List posts can be effective but, in my humble opinion, I think they can also be an excuse for lazy content writing, allowing for oversimplification of a topic.
There well written and enlightening list posts, of course - Forbes is good at these. However, there are plenty more that are simply a regurgitation of the bleeding obvious, offering no real value and feeling like content for content’s sake.
“$h!t we haven’t blogged for a while - how about 10 reasons why you must spell people's names correctly?"
The 8-second attention span myth has at last been challenged, people are happy to engage with longer blog posts if you make it worth their while. So when did prose become the enemy?
A cracking presentation by LinkedIn's Jason A Miller showed that longer pieces are achieving a higher sharing rate across social media than their shorter counterparts - 2,000 words being the average sweet spot.
So next time your cursor floats over a headline, ask yourself whether it’s what you really want.
Now here’s why I could be talking nonsense...
1. Brains love a list - our brains are organised in function-specific ways, meaning lists speak to our love for system and order.
2. Lists are a perfect fit for mobile devices.
3. They’re definitive and let the reader know what they can expect.
4. They allow for attention-grabbing headlines – studies show that numbered headlines perform better than their non-numbered counterparts.
5. Lists are perfect for a modern world of interruptions, allowing us to scan and cherry pick relevant bits of information.
Human beings have a lower attention span (8 seconds) than a goldfish (9 seconds). This was reported by the likes of Time and the Telegraph in 2015. It’s complete nonsense, sourced from an online statistics aggregator website that seems to have heard it down the pub. There has never been a study showing goldfish have longer attention spans than people. In fact, there has never been a study into how long a goldfish’s attention span actually is. However, if you think about it for any length of time at all, you know that human beings concentrate for longer than eight seconds most of the time.