3 reasons why universities love listicles

If there are two things that have become scientific fact since the invention of the internet it’s that a) people can’t get enough of cat memes and b) people love listicles.

If you’re unsure about what listicles are, they’re those articles with snappy titles which promise to provide a nominal amount of the best examples about a particular topic.

You know the ones, Buzzfeed are especially fond of them and they have titles like; 19 Galactic problems only a Jedi will understand or 23 animals that look like doughnuts

Basically, listicles are articles that aren’t afraid to tackle life’s big issues.

If you’ve managed to resist the lure of clicking on the above links, then your willpower is strong! Most people tend to feel compelled to click on links which promise a definitely numbered list about a subject.

While more often than not, these lists are carbon copies of a list you read that morning on a different website, they’re still insanely popular which brings me to why exactly they might be a useful engagement tool for colleges and universities.

 Listicles are basically a marketers dream; they’re fun, very shareable, they get conversations started and have a propensity to go viral. Listicles don’t require as much commitment as a regular old article so your audience is more likely to open the link.

 We’re throwing caution to the wind and leaping on board the listicle bandwagon with a list of 3 ways your university can use listicles:

Generate excitement about a guest speaker

Say for example, you’ve got Bill Gates coming to speak at his old alma mater, what better way to get people excited about the event than to circulate a list of ’25 reasons why Bill Gates is awesome’. You can be guaranteed that students will share it.

Give your university a well deserved pat on the back

Why not create a definitive list of reasons why your university is great! Make it personal though and of interest to students. In other words, don’t just rattle off a list of reasons about great programs, reputation rankings and career opportunities. Instead, opt for the quirky little things that your students feel strongly about, the stuff that will make your alumni students want to take a trip down memory lane and the details that will make prospective students remember you when it comes to clicking on that ‘apply now link’. Take a look at Marquette University’s; “28 reasons to love Marquette” which is a fantastic example about how to do listicles right.

10 things to do before you graduate 

Graduation is a big deal in a student’s life so when a university goes out of their way to create some fanfare about the big event, it’s definitely going to get some serious likes and shares. Check out Florida State University’s bucket list of 10 things to do before graduating from Florida State University (Note: the ForeSqure link is now broken)  This is such a clever way to engage students about commencement as it’s not only extremely shareable but it also lends itself very nicely to a two-way conversation as you can be guaranteed students will want to add their own 2 cents to the piece.

Whatever you decide to include in your listicle, keep it light. No one wants to read a listicle that requires more than 60 seconds of their attention. If you’re still a listicle-sceptic, we understand they’re not for everyone, but don’t rule them out completely, an occasional foray into the world of ordered lists isn’t such a bad thing.