This info was originally posted in Performancing’s Hive Community (which you should join!)
What I usually do when I write a listbait is:
1) come up with headline (defines the concept)
2) brainstorm list until I’m exhausted
3) remind myself that this is not a mid-term exam
4) write 1 sentence per item in the list (the “justification” for each item)
5) remove any items I can’t write 1 sentence for
6) pray that the sentence writing helped clarify my line of thought and jogs my mind for a few more items
7) Remove the chaff
8) Flesh out content with pics, videos, links
9) Identify a number
10) Refine the headline to fit the final content
In my view, the key to writing bait is not objectivity, but being comfortable with subjectivity and opinion. Strong, well-formed opinion that appeals to the emotions (or creates mental drama of some sort) is almost always the kind that performs the best.
Step #5 is very very very very important. Very. If you don’t do that, you end up like me, with about 50+ half-finished baits. And trust me, they never finish themselves, especially if you don’t do step #5. Very.