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List Posts Done Right – Ten Steps To Social Share Stardom

Have you noticed that list posts (top ten lists) dominate the Internet right now? That’s because, after infographics, list posts get the most social shares. They are so popular there are blogs entirely devoted to list posts.

Because there is now so much competition, you have to make sure that you write consistently great list posts.

Average Shares by Content Length

List Posts Done Right – Ten Steps To Social Share Stardom

Step 1 – Use the right number of items

Average Shares by Content Type

Average Shares by Content Type

How many items should you have in your list post? The number is 10.

Ok Dork and Buzzsumo analyzed 100 million articles. The most popular posts featured the following number of items: 10, 23, 16, and 24 (in this order).

The difference in popularity is significant. List posts containing 10 items got four times more shares than the runner-up – posts with 23 items.

Step 2 – Make your list scannable

The whole rationale behind a list post is for someone to digest the information quickly. This means if your post isn’t scannable, you’re doing something terribly wrong.

Just look at this post… You can figure out the main points I am trying to convey by scanning each headline.

You don’t have to read any more than the headlines if you are short on time.

Step 3 – Write an introduction

Just because you are writing a list post doesn’t mean you can start the post by going directly into your first point. You have to woo your readers a bit. Let them know what the purpose behind the post is and why they should read it.

Next time you are writing a list post, make sure you include an introduction.

Step 4 – Include pictures

A picture really does say a thousand words. By including a picture, you will help people better understand the points you are trying to get across.

However, the images must be relevant, and they can be data-oriented. For example, I used a graph at the beginning of this post to convey how successful list-based posts are.

Step 5 – Do not place lists within lists

This list post has 10 main points. Do not place lists within lists. If you want to break down specific points in your list, use bullets. But be warned.

Readability is a huge component of how well your list posts will do. If you add lists within them, you will lose your readers and social shares.

Step 6 – Write a conclusion

At the end of your post, you need to summarize the main message.

By adding a conclusion and clearly labeling it as a conclusion, you’ll be able to get 10% more of your visitors to read your content.

Step 7 – Engage with your readers

A list post on its own is not engaging. Engage your readers by asking questions. Use the words “you” and “I” within your posts to help create a conversation and keep people engaged.

Step 8 – Go into detail

A list post needs to have about 2,000 words. Remember that the whole point is to actually engage and teach something?

Longer posts that make sense and have good content are rewarded with more social shares and higher search traffic.

Step 9 – Make your list tweetable

By making each of the list elements within your post tweetable, you’ll get 30% more tweets on average.

A simple way to integrate this within your blog is to use Click to Tweet.

Step 10 – Optimize for the right audience

Writing a list post for consumers is much different than writing it for businesses.

Businesses want more details and information than consumers do. Consumers have shorter attention spans and just want to see the information as quickly as possible.

For example, if I were writing a list post for a consumer blog, I would use more visuals than anything else. On the other hand, if I were writing for a business blog, I would use more stats and data.

To get a good sense for writing for consumers versus businesses, you should read this checklist.

Conclusion

Writing list posts isn’t rocket science but there’s an art to it. If you pay attention to the 10 steps above and use the solutions I supplied you with, your search and social share traffic should increase.

 

DIY Tools For Creating Infographics

Recently I’ve had a lot of requests for snazzy infographics. Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends.

The only problem is that infographics that look like they are incredibly simple to create, are often anything but. Creating something beautiful and instantly understandable in Photoshop is usually beyond the limits that time or a budget allows. This is why it’s occasionally useful to use an infographics tool to speed up the process.

The following are our favorites. They all have a free version, but to really harness the power behind the tools, you have to pay. Typically this is a small monthly fee, like $10 or $20/month.

1. Vizualize

vizualize

Click on screenshot to look at my resume in vizualize.

This is an infographic ‪résumé‬ generator turned up. You start by connecting to your LinkedIn account. You can visualise your resume in one click and also take a look at previous examples. Enabling people to express their professional accomplishments in a simple yet compelling personal visualisation, we think this is the start of something big.

2. Google Developers

Google Charts — Google Developers

Display real live data with Google Developers Tools

If you need to display real live data, look no further than Google Developers chart tools. Google chart tools are powerful, simple to use, and free. You can choose from a variety of charts and configure an extensive set of options to perfectly match the look and feel of your website. By connecting your data in real time, Google Developers is the perfect infographic generator for your website.

3. Easel.ly

Easel.ly offers 12 free starter templates.

Easel.ly offers 12 free starter templates.

This free web-based infographic tool offers you a dozen free easily customizable templates to start you off.

You get access to a library of things like arrows, shapes and connector lines, and you can customize the text with range of fonts, colours, text styles and sizes. The tool also lets you upload your graphics and position them with one touch.

The infographics are not animated but they look very professional. You can easily look at what other people have created and then use those infographics as a starting point for your own infographic.

4. Piktochart

Piktochart is cool but you have to pay $29/month to access all the templates and remove the piktochart watermark.

Piktochart is cool but you have to pay $29/month to access all the templates and remove the piktochart watermark.

Piktochart is an infographic and presentation tool enabling you to turn boring data into engaging infographics with just a few clicks. Piktochart’s customizable editor lets you do things like modify colour schemes and fonts, insert pre-loaded graphics and upload basic shapes and images. Its grid lined templates also make it easy to align graphical elements and resize images proportionally. There’s a free version offering nine basic themes, while a pro account costs $29 per month or $290 for a year.

5. Infogr.am

It's easy to customize the data in a chart or spreadsheet using infogr.am

It’s easy to customize the data in a chart or spreadsheet using infogr.am

Infogr.am is a great free tool which offers access to a wide variety of graphs, charts and maps as well as the ability to upload pictures and videos to create cool infographics.

Customizing the data that makes up the infographic takes place in an Excel style spreadsheet and can easily be edited, watching the software automatically change the look of the infographic to perfectly represent your data. When you’re happy with your infographic you can publish it to the Infogram website for all to enjoy and even embed it in to your own website or share it via social media.

6. Visual.ly

Visual.ly is both an infographics tool and a community of users.

This infographic was created by SuccessStory.com.

Visual.ly is both an infographics tool and a community of users.

Visual.ly is a community platform for data visualization and infographics set up in 2011. It allows you both to create infographics and get them shared on social media. The website is also able to match those commissioning infographics – including brands, companies and agencies – with its community over more than 35,000 designers.

7. VennGage

Venngage is very easy to use.

Venngage is very easy to use.

Venngage is a great tool for creating and publishing infographics because it’s so simple and easy to use. You can choose from templates, themes, and hundreds of charts and icons as well as uploading your own images and backgrounds, or customize a theme to suit your brand. The premium version costs $19.99/month. You can animate them too!

At the end of the day, many of these tools are similar and at a similar price point. If you need animation, then Venngage is probably the best bet. If you don’t need animation, it depends on your specific needs. For resumes, you are probably best off with Vizualize.me.