I’ve noticed an obvious yet interesting trend as of late and it is the incredible influx of LISTS into b2b marketing resources. I’ve even caught myself choosing to read a blog that is in a list format over a blog from a more credible source that isn’t in a list format. Why is this?
- We <3 Bullet Points
– B2B Marketers, and most people for that matter, love bullet points. What better way to have something presented than having it organized and neatly assembled in a round numbered list? When I receive weekly reports from my staff, I ask for less and less copy and at this point the reports are almost all bullet points. Bullet points almost require that the content is clear and concise; B2B marketers are bombarded with copious amounts of messaging each day and when we stumble across a bulleted list of concise items, believe me – you’ve got my attention.
- Controversial Topics
– Top 10 lists never focus on a topic that everyone already agrees upon – that’s no fun! Usually the best top 10 lists are about a relatively debatable topic like, “Top 10 Branding Revamps of 2014” or “Top 10 Best Practices for Blog Writing”…I totally made up these examples, but I actually really would like to read those if they existed (who knows, maybe interpretations of the aforementioned topics already exist). “Top 10 Branding Revamps of 2014” is a topic that reflects the thoughts and opinions of the writer; the writer will include what he/she feels are the top 10 branding revamps – and nothing else. These lists are very finite – what isn’t included in the top 10, simply isn’t considered. The writer says that these are the top 10 and that it, there is no mention of anything other than the top 10…. except for the almost viral chatter that comes in response to the writer’s interpretation.
- Round Numbers
– Everyone gravitates toward round numbers, its human nature. There have been numerous studies conducted that show humans over-and-over choose to reference/use round numbers instead of odd numbers. Wouldn’t it be odd (pun intended) to have a Top 11 list?
- Sharing is Caring
– Top 10 lists are the perfect content to share with friends and colleagues, especially if the list is informative and funny. Due to the controversial nature of these lists, they make for great sharing material. Apart from sharing internally via email/text to your co-workers and friends, sharing these on social media has the potential to spark some serious engagement. Some may completely disagree with the top 10 list you posted and have something to say about it, or maybe they love it and pass it on to their friends and colleagues. The life of a B2B marketer isn’t sunshine and roses all the time, and believe it or not, receiving a quick email in the morning from a fellow B2B marketer with an informative and funny list actually makes the day a little better and makes learning about something new a little easier.
– It makes it even easier to share top 10 lists because they vary so much in content and tone. Sometimes they can hardly be taken seriously because the tone is purely comedic and the items seem like they were chosen sarcastically. However, on the other hand, some are very cut and dry with a wealth of empirical data and information. A lot of times the lists don’t even have more than a sentence for each item and instead there are pictures/videos or interactive objects; but of course there are always the lists with 3 pages of copy for each item. Share the funny ones with your friends and share the more serious ones with your co-workers…or find one right in between and share it with everyone!
- Easy Engagement
– When I see a good top 10 list, it is nearly impossible for me to not share or leave feedback. A good list will incite a response or action every time…and it doesn’t really even have to be good; a really bad list can sometimes have the same effect. Not to mention, B2B marketers love sharing their two cents!
- Make Your Own
– These list are very easy to craft – there are basically NO RULES (no rules tends to spark creativity). The template is universal, 1-10 …and you can start at 1 or 10, doesn’t even matter. As long as there is at least some logic to your list, it will probably turn out okay.
– One of the biggest reasons why these lists are so successful is because they don’t require a huge time investment. Of course I would just love to read an e-book on social media before I go to my social media strategy meeting, but that would require quite a bit of reading time that most B2B marketers just don’t have. These lists somehow always manage to creep into my browser but I don’t even feel bad about it because it takes an average of about 2-3 minutes to peruse through a top 10 list.
- 2. Organization
– Top 10 lists are clean, orderly and give the reader a sense of organization. There are no loose ends with top 10 lists; they are concise and finite, they really are what they are and nothing more. Your marketing task list definitely has more than 10 items and it likely has quite a few contingencies and unanswered questions, but a top 10 list gives us a feeling of orderliness and completion. If all is chaotic and wild in your marketing world, try starting your day by reading a top 10 list; it might give you a more organized approach to seizing the day.
- Everyone is Doing it
– David Letterman’s Top 10
– ESPN’s Top 10
– ESPN’s NOT Top 10
– Network News and Network Affiliates – News Top 10
– Blogs all over the world
– B2B Marketers everywhere
Jump on the bandwagon and lets write about interesting and controversial topics in the form of lists!