The Five Keys To List Posts That Are Worth Writing (and Reading)

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We Humans are an impatient lot, aren’t we?

With the rise of technology over the past few decades, we’ve come to expect results on most things much more quickly than previous generations.

We want to see television on demand.

We expect meals to be heated in seconds.

We want fast food fast, shopping delivered instantly, music downloaded in minutes and our web experience to provide instant results.

It’s no wonder that this growing impatience and expectation for instant results has shaped the way content is provided online.

With sites such as Google actually telling us just how rapidly it returns results, our anticipation of immediate gratification has never been higher. While online material used to be full of heavy PDF downloads and clumsy pages that took minutes to load, we’ve seen a transformation over the past few years to content which is immediate, simple to read, and quick to load.

The humble list post is arguably the biggest indication of all that our patience for lengthy browsing online has worn thin.

List posts are hugely popular for a number of reasons.

They load swiftly, contain instant gratification in the form of easy to read information, and they can be digested in less time than it takes to eat your lunchtime sandwich. With list posts being one of the favorite genres of content for search engines, it’s well worth taking a few moments to learn how best to create them, and what sort of material you should be using.

Here’s a quick guide…

They Are Current

Unless someone is seeking out details about the Ten Commandments, you can pretty much guarantee that the information people are looking for when they visit a post on lists, needs to be current.

Before you sit down and compile your list post, take a while to check out the latest news on your subject, looking at what is trending, what people are currently searching out, and whether anything has changed over the past few weeks that may affect your list items. Only when you’re really sure that you’ll be covering the very latest on your topic, should you be sitting down and compiling your list.

They Are Unique

When you develop your list, it’s important to do some research to make sure that it hasn’t already been published before elsewhere. Even more important is to check that it hasn’t been published elsewhere, better. Check out your keywords online to see what comes up, and make sure that your idea is unique before you go ahead and create it for publication. A duplicated list will just make your visitors think they have seen your material somewhere before, putting them off from coming to you first for original content.

They Are Accurate

Nothing annoys online visitors more than coming across items which seem to be completely accurate, but then turn out to be based on false facts. Think about the negative reaction from posts stating that a celebrity has passed away, for example – these posts undermine the credibility of the author and also lead to so much bad feeling that visitors will boycott the original site when the rumor is discovered. Don’t make the same mistake – ensure that every item on your list is completely accurate, or you’ll risk alienating your visitors from your site permanently.

They Are Informative

People don’t read lists for nothing. Whether your visitors are looking for specific information, to be entertained, to learn something new or find out more about a particular subject, your list post needs to deliver the goods so that their reading time is rewarding. Sometimes, you may have to do some research before you pull your post together, to access more obscure data, but it’s well worth it if your reader comes away feeling satisfied that spending time on your site was worthwhile.

They Are Engaging

When it comes to engaging a reader with a list post, there are a number of techniques you can use. You can decide to make your list funny, adding in items that will raise a smile in between your more serious list, or you can write a short piece of narrative with each item that makes it come alive, drawing your reader in without detracting from the content. Whatever you decide to do, bear in mind that no-one will make it through a lengthy list without some element there to engage them, so whether you rely on the relevance or value of each item, or introduce humor, it’s worth considering how you can engage your reader to keep them on side.

No matter what your industry niche, you can generate list posts that keep your readers happy, and stand to be shared enough to start trending if you stick to these five rules.

Now your turn…

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4 Responses to The Five Keys To List Posts That Are Worth Writing (and Reading)

  1. Bilal Ahmad December 30, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    One of my Technology blog is pulling traffic from the posts that are based on the “List” structure. I have noticed higher CTR on SERP for list posts as compared to other posts. So in term of SEO they also outperform.

  2. Arpit Roy January 5, 2015 at 6:39 am #

    Writing list posts is certainly a good way to increase reader engagement. I did write a few of those and the results were pretty decent in terms engagement.

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