A themed (or "traditional") listicle is an aggregated list of items that share a common theme; the theme could be something like facts about a movie, a collection of funny images, or things you don't know about a historical event or celebrity.

The following headlines all qualify as themed listicles:

  • 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 Of
  • 12 Amazing Technological Advancements Coming In The Next Decade

Tips for subheads

  • Subheads should be like a mini-title or a tease for each slide. Use humor if applicable, provoke a reaction of some kind. The goal is to surprise readers and get them to want to learn more by reading your copy in the slide.

Tips for copy

  • Writing should be 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. 
  • Try to find little-known or surprising facts, and be sure they are as up-to-date as possible.

Tips for images

  • 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 that clearly and crisply depict the subject. 
  • You can use stills from TV and movies and celebrity social media pics, even if the topic is not entertainment (think of how Buzzfeed uses pop culture images to add personality to articles).

Tips for CTAs

  • Slide Push CTA: This should push readers to the very next slide to see something even more surprising compared to what they're looking at. 
  • Examples: "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!"
  • Use one in the intro and every couple slides.
  • 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!”).

Assignment details

  • These should be between 10 and 20 slides, with an intro (and recommended outro) with 50 words per slide.

NEXT: Narrative Listicle Best Practices

Did this answer your question?