How to Create Buzzfeed-Style Listicles in Ten Minutes

Presented live on Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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If you haven’t published a blog post in a month…

We’re tackling the 10-min method to write and publish a Buzzfeed-like listicle.

Not a work of creative art.

Not an expertise-showcasing, Pulitzer-winning masterpiece.

But listicles.

Promotion-ready, traffic-loving listicles.

Like the ones that made Buzzfeed Buzzfeed.

Because sometimes you have to get out of your head and hit publish. And if you could do exactly that in 10 mins a day – every day – what could that mean for your traffic?

Inside this tutorial:

How to Create a Buzzfeed-Style Listicle

  1. Open Buzzfeed and scan the headlines
  2. Use Google Trends, Answer the Public, Ahrefs, etc to identify a [relevant] topic
  3. Go back to Buzzfeed… reverse-engineer a headline to create a formula… and stuff your topic into that formula until you find yer angle (max 1 min)
  4. Google the topic and open each result in a new tab
  5. Open the Airstory Researcher
  6. Clip away, tab by tab
  7. Organize your clips on the page
  8. Write a brief intro and turn your clips into quick sections
  9. Publish

Join Joanna as she shows you a super speedy way to create content that will drive traffic to where you want it… your website.


Introduction [00:00}

Joanna Wiebe: Are you ready to talk to me? A little bit, not really, just kind of virtually about mystical content.

We rarely talk about content and honestly, people combine copy and content. And there is a world where I might give into that. It’s not the world I come from, though it’s a world I have to travel to. And I’m on my way there, but I’m not there yet. I still separate copy and content.

Copy has a direct line to the yes and content is a wiggly line, hopefully one day to a yes. And that’s what I don’t love about content.

However, content is an incredible tool for getting people to come to your site, particularly to your blog. But it’s a great way to get people to actually come to your blog and then click on your logo up at the top and go like, who are you? And go from there.

We actually, we were looking for a new developer, like an agency, to build out the new copy school. Seriously, you guys, when we launch the new Copy School. Yeah, we’re moving platforms, potentially, we’re going to keep some courses on Thinkific because we love Thinkific.

But we’re moving some things. It’s a thing. But nonetheless, we found one of the developer agencies. We didn’t end up going with them for other reasons, but we found them through a blog post that they’d done. This happens all the time. Everywhere people find you through your content and then become leads or just become really good traffic etc etc.

What to Expect in This Tutorial [01:41]

Joanna Wiebe: So we’re talking today about writing content. And this is how Copyhackers became Copyhackers, writing content. And that’s where we want to, we’ll keep investing to see what happens next, keep going with it.

What we have not done, like ever, are listicles. Because I don’t really like them. I don’t love a listicle. It seems like they’re such an obvious BS kind of way to go about creating content. Like I didn’t have time to create a really good post so I just did a listicle. But, what’s interesting is that yes, if you don’t have time to create content, and you’re like, Well, I’m not going to write a listicle because I’m Joanna and I just have an objection to the very concept of a listicle.

Like that’s just me getting in my own way. Right. I would say that’s you getting in your own way, if you said to me, I just don’t like listicles. And I was like, well,Buzzfeed has 1.2 billion page views a month. Not that you’re going to try to become Buzzfeed necessarily. Maybe you are.

But that’s significant for writing really short content, maybe there’s something there, and you should stop getting in your own way. So today I’m going to present on no longer getting in your own way, when it comes to content that you write.

We’re going to talk about short content today, in particular the 10 minute Buzzfeed listicle. That means you can and should write a listicle that’s like a Buzzfeed listicle in 10 minutes or less. Don’t spend more time than that on writing a listicle.

All right. Let’s dig into what this looks like. And then I’m going to walk you through. You should be seeing my screen right now. We are recording this, as I mentioned, and then I’m going to walk you through how to do it.

Why Should You Write Listicles? [03:49]

Big ROI on this, right? So we always want to know why we’re doing something. And if you don’t have a good “why” for doing something, don’t do it. Particularly if you have a lot on your plate, which most of us do, so 13x ROI is a pretty solid return on investment for this work. This is really recent data, HubSpot found this. Feel free to go to that link.

But it’s really just saying, if you invest in marketing efforts such as blogging you’re 13 times more likely to see positive ROI. Read the whole article. This isn’t taken out of context, but it gives you a lot more color and flavor for the idea of blogging frequently.

But this really interesting, blogging frequently can lead to 13x ROI. So do really basic math if it takes you 10 minutes to do something, you get massive ROI from it. It’s probably worth that 10 minutes of time. But if you take six hours to do the same thing. Will you get the same return on investment? Don’t know. Do it for yourself, find out.

Content That Drives Traffic [04:50]

All right. What if, now this something as we go into the next year. Shake 2020 off like it never happened, or my greatest fear is that we’ll long for 2020 somehow. That’s my greatest fear right now is 2021 is even worse than 2020. I’m sorry. I can’t stop. I can’t. This is where my brain goes.

It’s the changing seasons. I don’t belong in winter. All right. But what if in 2021 you published a post every day for the whole year. And this is not just me asking this. This is not me asking this just of you, but of our business too. What if we were to publish a post every day for a year to stop focusing so much on expertise building and authority building content and start focusing more on breaking things up.

Have a really solid, amazing post, but then also have one post a day or two posts a day, three listicles a day. What else could we do? And it would give us a lot more content to promote. Because that’s a big thing right? Content marketing is about promotion more than it’s about creation. And a lot of us focus on creating, creating, creating and rarely actually go out and promote, promote, promote. So every time you publish one thing, it should get 10 items of play. I don’t know what the word is. But you should play it 10 times across your social media at least.

If you only have three blog posts on your site because you’re so focused on, you know, writing these big epic posts only, you don’t have that much to promote. Or else you exhaust the people who are following you, because you keep promoting the same content instead

Buzzfeed has, of course, social content, that’s what they call it. Content that can be shared socially content that is loved in social spaces. And I’m not suggesting that this is the best way to do social media marketing at all. All I’m saying is, maybe your content should be more social or social ready and that really does mean more of a quantity game.

So you might have quality already going on. What if you also added some quantity into the mix so that you can drive more traffic? Again, this is about traffic not expertise. So if you’re like, well, Jo, how am I going to build my expertise? That’s all the other stuff we talk about with content, get blogging, doing incredible pieces, going on stages. This is about traffic traffic traffic traffic more and more traffic that keeps growing and growing and growing.

Why Buzzfeed-Style Listicles? [07:28]

So why again Buzzfeed is now worth $1.5 billion dollars. It’s ridiculous. When you think about

The Wall Street Journal sold to Jeff Bezos for $250 million. It’s The Wall Street Journal and it made a quarter of a billion, Buzzfeed is worth 6x that, it’s crazy.

And it gets 1.2 billion page views a month. Now what’s Buzzfeed doing? It’s easy to disregard Buzzfeed. But everybody knows, everybody in copywriting knows that the core of Buzzfeed headlines, where they started from, is so based on old school like John Caples copywriting, “They all laughed when I sat down at the piano – but when I started to play!”

Clickbait. We call it, of course, today as we all know, but that’s not what it was in early advertising. Nobody was of course it wasn’t referred to by that because there was no click in the first place.

But nonetheless, it. That was just how you capture people’s attention. That’s what it’s all about. And given that you’re a copywriter. And you’re good at capturing attention, you should be able to write and attract the kind of traffic that you need and want using headlines that are like Buzzfeed but are actually more like John Caples. So someone said what is Caples? It’s who is Caples and that’s John Caples.

So, we’re talking about for Buzzfeed and you can go through and you can add in chat if you want to, things you know about Buzzfeed and things that you’ve noticed. We’re not talking about quizzes. We’re talking about listicles in particular here.

Elements of a Buzzfeed-Like Listicle [09:00]

  • Heavy on headlines – physically lare, “Caples” optiimized
  • Easy-to-read numbered listicles
  • Gifs or social embeds
  • Bite-sized content
  • Published hourly

Heavy on the headlines. These are physically large headlines. I’m not saying you have to go change your blog design. But it never hurts to have a large headline, physically large headlines. They’re optimized to be something that John Caples would be like, Dope!

They’re easy-to-read numbered llisticles. They’ve got gifts or social embeds so that’s something to consider. Bite-sized content and they’re publishing hourly. I do not expect you to publish hourly, but hot damn, imagine if you published hourly and like pushed everything into whatever tool you use, Sprout Social, Edgar, Tailwind has that Pinterest create thing.

All of those sorts of things that you could do. What can I do for your traffic? Right now, how often are you publishing? Is it worth trying this at all?

How to Create a Buzzfeed-Style Listicle In 10-mins [9:50]

  1. Open Buzzfeed and scan the headlines
  2. Use Google Trends, Answer the Public, Ahrefs, etc to identify a [relevant] topic
  3. Go back to Buzzfeed… reverse-engineer a headline to create a formula… and stuff your topic into that formula until you find yer angle (max 1 min)
  4. Google the topic and open each result in a new tab
  5. Open the Airstory Researcher
  6. Clip away, tab by tab
  7. Organize your clips on the page
  8. Write a brief intro and turn your clips into quick sections
  9. Publish

Open Buzzfeed & Scan the Headlines [10:02]

Okay, so here’s the how-to on it now that we’re pretty deeply into this tutorial. A 10 minute Buzzfeed-style listicle every day. Here is how and I’m going to show you right away. Number one open Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed needs to be involved in this.

So, open it in one tab scan the headlines is how you start the process that we started now, now that we’re starting to get into this. Open Buzzfeed, scan the headlines. This is your swipe file. Buzzfeed just became your swipe file.

Use a Tool to identify a [Relevant] Topic [10:16]

Use Google Trends or answer the public or eight reps to identify all those kinds of tools, whatever it is that you use to identify a relevant topic. When you use Google Trends, you’re not going to get a lot of B2B kind of stuff. So like there’s rarely a trend on email copywriting in Google Trends. And that’s where Answer the Public can be really good for those kinds of things.

However, if you’refFrom an ecommerce company, right now Google Trends could be great for that. Google Trends will feed you so much if you’re trying to target consumers. Ahrefs as well, if you have lots of money because it’s expensive.

And then so you use that to find your topic. Right. And then you might go into the day already having a topic, you watched something on the news last night. You’ve got a new news angle going on, so you write that. Cool. If you already have your topic. Great. Even better.

Reverse-Engineer a Buzzfeed Headline to Create a Formula [11:05]

But if you don’t do that, then you want to go back to Buzzfeed. Reverse engineer a headline to create a formula. I’ll show you what I mean. And then stuff your topic, like really cram your topic into that formula, until you find your angle.

And I mean, don’t take a lot of time with this. You want to look at a headline that grabs your attention and go like, okay, how do I push my topic into that exact thing. Don’t overthink it. If you think people publishing on Buzzfeed are overthinking things. This is a machine. We are churning things out.

Google The Topic and Open Each Result in a New Tab [11:32]

Google that topic and open each result in a new tab and I’ll show you how to do this.

Open Airstory Researcher [11:40]

Then open the Airstory Researcher – the tool can be found right here.

Clip Away, Tab by Tab [11:42]

Clip away tab by tab, you’re not thinking you’re just doing at this point.

Organize Your Clips [11:46]

Organize your clips on the page.

Write a Brief Introduction [11:48]

Write a really brief intro and you can clip, as you’ll see, you can clip a bunch of stuff from the intros that other people have used for the articles that you’re basically referencing, copy those over and just drag those onto the page too. Then reorder them or like reword them.

Publish [12:03]

And then you hit publish! And then that’s really it. You want a brief intro. We don’t overthink it. Not a lot of warm up copy just dive right in. and then turn your clips into really quick sections.

This is also good. If you’re an affiliate If you’re an affiliate for email marketing or for like a ConvertKit, then you might want to do 15 different posts in a single week or two weeks of a month just on different things to do with that, always linking out with your affiliate link to the sales page for ConvertKit, whatever that thing is.

But there’s so many angles, especially if you’re a freelance writer, What you’ll notice and what I’ve noticed, I’m not an active Buzzfeed reader but on Apple news, it just puts Buzzfeed stuff into my little list. And they’re basically always like shitty things you can buy on Amazon, like your nine amazing deals that will change your life on Amazon.

I’m like, all right, let’s see. And then you click through and you’re like, That’s dumb. That’s stupid. That’s ridiculous. That’s lame. No, I wouldn’t. And then you buy one of the things, and the rest of them, you’re like, no.

So it doesn’t have to be extremely genius. Just keep that in mind. This is not about being a genius, it is about speed, getting through it fast. Those are the steps. I’m not going to get into We’re not going to be able to write an entire post in this time, but it is a 10 minute window and you have to give yourself that, no more than that.

Over-The-Shoulder Tutorial [13:42]

Okay so open Buzzfeed scan the headlines. I’ve landed on this, “32 products you probably need if you love plants more than people.” Of course, I started reading through this. So this grabbed my attention. This is one.

I’m not going to read it because it will take you down a rabbit hole, just leave it open. Then I went over to Answer the Public and I searched, I think it was just copywriting. And of course Answer the Public has all of these questions that come up. Are copywriting courses worth it? I think the third bullet that I read here, so I just went with it.

Googled copywriting courses that are worth it, like, Don’t overthink it. Take the exact same language that you just saw and Google it. And then open all of these tabs. That’s probably in your way. You can see everything that’s purple here is a tab that I already opened and went through.

I didn’t do anything on Warrior Forum, just because there’s a lot of stuff in there that will link out none of it’s going to be that reliable, in my experience, okay. And then I opened a whole bunch. Some of those are gone. But these, just like this, you’ll open up a whole bunch of these links. This is kind of building on. I mean, this is what we’re already doing in content marketing a lot in blogging, right?

The research that you do is typically go out to Google, when you’re writing a blog post, and then open a whole bunch of tabs and go through and read them. And highlight the most interesting things or the most like eye opening things and then you start dragging those onto the page. And this is going to be somewhat less about thinking when you’re reading it and more about just copying that shit down.

Now that might sound like the content’s not gonna be very high quality. Kind of right, it’s not going to be the world’s highest quality. Take 12 minutes if you’d rather then. 10 minutes means you’re really just going through and looking at these and going like, okay, that’s not a course. That’s not a course. That’s a course.

Alright, cool. I’m going to highlight this and then I’m going to turn it into a card inside Airstory. And that’s going to be it. Go through and do the same thing. This one had some tools you can go through here. Don’t overthink it. Just copy them, we’re talking about quantity here right? So highlight it, send it off to whatever you’re writing, whatever you called it. And then we just go through inside and this is Airstory for me.

You can drag and drop cards that you’ve created in the Airstory researcher, into your Google Doc as well. So if you’re like, I love Google Docs, you can still use Airstory Researcher and drop things into your Google Doc.

We have done some really cool shit though with Airstory. So I’m still of course a huge advocate of Airstory. And this is all that I’ve done now. Now I have these notes over here. These are some that I’ve done in advance some that I did with you watching there. As I was going through and clicking about copywriting courses, I noticed that there were of course paid courses versus free courses.

So, it occurred to me that I could have one article that I write today on copywriting courses, which might include free and paid. And tomorrow, I can do another. That’s why I have a new tab up here at the top.

Another article on free copywriting courses and now all the work I did today on capturing this information, I can just drag into my, this isn’t written yet this is the one that I would do tomorrow. An article on free copywriting courses. Now I have two really cool quick listicle posts that Google is probably going to like, especially if I have a list of the top copywriting courses for Google snippets. And then I can write another one tomorrow.

And if you keep finding that you have all sorts of stuff, we now have this cool Trello board feature or kanban board feature inside Airstory. You can organize all your notes, but what we would do here is simply start dragging and dropping. So all I’ve done, I’ve got blank copywriting courses that you probably need if you love making money more than you love breathing.

That’s me reverse engineering this 32 products. This is copywriting courses, you probably need if you love making money more than, and I didn’t say people, maybe people would work here. But I said, more than you love breathing. It could be something else.

Okay, cool. And then we can start dragging things onto the page, but I also did is copied over an intro that someone else had I would obviously always cite the original source. And that’s why we love the Airstory Researcher. It includes the citation right in there. So I’m never going to lose that original source and I can make sure I’m always linking out to it.

But from there we can just start dragging and dropping our way through this And now. Oh, this is new in Airstory and I wanted to show you. Used cards, they always used to show all the time and I found that very frustrating because I do a lot of research.

Now they gray out when you use them or you can just hide used cards by clicking that. I’ll do it again in case you missed it up there in the note library. So we’ll hide them and just go in and start dropping them in. This isn’t overthinking anything. Then we’ll merge them. Let’s see, we’ve got two more. There are no particular order.

If I wanted to reorder them, I could. I don’t really care. So I’m going to just start adding those and then we want to very quickly the end of this is rewriting it. I’ve got about seven courses here, I believe, so they’re seven copywriting courses that you probably need if you love making money more than breathing.

Rewrite this opening, link out to that, and then just go through and do all of them. And of course, when I’m done publish over to WordPress. Where do I have it? Right there, publish to WordPress. Done. Move on with my life. That is The 10 minute Guide to Writing a Buzzfeed-style listicle. It is fast.

And because I’m doing the work while talking to you, it goes a lot slower because I’m explaining things to you. But yeah, that’s how it gets done. That’s how it could get done for you ASAP, like pronto. That’s what that means, by the way. You’re welcome.

All right. Thank you, everybody. Please, please, please vote as everybody is saying here. If you have already, congrats to you. And we will see you in not next week, but the following. Hopefully, the world is feeling a little better than it does today. See you guys. Thanks, everyone. Bye.

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