Ever wondered why so many articles, blog posts, videos and newsletters are based around the idea of a list?
Yes, you’re right. It’s because they’re extremely popular. People love them. And it’s easy to see why.
Lists = Lots of ideas. And fast!
List-based content promises a number of bite-sized ideas or suggestions. And fast! So when we see “10 habits of highly successful business owners“, we’re not expecting an in-depth examination of commercial success.
We’re expecting ideas. And we hope that at least one of those ideas will help us in some way. If it does, it will repay the 3 or 4 minutes we invested in reading it.
This begs the question: Does your marketing mix contain list-based content?
If not, I suggest you give it a try. Lists are perfect for sharing, which makes them ideal if you want to expand your reach on social networks. New readers who discover your work through list content, will then get the chance to see your more detailed work. Others will follow you on the networks, where they see your lists shared. Almost all of my most shared blog posts are lists. This list-based page has been shared over 50 thousand times.
Lists can also be very powerful, when it comes to increasing your email marketing open rates. Email marketing that has a list in the subject line, can result in massively increased open rates.
Most small business owners are not expert copywriters. As such, the subject lines they use for their email marketing tend to under-perform. And poorly written subject lines result in low open rates. This means no matter how good their marketing message is, very few people will see it.
Using an average list title as the subject line of a marketing email, will always out-perform an average, regular subject line.
So, Should I focus exclusively on lists, Jim?
No. No you shouldn’t. Seriously. Don’t!
Allow me to explain.
True, there are YouTubers making a fortune from creating only list-based videos. And yes, there are sites that attract millions of readers, who rely very heavily on list-based content. However, relying exclusively on lists is a bad fit for most small business owners. They should be used sparingly.
For example, I could have written this post as a list.
- It would have taken me half as long to write.
- It would have been shared a lot more on social networks.
- And the email version of the post would have been opened by a lot more people.
However, I wanted to dig a little deeper into one thing… the marketing effectiveness of lists. I didn’t want to weaken that focus with “15 Reasons why lists dominate the internet”.
Here’s the thing: Sometimes, you need to offer more substance around one subject. Other times, an issue could be impacting your readers and you need to address it. And there are times when you want to share one really useful idea, which wouldn’t work if you broke it down into a list of sub-ideas. In other words, that same surface-level approach that makes lists so popular, renders them useless for anything that requires depth.
So mix it up.
Test and measure
If you haven’t already used list-based blog posts, articles, videos, podcasts or newsletters, give it a go. Experiment. Test different types of list. Measure the feedback. Check things (metrics) including; sales, leads, open rates, social shares and new subscribers.
In short, if you’re not embracing list-based content, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.