I am not the first thoughtful scribe to ponder the proliferation of Top-10 Lists. Nor the last. I read them. We all read them. But why so many? And why so popular? Ever stopped to think about it?
1. They offer a shortcut and we just love the shortcuts.
We need help these days in understanding and filtering all the information that comes at us on the internet. When we see a Top-10 List that appeals to us, we assume that someone has performed a few filtration duties already. And we might be right.
A top 10 list offers the promise that someone else (perhaps a bit more knowledgeable) has done some spade work for us. That promise is a hollow one sometimes, but not always. Thus we will, maybe only minutes later, click on another Top-10 List.
2. They encourage conversation and “comments”.
In a Top-10 List the writer has set himself atop the “expert” pedestal. But in reading the list we now have the opportunity to open up a can of expertise of our own. Maybe this list is on the money, and maybe it’s not. Thus, hopefully, the conversation begins in earnest at the “comment” section at the bottom of the page, and where that conversation ends, who knows. Maybe with accolades and high-5’s or maybe a vicious smackdown.
3. They’re oh-so very linkable.
The blogging community lives on links. And people love to share links on their blogs and social bookmarking sites. More links means higher standings in the search engines, and that means more traffic, and that means more ‘Top-10 Lists”. So, don’t worry, ‘Top-10 Lists” aren’t going out of style anytime soon.
4. They’re really easy to write.
Yep, now it can be told: Top-10 Lists almost write themselves. Take a pinch of knowledge or a personal interest, add a dollop of research and a dash of opinion and you are in business. It is easier than writing a real post or article and, if they are truly informative, oddball and/or interesting, heck, it may find a real readership.
5. They offer an opportunity for humor.
A ‘Top-10 List’ does not have to be factual. This one isn’t.
It can be funny.”Miley Cyrus’ Top-10 Choices In Latex Underwear”. That is a list I would read. And that probably will be the subject of a future blog post. But seriously folks, a Top-10 List makes one stop and think: “What exactly would my Top-10 choices in latex underwear be?”
6. They help us solve nagging little problems or offer help we only vaguely realized that we needed.
“Top-10 Ways To Regain your Anonymity On the Web.” Try not to click on that one. No matter what ailment, problem, condition or circumstance you are suffering from, sooner or later there is going to be a list that addresses it.
7. They do well on social news sites.
Digg and Reddit always have a couple of Top-10 Lists in their top stories. That is a real coup for the author of those lists, a home run to right center. Those sites are a source of amazing (and the links that follow).
8. Everybody writes ‘Top-10 Lists’.
Some people, like me, actually write Top-10 Lists about Top-10 Lists.
9. You can stop writing when you run out of items.
Note, this post started out to be a Top-10 List, I had lofty goals. But, unfortunately, it ran out of gas at nine.
Call ’em what you will. They are quick, easy filler that can be very interesting if done well. And they will perform well in the “blogosphere’ in comparison to other articles on the same subject or topic. But, hey, I’ll try not to overdue it.
Now, what all this means to the readers of a marketing-related blog is pretty plain: the Top-10 List is simple, quick, effective on several levels, and real crowd pleaser. Don’t forget about it.