Top 3 Reasons to Hate Lists

If you spend any time online, you frequently see posts like these:

  • The Top 10 Secrets to Financial Success
  • 5 Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer
  • 8 Strategies to Supercharge Your Brand
  • 7 Amazing Tips to Get Rid of Stinky Feet

Blog posts based on lists have an understandable appeal. The headlines tell readers what to expect, and lists are easy to skim. List-based posts tend to gather more clicks than other types of posts, which is why blogs and online publications keep cranking them out.

Nevertheless, here are the three top reasons to hate articles based on lists (contradiction intended):

1. They seem arbitrary and non-essential.

List-based posts could either add a few more items or cut out a few. The order of the items could be shuffled around. None of it would probably matter.

2. The format is tired and lazy.

Once in a while lists are interesting, especially in December when the best-of-the-year ones come out. Even then, they soon get tedious.

3. Lists don’t stick.

Lists may be easy to skim, but that also means they’re easy to forget.

Certainly, the list format can sometimes be the right choice for presenting information, but if a company is looking to set itself apart through its knowledge and expertise, its online content shouldn’t rely on arbitrary numbers. Strong ideas that build up to an argument may not attract as many drive-by clicks. On the other hand, they will do a better job of qualifying and engaging prospects.