Ali Hale wrote on ProBlogger a couple of years ago now, it’s called Ten Steps to The Perfect List Post. Itself is a great example of a list post and it contains some really good advice from Ali there. Check out today’s show notes over at to get a link to that.

Lastly, you don’t have to write your list post As I said in the introduction to this challenge, you can actually create a list post in other formats. A list could be the basis for a podcast. Ten Tips to something. A list could be the basis for a talking head video, it could be the basis for an infographic or some other visual content as well. Feel free to take this in any direction you want, the key here is that you are creating something in that format, in that style. Be creative, make it relevant to your audience.

The challenge today, write and publish a list post. Head over to our Facebook group. If you haven’t already joined, search for ProBlogger Challenge Group on Facebook or look for the link in today’s show notes and look for the update there that I’ve done where I call you to share your list posts. Please try to get them all in the one spot there. Share a link to the post that you’ve written and please only share new posts that you’ve written for this challenge. Don’t just go into your archives and find a list post. We want you to do this challenge to create new content.

And then, the last thing is to check out what other list posts people have submitted there and to like them, comment on them, share them if they’re relevant for your audience as well.

I really look forward to seeing what list post you can create today. You can take this in any direction as well, you could write about five tools that you use, you could write a step by step guide. That’s something you could write about five habits of great photographers or great bloggers or whatever it is that you’re writing for. You could write five mistakes that new people in your industry make. You could write five books or blogs or YouTube accounts that everyone should check out. You should write five reasons that you love something or five values that shaped you. There’s a whole heap of different ways and it doesn’t have to be a list of five things.

I look forward to seeing what you create over in the Facebook group and I’ll talk to you again in 24 hours. This is daily challenge for a whole week here on the podcast so make sure you’re subscribed to the podcast to get notified of that. Thanks for listening, I’ll chat with you tomorrow.

If you know another blogger who you think should join the challenge, let them know about it. Share it. The more people that are involved in these challenges, the better. It’s amazing when we have a large number of people and they have shared niches, the collaborations that can come as a result of this.

The last time I did a challenge like this, I saw a number of really amazing collaborations emerge. I saw people collecting products together as a result of some of the stuff that they did. I saw people partner up, I saw people become friends. Do invite other people, it’s great to have a large amount of bloggers participating in these challenges.

Lastly, if you do think it’s relevant for your audience, I’d love you to link back to these show notes as inspiration for your post today. You don’t have to do it but if you think other readers that you have might find some value in participating in this as well, link over to the show notes so they can see where you get the inspiration for the post as well.

Thanks for listening, I’ll chat with you tomorrow.

How did you go with today’s episode?

I look forward to seeing the list posts you create today. You could take it in any direction. I’ll talk to you in 24 hours.

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