What is it?
A “fast facts” or “fact-based” listicle contains little-known facts and trivia. It can contain multiple facts on a single subject (e.g., “Looking Back At The TV Show Seinfeld”) or multiple subjects around a single theme (e.g., “20 Celebrities Who Went To Rehab”).
What kinds of topics fit best in this category?
- Celebrities and Public Figures, Gossip, Countdowns, Movies, TV, Music, Entertainment, History, and Technology. Example headlines follow:
- The Cast Of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Then And Now
- 10 Billionaires Who Skipped College
- The 10 Bloodiest Battles In History
- 10 Most Fraudulent Lawsuits Ever
- Celebrities Who Struggle With Depression
- Top 10 Political Scandals This Century (So Far)
- 10 Superheroes Marvel Should Make A Movie For
- 12 Amazing Technological Advancements Coming In The Next Decade
What is a reader looking for when they click this?
- Information they don’t know, whether trivia from a TV show, secrets about celebrities, the inside scoop on politics, or the details on new technology. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How are very important here. Details matter.
What makes this article successful (i.e, what’s the most important thing you can do)?
- Strong subheadings, copy, CTAs, and images. Every piece has to work together perfectly to give a reader something they haven’t seen (or if they have seen it, this has to be the best article on the subject they’ve read).
What kinds of subheads should I write?
- Subheads that are contextually specific to the slide and tease the copy, between 3-6 words long. Each subhead should be a mini-title for the slide that piques the reader’s interest in actually reading your copy.
What kind of copy should I write?
- Informative and fact-based. Journalistic, but easy-going and humorous if the topic calls for it. Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Don’t leave anything on the table (dates, figures and surprising quotes).
- Generic copy that doesn’t include relevant, interesting and specific details and leaves out key facts the reader is expecting will require revisions.
What kinds of images should I use?
- Be context-sensitive and choose the best images that will support the subhead and the copy. For before/after transformations or a look inside a celebrity’s mansion, collages may work best. Otherwise, high-quality, recent and relevant photos we haven’t seen 5,000 times that clearly and crisply depict the subject. Can be stills from TV and movies, celebrity social media pics, red carpet photos, show floor images, etc. Avoid anything with text on it.
What kind of CTA (call to action) should I use?
- Future Tease CTA: This should let readers know they haven’t seen anything yet and sow seeds for future developments the deeper they get into the article.
- Check out slide #4 for a celebrity that definitely surprised us.
- If you thought this was the end for the cast of How I Met Your Mother, check out slide #3 for a problem that almost resulted in the show being cancelled!
- These should be specific to the topic, yet vague on details -- promise something big is coming, but don’t give it away. It’s a game: Whoever can get the reader to the end of the slideshow wins. Spread these out one every 2-3 slides, teasing future slides (not necessarily the next slide). Always include one on the next to last slide and the intro.
- Some clients may specifically request you to not use CTAs because they move slides around after publication. It will say so in the Style Guide.
- Avoid anything that is too generic/lacking in details (e.g., “You think this is crazy, slide #3 is shocking!”).
- These should be between 10 and 20 slides, with an intro (and recommended outro) with 50 words per slide.