I recently had a few articles published on popular social media website, Social Media Today. The pieces I submitted that successfully got retweeted or posted to Facebook a bunch of times were the ones in list form. It got me thinking, why do articles with headlines that suggest its contents contain a list get better interaction?
I did an experiment and submitted an article that contained no list in the title. That piece, even though the tweet button did get a small workout, was tweeted around four times less than the most popular piece entitled ‘7 Engagement Strategies for Facebook’ which received close to five hundred tweets.
After doing some research, I realise I’m not the first person to notice this phenomenon. There are literally hundreds of articles on why this happens. But here’s my top three reasons why list posts get better engagement online:
1. People are overloaded with information
Due to the sheer magnitude of information available online, people have either become lazy or they just aren’t reading entire articles. As such, lists are perfect for the time-poor, info-overloaded reader. Content is broken up into chunks which makes it easy to read and digest.
2. Lists imply educational content
Depending on your audience, a list suggests that by reading the article you will glean some kind of knowledge on a subject. The writer has done the work on the reader’s behalf and is presenting their findings or opinions on a subject in a lightweight way meaning the reader will quickly get up to speed on any given topic.
3. People like it when things are organised
Generally speaking, people like to organise things. Better still, people like it very much when someone else does the organising for them.
Got any other ideas as to why people love list articles? Please feel free to share them in the comments section below.
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Image credit: Pedro Szekely via Flickr Creative Commons