Three Reasons I Hate Blog Posts with Numbered Lists (Plus One Reason I Don’t)

In the world of content marketing, blogging is a cornerstone. Search engines favor fresh website content, and that means businesses can benefit by producing steady streams of blog posts on their websites. Original, newly posted content that is relevant to targeted audiences can result in better search engine rankings, presumably meaning businesses have greater likelihood of being found by people who need or want what they offer.

Because of the prevalence of content marketing and blogging, we now swim in an online sea thick with content, content, and more content. We’re inundated with information from virtually every direction possible, as we scroll, click, and navigate the thick content sea.

Marketers know there are certain tactics that help content stand out in the online glut. Once such tactic that is commonly used is list-blogging–the creation of list-based blogs that often purport to offer the “top three/top five/top ten” reasons, ways, ideas, trends, etc.. It seems we busy humans are more likely to zone in on information when it is presented to us point by numbered point.

Here are three reasons I hate blogs with numbered lists (and, yes, the irony of this is quite intentional).

1. Everybody’s doing it. In today’s cluttered marketplace, brands need to be unique–even in the ways they present information to their audiences.

2.  Sometimes useful information doesn’t fit into numbered lists. Forcing what you need to say into a limiting formula is like trying to squeeze back into skinny jeans after the holidays; you may make it work, but it’s gonna pinch.

3. It reminds me of the collective’s ever-shrinking attention span. While I strongly believe in the economy of words, I’m nonetheless disheartened to know we’re evolving to expect our information in soundbite-like, numbered bits.

 

And in total contradiction to my three points above, there is one reason why I favor blog posts with numbered lists.

1. They work.

 

What does this mean for marketers? it means we need to balance the use of measurably effective tactics with strategies for differentiating from the competition. It means we should know what works now yet think ahead about what will work next. It means that, if we’re going to use a common tactic, we should do so in an uncommon way–with uncommonly high standards of creativity and excellence.

Blogging is still a useful endeavor, but it must be approached with intelligence in order to effectively bring messages to markets.

Happy blogging…and thanks for reading!

Irene thanks you for reading