Lately I have been noticing a tendency on my part to skim rapidly with most blog posts. Every post looks like it has been churned out by the same machine. They all feel the same.
I wake up to an inbox full of emails that I get as a result of subscribing to many, many blogs. I scroll through the headlines to see what catches my eye, what is interesting or what seems useful. I might click through to read a few.
Although I am looking – great job, headline! - most headlines fail to deliver. Especially the list post ones.
Most of the time, the headlines scream, ” 7 ways to skyrocket your subscribers”, or “9 awesome ideas to get your world rocking with Twitter”, or my (least) favourite, “21 steps on how to make gazillion dollars on the net working from home”.
List posts headlines work, I get it. The gullible consumer that I am , I will click to check it out – you bet I will.
Do you do the same? Hundreds and thousands of people do.
But – and there is a huge one – how many times do you remember what you read in the post after 5 seconds? I don’t.
Did you find the information memorable? Were you able to connect with the blogger? Did you find something new? Or is it some information you could have easily found by doing a search on the web?
Yes, by writing a list post you will have many people clicking through, however how many will convert? How many will become your repeat visitors, your enthusiastic readers, or yes, let me use the S word – your subscribers.
I actually don’t read 90% of list posts anyway; I mostly just scroll through them. Here’s my thoughts on what the problem is…
1. Too Much Generic Information
I can find that sort of information anywhere. If I am reading a post – even a list one – I would like something that is a bit more than a compilation of information that even my 7 year old can put together really well.
Yes, the posts are scannable so that they are read quickly but do they have to be written so badly that it has readers skipping over the entire content? They actually go on to hurt your reputation.
Show that you have put in some effort. If you can see that the blogger has only done a half-arsed job compiling that information, are they really worth your time?
No effort, no regular readers.
2. Who Cares?
Keep the winning formula of writing posts in mind; do you know what it is?
Backstory – useful information – close. As simple as that.
Start your posts with some sort of back-story. Clue in your readers to why all of a sudden you wanted to write that post. Bring them to the same page.
Make one point per post – really hone in that point. People will read your post quickly and enjoy sharing it as well. And who knows, your post might actually be an aha moment for somebody – its hard to accomplish that with list posts.
End with a call to action, ask them a question, ask them to share or subscribe. Its up to you.
3. I Can’t Tell Who Wrote it – Could Be a Bot
I never read posts where the blogger doesn’t make it a bit personal. If I cannot feel their personality – hear their voice, I feel like I am reading a generic article, not a blog post.
If you are blogging, you need to be putting yourself out there – you need to allow people to enter your comfort zone.
Everything that can be said, has already been said. When you write with an authentic voice, you can even make a generic piece of info sound like a revelation. Otherwise people will only be reading the headings.
You must give your reader a reason to read the text that is filling up the white space. You want text where people read it from word to word. Given the nature of blogging, it can be an impossible goal, but you need to aim high to have a chance.
Write about what you need to write about. It doesn’t have to be a list post.
3.5 It’s a Personal Thing
You might feel totally opposite on this one. Are you living to see which list post arrives next in your feed? Don’t hesistate to let me know.
You could even comment in the form of “7 Reasons why I don’t agree…” ;)