It’s hard not to love a good list. In our fast-paced society of to-do lists and wish-lists and grocery lists and bucket lists, it’sprettyobvious we’re obsessed – and rightly so. Lists are pretty powerful tools, especially when it comes to online content.
Sites like BuzzFeed and reddit take lists to the next level, considering their lists go viral on almost a daily basis. These posts successfully capture the essence of viral media that is currently resonating on the web with their series of entertaining and educational lists. So what is it about lists? Why does the list framework draw readers in? Why do lists work so well online?
1. Lists are skim-able. Some of you might’ve just skipped that introduction to get to the bulk of this list. The list format is perfect for skimming; who has time for actual reading, right? Lists are great because we can easily skim and still extract the information we’re looking for.
2. Lists are easily digestible. By chunking this information for you in a list format, I’m doing a good amount of the work that your brain would do to break this down. Lists are reader friendly.
3. Lists follow human nature. People like to organize things. Lists are great because they’re already organized.
4. Lists attract attention. The goal of any online content is to start a conversation and generate interaction. Lists are opinion magnets. Whether the reader agrees or disagrees with your Top 10 list, you’ll hopefully get some comments, likes, or shares.
5. Lists are share worthy. How many times do you see a shared BuzzFeed article on your Facebook timeline on any given day? People love to share what they love.
6. Lists meet expectations. I set the expectation of this list with my headline. Give your list a headline: “X reasons/secrets/types…” and you’ll automatically make a promise to the reader that you will hopefully fulfill by the end of your list.
Look at that, you just read another list.