Tuesday, June 28, 2011
10 reasons to ignore posts about 10 reasons to do anything
So when bloggers started doing their Friday lists, I got excited. If I missed their mid-week posts, I could still read a concentrated dose of material at the end of the business week. Then some of them turned into frenzied addicts, posting lists of up to 50 links to other articles. I envisioned them like me, afraid to hit delete or not forward it to someone, so throughout the week they just harbored them on a list until they could hit send to their readership on Friday and feel fulfilled.
This past Friday, however, I'd had enough. I opened two emails. One literally had 60 links to writing articles. Another had 45 ways to blog. Tips from 23 authors. 10 ways to never not be marketing. Seriously? I had to read that one three times to get it. Top 20 motivation hacks. The negativity of that one enabled me to delete it without guilt.
So here are 10 reasons to ignore people who write about 10 reasons to do anything:
1. If you don't need that list of ten today, delete it. Internet fanatics like us tend to hoard links and articles, and usually don't return to them because they're too busy hoarding newer links. If you can use it now, fine. Otherwise, skip it.
2. Unless the list is the most unique topic you've ever heard, delete it. Bloggers regurgitate each other's lists, altering a word here and there to be "unique." Bloggers run out of material, and this is how they find it.
3. If the top three on the list don't blow you away, hit delete. The rest will be much worse.
4. If the post leads with 500 words of copy before reaching the list, move on. They promised a list. List = concise.
5. If each item needs a hundred words of explanation, it's no longer a list. Items should pop.
6. Look at the source. The Top 10 Young Adult Novels of 2010 means nothing coming from a non-expert.
7. What is the goldmine or take-away value? The info should merit posting on your bulletin board.
8. Opinion without fact. A spattering of opinion is personality. A glut of it is boring.
9. Fact without opinion. Google gives me all the pure facts I need. Tell me why I should care.
10. You think a list is light reading. Yes, it's shorter, but it still commands your full attention to be best understood and implemented.
When writing lists, make sure they are sharp and spot on. Otherwise, write narrative. A blog post with short paragraphs actually can make better points than sloppy, hollow lists.