Lists are not new in the media. They have been a staple format for attracting readers’ attention both in print and online for years (here’s a list from this morning, for example: 10 funniest jokes from the Edinburgh festival fringe 2014).
What’s interesting is how lists have been developed by services such as BuzzFeed. The site recently received millions in funding and has been valued at the best part of $1bn. At the heart of what it does is content for the social web and that means easy to digest lists. BuzzFeed has put lists back on the map.
To be precise, it has put listicles on the map. These are lists with a bit more context but the form of the content is a list. According to this article, there are three types of BuzzFeed lists that you should know about. They are:
- Definitive list
I’ll let you go and work out the differences between those three list types. In the meantime, I think BuzzFeed’s rise in popularity goes to show just how appealing lists are (here is an example). So, consider them when creating your own content. That doesn’t mean dumbing down what you have to write either – lists form a useful template for telling a story. Indeed, the listicle is a list with added context. They are good for sharing online and can be visual too, so include images, GIFs, emoji, video.
In a fascinating article, 29 reasons you’re reading this article, data scientist Gilad Lotan number crunches BuzzFeed listicles to see which number is the best number to attract eyeballs to a list. It turns out that odd numbers are the most popular over time and that 29 is the winning ticket.
So, try out odd numbers, and try out even ones at your peril, as this funny take on list writing points out!