Share the Possible. Enable the new Normal

Culture Begins with a Single Action

I love thinking about culture and how we can shift cultural norms over time. I always say culture begins with one person taking a single action. Shyam and I are always discussing the culture of Listy’s community and how we can influence it and shape it into what we believe they would want.

Let’s not kid ourselves. We don’t own the culture, the community does. We do have a role and responsibility as co-founders of the company. Culture can be passed down, but it can also be rejected. It’s a gentle science. Culture by osmosis. To encourage people to adopt new patterns, you simply need to share what’s possible. Today’s possibilites become tomorrow’s realities. They can become the new normal.

In this post I’m sharing the outcomes and cultural shifts we’ve been experiencing on Listly. I hope you find it useful for your startup.

Seeking Utility

Ultimately people come back to Listly because they see value – utility. It’s our job to make that utility more accessible – more comprehensible, more habitual. We want to make the idea of sharing and embedding lists to be ubiquitous.

We’ve actively sought to shift people’s behaviour to embed lists in more blogs (and to embed a single list in many blogs). We began with a simple step to expose the total number of times each list is embedded. We are what we celebrate  (via Dean Kamen). Metrics are celebrations.

Celebrating an Embed Culture

More recently we now feature 10 recently viewed blogs right on the top of our home page. More celebration and recognition. More on the outcomes in minute.

Listly isn’t just about amplification, but it’s an easy hook for people to get, so I’ve begun thinking more seriously about amplification with a first post on my blog. I have some models and approaches percolating. Patience!

Explaining Your Metrics

Yesterday I was asked a question by Danny Iny to explain some metrics with his list for Naked Marketing.

So I went exploring! Danny’s list has seen 20k views since he launched his ebook a couple of months ago. That’s pretty cool. Try clicking on the like button on the featured item on this list to find out why! Integrated email Signups Direct from a list – we think it’s pretty cool! I digress with feature goodness. Back to the metrics!

In answering Danny’s question it occurred to me that there’s two dimensions to how Listly amplifies your brand/story/exposure.

  1. By embedding Listly in one or more blogs (other than your own), i.e. by collaborating with other brands and bloggers and publishers.
  2. By featuring your list on Listly’s home page every time your list is rendered in an embedded blog (this is just the way Listly works).

Synergy creates second level amplification. These two multiply. The number of embeds on Listly have risen dramatically lately for several reasons – As I mentioned in the intro, I believe has been a cultural shift by design.

I broke out the numbers for Danny to show just how much amplification comes from Listly and how much comes from embedded lists (via his marketing partner’s blogs). I also indexed against views against Danny’s Firepole Marketing Blog. It tells a compelling story.

It was Danny and his partner Peter who first used the work Amplify in connection with Listly. You’ve got to love the notion of using your target persona’s vocab. Thanks guys! If you never ask people to express your value, you will never know!

I was really liking these numbers as you can imagine! Fresh on my mind was a list by Kevin from Tonner Dolls. Kevin currently holds the record for the list with the most embeds. His list currently has 99 embeds!

You’ve got to like a 24.5x amplification number!

99 embeds is a huge shift in Listly user behaviour. It’s a function of us educating our community on the value of embedding lists through cues in the interface (and lots of emails, tweets and skype chats).

We also made a major update to the workflow for embedding lists. Try these links.

They take you to the preview screen where you can customize the embedding of these lists for your blog.

  • Why not give it a try with your blog?
  • Why not write a post on embedding a list via Listly?

Never Forget Where You Wish to Focus

Listly’s focus is to deliver traffic to your blog. We actually deliver more lists  via blogs than we do on Listly. That’s pretty cool. It’s the opposite of Facebook. We don’t want your traffic. We want you to have it. We believe this strategy ultimately brings us and your more traffic.

That too is a cultural shift. This has been the case for the last 2-3 months – the product of a lot of small incremental design efforts where we have been focussed on establishing new cultural norms.

Surface Your Metrics for All to See

Breaking out these numbers, as shown, makes a lot of sense and I suspect we will formalize these metrics inside Listly pretty soon. We are only just scratching the surface on what’s possible when it comes to blog post and community analytics.

Surfacing these metrics will only serve to amplify the lists with large number of embeds. If you recognize a behaviour you simply reinforce the view that it is a good behaviour. I believe this is how you build to a tipping point.

Lets get back to the numbers!

What about SEO & Search Engines?

So far I’ve assumed the amplification the traffic was already coming to your blog, but that’s not a true reflection of reality. Not all these visitors were already on the blogs in question. Some viewers found their way there via SEO. We all know web visitors are divertable and fickle. We all have an infosnacker mindset. Our brains are wired like hyperlinks. Google and other search engines feed our curiosity for new and shiny links. Organic search brings 39% of traffic to blogs. Lists are a new form of SEO that brings traffic to your blog and also to Listly.

SEO matters. So what about the SEO value of Lists? “Significant” – is the short answer. As I was writing this post I wondered what’s the SEO ranking of these two lists.  They are both on page 1 on Google. Sweet!

Search engines love Listly’s ever shifting content. These lists have been shared and embedded and referenced many times. And they keep changing as people vote and contribute. It’s is pure white hat SEO. Google does an awesome job of aggregating both SEO and social sharing. And this explains the Listly SEO results.

Naked Marketing

Best Doll Blogs

Single Discipline Tools vs Multi Disciplinary Tools

Truly effective marketing requires that you utilize all the elements. It’s like conducting an orchestra.

You can’t just play one instrument if you want to make a great impression.  Social Media is not a soloist’s domain. You need to synchronise all your resources. Let the different sounds combine. Or to return to the notion of amplification – the social signals are multiplied.

You can use singularly minded instruments (like a pure SEO tool), but tomorrow’s winners are going to be people that use instruments that play to multiple disciplines. That’s very much Listly’s sweet spot.

One point that may have missed your attention. Notice how we can track all these metrics. Notice how we can compare performance across blogs. That’s significant. Being able to understand where your engagement is coming from.

So what’s stopping your exploring Listly?

Wow that took more over a 1000 words!

I believe it was worth sharing. I’d love to hear what you think.


NIck Kellet (130 Posts)

Nick’s ventures range from a visual segmentation tool sold to SAP, to an award winning board game. Today, Nick is co-founder of Listly, raising the profile of lists to be on par with Slideshare & YouTube.