10 Reasons to Take a Fresh Look at Lists (Monty Python style)

Have you ever thought about why numbered list posts are read AND shared more than other content? Why are people so curious to click on lists?

We explore and ask the question – What have lists ever done for us? Monty Python fans should get the reference!

We often take lists for granted. It’s worth pausing for a moment to reflect. Take a few minutes and explore the 10 Reasons why lists work:

1

InfoSnacks / Mind Candy / Brain Food

10 Reasons to Take a Fresh Look at Lists | InfoSnacks / Mind Candy / Brain Food

Listly makes it even easier to create useful, fun, or insighful infosnacks.

Start a list on Listly - say "Top 10 Books" or "10 tips on how to solve "

Add a few ideas, embed on your blog and then ask your audience to participate.

People can add to your list, vote on the current suggestions and even embed the list in their blog.

It's just how you'd think about Slideshare or YouTube, with the exception that Listly is also a content creation platform.

HTML lists don't offer the consistent experience that a platform like Listly can.

2

Trusted by Bloggers, Publishers, Brands & Consumers

10 Reasons to Take a Fresh Look at Lists | Trusted by Bloggers, Publishers, Brands & Consumers

Listly makes it 100% transparent who has been involved in making each list. We make is possible to see how many times a list has been viewed (on Listly and via any blog that embeds the list)

Anyone that votes or contributes is visible. All this builds trust and adds to the social proof of your list.

People know what to expect with lists, but Listly is still new, so don't expect your audience to know they can contribute. Make an effort to introduce them to the concept of social lists.

Ask people to embed your list on their blog. Involve them in your content, make it about them and give them a reason to care.

3

Wisdom & Acquiring Knowledge

10 Reasons to Take a Fresh Look at Lists | Wisdom & Acquiring Knowledge

Lists help us write, consume and learn.

Lists help us get smarter and share how smart we are!

With Listly, lists become social objects. We can learn together. Over time your lists evolve.. Embed lists on your blog and let people help by contributing votes and suggestions/omissions.

Listly makes learning social. Never list alone again. Its more fun and socially inclusive to create and curate together.

You can't do that with an HTML list on your blog.

4

Focussed / Topical / Niched

10 Reasons to Take a Fresh Look at Lists | Focussed / Topical / Niched

You can make you lists as niche as you like. The best bit is only people who like what you like will notice them, so the more focussed the better.

Lists via Listly are easier to make and share, plus they can be embedded on blogs across the web. Make your lists useful, funny or informative and people may embed them.

Leave gaps and they may well contribute. That's the value of Listly.

5

Attention Grabbing / Eye Catching /

10 Reasons to Take a Fresh Look at Lists | Attention Grabbing / Eye Catching /

Listly may make a list more eye-catching, but it also make lists easier to assemble. You don't need to be a designer to make a great looking list and you can do it just a few seconds.

Find images from the web or your own phone/computer, if the images Listly suggests don't suit. Choose your layout so people see the list the way you like it - either on Listly or on your blog.

Once your list is embedded you never need to change your blog post, you just add to your list directly from the blog post. It's that simple. Plus more people can contribute. You can even empower your team to moderate.

If you master this process , you can seriously amplify your content and community across the web with Listly.

6

Embrace Imperfection: Inclusive, Exclusive & Exhaustive (or not)

10 Reasons to Take a Fresh Look at Lists | Embrace Imperfection: Inclusive, Exclusive & Exhaustive (or not)

Listly's secret sauce is the power of imperfection. Seed 100 great lists by adding just a few items to each list, then focus your efforts on sharing and curating crowd contributions.

Follow what interests people. Don't invest in lists that prove to not have appeal.

People don't really know they love imperfection, but they do. They feel more compelled to complete an incomplete lists than comment on a completed one.

People love a list made by many people. It's social proof. Like walking into an empty coffee shop - we always choose the busy one. Lists are no different.

That's what Listly enables.

7

Eternal / Timeless / Evergreen

10 Reasons to Take a Fresh Look at Lists | Eternal / Timeless / Evergreen

Lists are open 24/7. Ready and waiting for people in their moment of need.

People can just read lists, but when a list proves useful people are more inclined to contribute and extend the list. People see gaps and want to fill them in.

Listly lets us work together to leave the internet in better shape for the next reader.

8

Connected / Emotional / Content Gems

10 Reasons to Take a Fresh Look at Lists | Connected / Emotional / Content Gems

The magic of lists is they are communities in the making. The only people who vote or contribute to lists are people who care about your list topic. We're all too busy to act unless we are very interested or emotionally connected to the topic.

With Listly we have lists with 1000's of people voting and suggesting.

The hardest person to get to act is the 1st one, so make sure you are clear what you are asking for and make it easy and welcoming to participate on your lists.

Don't assume people know that Listly lets people contribute. Go the extra mile and hand hold people. This works.

9

Lists Are Findable by People Who Care

10 Reasons to Take a Fresh Look at Lists | Lists Are Findable by People Who Care

Normal HTML lists on blogs are not correctly or smartly tagged. It's fiddly and repetitive and human beings get bored.

Listly tags every lists with an H1 tag and every item with an H2 tag. It does this rain or shine 24/7. You know your list is optimized, leaving you to focus on adding great copy, curious titles, useful tags and awesome images.

Is it time for you to move beyond HTML lists?

10

Prioritized: Numbered Lists bring Order & a Unique Lens to the Net

10 Reasons to Take a Fresh Look at Lists | Prioritized: Numbered Lists bring Order & a Unique Lens to the Net

Listly make it super simple to begin a list and let your audience vote. The order of a crowdsourced list is determined by the aggregation of all the votes (you can even factor in down-votes). You can also manage suggestions.

You just can't do this with regular HTML lists without giving people access to your blog, which is impractical and unwise.

Listly lets your capture user/audience feedback in ways that entices your audience to share and embed your lists on their blogs.

Lists account for 30% of the web’s content for good reason – Lists work (just raw HTML lists).

Content Editors know this as they track the views in their analytics. This is why they often direct writers to exclusively use a list format. Metrics (aka human responses) are shaping content calendars.

The Fusion of Media

Have you seen slidedecks or infographics that look like lists? Media is morphing with a focus on reuse. We all want to get more with less.

Also there’s an influence from the tech lean startup movement. Start small, and support the initiatives that work. Content is becoming iterative.

So this week, we also experiment to:

We designed for reuse. We made a conscious decision of which content would be on the list and what would be on the slides and thought about the most effective way to create this content.

Each page on the slidedeck links to the item on the list which features bonus content. I did it to help drive traffic to Listly, but I also did it to keep the slides simple and different than the list.

I also wanted to create great images for the list so each item could be shared on Twitter and show off the support of Twitter cards.

Great content is work, but there is a reward.

Integrating and cross-linking your content is one way to give your content an extra boost to findability. I’m seeing this a lot – people cross-linking content via Listly, Scoop.it, Pinterest etc.

You still need original content and fresh ideas, but you can boost these with smart use of technology.

You need process to boost your creativity.

My lists and deck explore the reasons lists work (more psychology than technology).

In the slides we don’t focus onListly, but rather 10 reasons lists work as a medium.

Then we then add the bonus content on the list to explain the value that Listly brings above and beyond basic HTML lists.

We think Listly vs HTML lists is an unfair contest, but that’s more evident if you take time to reflect.

As Listly matures the value Listly brings relative to HTML lists is becoming more and more evident.

There’s still an element of skill and experience to make lists work. With all these tools and media, you need to become an expert on the platform and on the content in question to get the most from it.

Over time this is becoming easier and easier and more and more obvious. We get better with practice and we benefit from creating a body of work.

This post was inspired by Monty Python and Life of Brian. Enjoy the bonus content:

Have you tried Listly’s WordPress plugin?

Here’s the matching Slidedeck (that links back to the items on the list above)

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.