What is it about lists that are so darn appealing? People just love ’em — numbered lists, bulleted lists, grocery lists (OK, never mind that last one).
Personally, I know I was finally able to unblock myself and start writing magazine articles when I discovered the list format years ago. Somehow an article titled “Six Ways to Save for Retirement” was easier (for me anyway) than just a vague, amorphous piece about retirement saving.
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger has some theories about why lists are so loved:
- Lists are scannable – online readers are notoriously lazy. A list helps communicate a number of points quickly and easily
- Lists keep posts succinct – there is something about a list that keeps you from rambling
- Lists look ‘neat’ – I don’t know about you but when I surf onto a site that is full of messily formatted text – I don’t tend to stick around long. Lists on the other hand can be quite visually pleasing
- Lists are easy to link to
- Lists can be comprehensive
- Lists are persuasive – if you want to mount a case for something quickly presenting numerous arguments in a list can be quite convincing
- Lists can add to the ease of writing – I like writing in lists because they break down my thoughts into bite sized pieces which is good not only for readers but me as a writer as I consider how to express myself (Tom adds: amen!)
Read Darren’s entire post here.
When I started using lists as the core of my articles, they had more direction, better focus, higher energy. As a bonus, I finished a lot faster, too.
Try it yourself for your blog posts — or any other kind of business writing.
Afterthought: A list isn’t an excuse to be shallow, of course. As a Maine fisherman would say, you still have to give good weight.