Content Marketing

Top 5 Reasons Why I Don’t Use Lists in Every Post.

NumbersI’m recovering from what I believe is my first migraine headache today. So I hope I’m not being negative with this post… it’s not an attack, simply a curiosity.

If you’ve not checked out his blog before, there is a wealth of information at ProBlogger. What I can’t figure out lately is why virtually every single post has to be some sort of list?

Are there advantages to lists in your content? I have put lists in my content before, but only when I thought that they gave direction or were simply bullet points that I wanted to communicate. I know that people do search for ‘Top 10’ and ‘Top 100’ and other common counts for lists, but I don’t see ‘Top’ in some of ProBlogger’s lists.

Yet, almost every post seems to have a numbered list of some sort. How come?

Here are the Top 5 Reasons why I don’t use lists in every post:

  1. It doesn’t read like a conversation.
  2. Lists are sometimes subjective… one person can have a single point or a one-hundred points on any given topic. Why is the count important?
  3. Overuse of numbered lists sounds disingenuous… unless your blog is about lists, of course.
  4. List items are usually concise statements, and don’t leave a lot of room for description or discussion.
  5. Sometimes, the last items seem kind of thought up… just to try to get to the count you need. I needed 5.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and a recognized expert on digital transformation. Douglas has helped start several successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to launch his own platforms and services. He's a co-founder of Highbridge, a digital transformation consulting firm. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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  1. Nice list. Here some thoughts:

    1. I don’t use lists in every post – of my last 10 only 2 were really list posts (one other one quoted a list that someone else wrote)

    2. having said that – I do like the list style of post. I find them easy to write and easy to read. Of my posts the list ones are usually the most popular and most commented upon.

    3. I’m a list person in real life – I make them all day long to help me organise myself – so I guess it’s a natural form of writing for me too.

    4. your point about list items being concise statements is true – however the list posts that I write generally have a heading and then a paragraph after them. In a sense they are very similar to essays that I write with an introductory statement at the start of each paragraph with an explanation of it afterwards. The only real difference is that points are bulleted or numbered and the main point is bolded to make it more digestable.

    5. one of the biggest advantages of lists is that they are scannable. Studies into online reading show that most people react against and don’t read large blocks of text and scan content for main points before going back to read an article. I find that the list format helps with this.

    6. I’m also not really into rounding out lists for the sake of getting to a certian number and as a result have written numerous lists of 9, 12 and other strange numbers. My last couple of posts have been nicely rounded ’10’ lists but its more fluke than anything – I write my post and then go back to number my points at the end and stick with whatever I came up with.

    Of course – I take on board your comments. I know lists can be overdone and am aware of it – as a result I do try to mix it up a bit. Thanks for your thoughts – not taken as an attack at all but a constructive criticism – thanks.

  2. Darren,

    This is excellent feedback that helps me understand quite a bit. If I didn’t say it before strong enough, I’m a huge fan of your blog. One of the things I love about your blog is that it always seems to be original material. As I scan through my feeds to the repetition of posts (today it’s Google’s Writely and Spreadsheet merge), yours is usually on a new topic.

    Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer my entry! It’s a thrill being visited by the “ProBlogger” himself.

    And – I really like the fact that you listed your reply. 🙂


  3. thanks Doug – thought the comment needed to be a list 😉

    I try to keep things original over at PB – although there are days where the news has to be covered I guess.

    thanks for the feedback – I really do value it.

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