4 Things To Consider Before Writing Your Clickbait Listicle

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Generally, this is where the writer inserts a preamble that sneakily tries to hide the fact that this article is more style than substance. Here, have a GIF!

1. Is this list contributing in some way?
The blogosphere is so saturated with thinkpieces and lists of forgotten 90s toys that a quick Google search will turn out dozens of lists about your chosen topic. How is what you’re writing going to stand out from the rest? If it doesn’t, what is possessing you to continue on with said topic anyway and adding to the crushing weight of echo chambers? #AllOpinionsMatter

2. Do people really need to know about this?
Not every article has to be deadly serious or educational. Plenty of articles are meant purely for fun, as they should be. These days, the Venn diagram of writing to inform and writing to entertain is often a circle. Make your intentions clear and really, really examine them as well as the subject are your piece. Maybe one more list of “10 White Girls Who Literally Can’t Even” can just stay put.

3. Does this make people think?
And not just “hey, yeah, I totally agree with this!” Does your thinkpiece give people pause about their own ideas? Have you backed it up with reputable sources and not just anecdotal evidence? If your piece is purely based on experiences, are the examples you provide thought-provoking, specific, and tie to your original point? If not, your article is purely self-indulgent and has no business being public. Which brings us to…

4. Does your self-satisfaction outweigh the benefits of this list being public?
If not, maybe put the kibosh on hitting “Publish” and write for yourself more often before writing for other people. Writing for the public is a service and as fun as it is to see your name in print or displayed as pixels on the Internet, you owe your intended audience more than just your name. Make sure that what you say really matters and make sure your published work benefits more than just yourself.

This is where a conclusion would be inserted to drive the point home. I realize that you probably have a quota/deadline to fill, dear Buzzfeed writer, but let’s all try to be better.


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