Why You Need to Work Harder on Your List Posts

list postsWhen you can’t think of anything else to write, do you go for the easy option – the list post?

If you see list posts as an easy option, you probably need to work harder on them.

Easy Listening

List posts are like a “Greatest Hits” album by your favorite band. Almost all of them have 90% overlap with previous installments, with maybe 2 or 3 new items.

The completists among us might buy the album for the 2 or 3 new tracks. But in this digital age, I think you’re more likely to buy the tracks you want and ignore the rest.

What are you trying to write – yet another “Greatest Hits” album? Or a truly unique, compelling post?

Easy to Write, Easy to Read

This can only be a good thing, surely? A post that’s as easy for readers to read as it is for you to write – where’s the downside?

“Easy” can mean you put less effort into the post. Throwaway posts may help you to wind down on a +Friday afternoon, but they’re not the punchy, memorable posts that should define your blog.

Stop Writing the Same Points!

Content is king. Follow people on Twitter. Submit guest posts. Comment on blogs. Reply to comments. Post on forums. Post regularly and consistently. Have a good-looking blog. And so on…

Do we really need another list post with all the usual tips on it? Yeah, sure, someone somewhere might not have read them. But that doesn’t justify hundreds of bloggers writing the same tips.

I wonder how many newbies have read a great post for beginners, only to find it on a dozen other blogs in a week or two? That won’t help your blog to stand out.

Don’t be one of the followers. Be a leader. If you’re going to write a list post, at least write one with new things in it.

Discussion

Are you sick of seeing the same list posts on every blog? How do you ensure your blog stands out from the crowd?

Comments

  1. anshul says:

    Hi Ben!
    i agree with you specially when we should not the same post or duplicate post .you can just take a view or tips from the last post.i like your suggestion and advice.
    anshul recently posted..Computer Inventory SoftwareMy Profile

  2. Hi Ben,

    I retweeted it as “3 Reasons You Need To Write Better List Posts”. Hope you approve :-)
    Caimin (GeniusStartup.com) recently posted..How To Double Your Web Traffic With TriberrMy Profile

  3. It’s funny Ben, one of those tired old blogging tips used to be, “Write list posts”. lol I couldn’t agree more, the only interaction we get with those same old posts year after year is bloggers that are still commenting in order to build backlinks. That means both the blogger and the readers haven’t quite figured it out yet.

    There’s nothing wrong with list posts, in my view, the format is very easy to digest; the problem is the content in 90 percent of them. Nice post :)
    Brian Hawkins recently posted..What Do YOU Love And Hate About Newsletters?My Profile

  4. This post is easy to read..you have simply shared an useful points..i think easily to write this post..

  5. nilesh says:

    Hello Ben, You are right about list post. Any professional blogger will advice the same to do when you have no post as per your blog. So, thanks for sharing this idea.
    nilesh recently posted..Asthma a chronic disease that affect airways and Lungs of our bodyMy Profile

  6. Wade says:

    Lists are great when you are out of options to write. I recently was out of ideas, and came up with a contest..whatever works, right?
    Wade recently posted..The Contest-Win A Solo Email Ad!My Profile

    • Ben Barden says:

      Hi Wade :) I think perhaps we disagree on this topic. If you’re out of ideas, writing a list post may not be the best option. Writing a list post because your thoughts fit well into a list is a better reason to write that kind of post. Contests are fine but shouldn’t be a replacement for good content :) But you’re right, find what works and adjust your strategy if things don’t work.
      Ben Barden recently posted..List Your Guest Posts – Boost Your CredibilityMy Profile

  7. Alex says:

    Short, sweet and easy to read! I agree with your third point, there are way too many list posts out there that are the same, I think it’s time to think creatively and try and come up with list posts that haven’t been done yet or offer a completely new predictive, way too many people rehashing topics already discussed!
    Great post!
    Alex recently posted..10 Timeless Ways For Driving Traffic To Your New BlogMy Profile

  8. Hi Ben, I often find the list posts harder to write lol, as you say I don’t want to write the same old repeated list posts that others do and that is why I write very few. They are great posts and very useful but do need to be thought out first.

    I don’t want churn out re hashed stuff but you have a great point, ‘…someone somewhere might not have read them.’ I use this when writing normal posts about topics I have read before elsewhere. With so many people about not everyone has seen everything.

    Cheers
    Andi
    Andi the Minion recently posted..Guest Posts For You To USE: Our New Free ServiceMy Profile

    • Ben Barden says:

      Hi Andi :) It’s true that not everyone has seen everything. It’s still important for us to put our own spin on things and ensure our posts have a bit of personality in them. :D Unfortunately I’ve seen a lot of blogs that aren’t very interesting at all – the blogger is clearly just writing for the sake of it. But that’s a different post for another day :)
      Ben Barden recently posted..Make a Big Impact – Conquer One Category Every WeekMy Profile

  9. Ana Hoffman says:

    My recent feeling about list posts: yes, they are easy to write and read, but most people would never bother putting them into action – they always look like too much work.

    What do you think, Ben?
    Ana Hoffman recently posted..5 Ways to Get Feng Shui Links from Traffic Generation CafeMy Profile

    • Ben Barden says:

      Hi Ana :) Good point! I definitely think that’s true of longer list posts. If you write 3 or 5 things in a list, they shouldn’t take too much effort to achieve – and you may already be doing one or two of them. But when lists have 10, 20, 50, 100 items in them… well, that’s a lot of things to do. That kind of list might be better as an eBook :)
      Ben Barden recently posted..Make a Big Impact – Conquer One Category Every WeekMy Profile

  10. A good content with factual and orignal information which will benefit the reader and solve his purpose is what must be kept in mind while posting the blog. The list post is were you need to be more careful.

  11. Pauline says:

    Original Blog Writing is the Key. Whats the use if I cannot provide original content to my readers. They may not even bother to come back.

  12. Julia Reed says:

    Unique content matters like nothing else in blogging. List posts are one of my favorite options. I must, however, confess that they are not always easy to write. Sometimes I have serious difficulties with expressing a truly good idea in only a few words.

    As to the preferred length of list posts and the average number of items, it seems to me that it depends on the type of every individual post. Thus, I agree that to-do lists should be shorter, but the lists of options (sample essay topics or costume ideas, for example) can be longer, so that the readers could see that they have a plethora of suggestions to choose from.

    Thank you very much for sharing your perspective.
    Julia Reed recently posted..Where to Find Cheap Textbooks Online: Internet’s Hidden GemsMy Profile

  13. Felicia says:

    Hi Ben,
    Doing list posts is definitely the easiest to do when you don’t have any particular posts to write. I have done this many times and so far they’ve all been generating good traffic and good visitor feedback.
    Felicia recently posted..2012 WSOP: Greg Merson Wins The Main Event ($8,531,853)!My Profile

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