Author Maria Perez is director of news operations at ProfNet, a free service that helps journalists find sources.
I recently attended BlogWorld & New Media Expo, a three-day conference and tradeshow for bloggers, podcasters, Web content creators and social media innovators. I was able to listen in on several content creation and blogging sessions, and will share highlights from a few of my favorites. [See "40+ content creation, story ideas for your blog"]
We often talk about the science of blogging, but we don’t often talk about the art of blogging — and blogging is most definitely an art. As someone who blogs regularly, I know how hard it is to get people to read blog posts. And let’s be real — it doesn’t matter how good your content is if no one is reading it.
In this session, Nate Riggs, director of social business for The Karcher Group, shared his tips for creating list posts, which he said are some of the most-shared content on the Web (along with how-to’s).
With blogs, the framework (or style) you use makes it easier to stay consistent in your blogging practice. Your content becomes more inviting, readable and memorable, and it helps you stand out in a crowded space.
Think about it: If all else is equal, including content, the style of your blog posts makes all the difference and can help you get readers. That’s readers, not traffic — there’s a big difference. Readers are going to get you to your end goal.
There are three different list styles:
- Simple list: more than 10 listed items (e.g., “101 Ways to…”). Tip: Include backlinks. If you include 20 backlinks, the people you linked to will share it and it will open your post up to more people.
- Detailed list: less than 10 items. Although it has less items, it includes much more detailed descriptions with each, maybe even paragraphs. Tips: If using paragraphs, bold the first sentence. Long paragraphs are unattractive to read.
- Blended-media list: non-text based. These are especially easy posts to read because they’re not text-heavy.
With lists, the title becomes very important. People are attracted to numbers in the title (e.g., “8 Actionable Tips to Master the List Post.”)
8 ACTIONABLE TIPS
Riggs shares these eight tips for creating list posts. “These are just frameworks,” he added. “It’s important for you to improvise and find your own style.”
- Write your list to make a difference for one reader. Write as if you’re talking to one individual person, rather than the whole room. Your writing will have more impact.
- Draft your list body first. Think about what your list elements are first, and then write the opening and closing.
- Don’t write in a linear format. Use mind maps to develop list elements at random, and then order the list. Take the ideas in your head, dump them into a document, then order them.
- Make your lists easy to navigate. Use headers to break up long lists into categories, etc.
- Always include the number of listed items in the title, e.g., “50 Ideas for…”
- Place target keywords into your list for SEO juice. “Lists are a great way to build keyword density,” said Riggs.
- Leave your list incomplete and ask your readers to add listed items in the comments. “Lists aren’t just about teaching someone,” explained Riggs. “They’re also about getting your readers involved.”
- Experiment with combining list frameworks. Use different list styles within the post.
Again, it all comes down to getting people to read your posts, and lists are very powerful posts.
“We talk about conversion, but if no one reads your stuff, you’re never going to be successful as a blogger,” said Riggs.
You can read more from Maria Perez at her blog on ProfNet Connect.