List blogging is nothing new. In fact, it’s origins come from magazines. Go peruse the local magazine rack and you’ll find tons of helpful articles like “10 Ways to Lose 20 Pounds” all over the shelves.
People have argued that things like bullet points, breaking up text into tiny paragraphs, obligatory number in the title, and tons of other factors.
I have made (and still do to some extent) a good portion of my income writing list posts for various websites and the truth is this: lists work for grabbing attention. Always have, and always will.
The thing to remember is that lists aren’t evil; they’re only a format.
And there are other really effective ways to build traffic and community, without conforming to an unwritten standard.
Chris Guillebeau has a quietly built a massive following. People link to his articles like fiends and buy his guides like hotcakes. And I can’t think of the last time the guy wrote a list post. Seth Godin posts tiny to medium-length marketing nuggets as they come to him. Naomi curses like a sailor with tourettes, and Colleen does whatever she wants.
What these smart people have figured out is that they don’t have to write linkbait or lists to grow a community. They just have to be themselves.
There is no wool-over-the-eyes, fakey Big Smiles or blustery posturing. It’s all real, like you were sitting down and talking to them face to face.
And that’s how they draw people in. They’re not necessarily telling a story, they are the story. And they’re not trying to attract the masses either. They’re trying to attract the smallest portion of the masses that thinks exactly like they do, which means that their readers “get” them.
There is no golden rule or standard when it comes to building a community. You are the convention. You are what you create.
And that’s why people are following you.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this. Am I the only one feeling this trend? How has it affected how you create? Oh, and thanks for following and commenting. The discussions have been fantastic lately.
Photo by ???? Th?t