List stories are great, aren’t they? Easy to produce and as addictive as super-strength editorial crack, journalists, bloggers and Uncle Tom Cobley churn list stories out like there’s no online tomorrow.
My Twitter feed seems to be a constant trickle of lists, with the latest bunch of social media gurus keen to impart their knowledge on topics like search engine optimisation and social networking. Good for them.
And good for me, as I jump on the top tip bandwagon and ride into the search-optimised sunset. Ladles and gentlespoons, let me unveil my top five types of numbered list stories:
- Top 10: The all-time favourite – most top tip lists come in tens and there’s a reason for that; it’s a round number
- Top 100: The ultimate list story – particularly good for top album blog entries. And for Channel 4 TV shows compiling clips from the 1980s
- Top 5: Half a top ten but not necessarily half as good. Great for your basic, short tip list
- Top 6: Also has a nice, round feel. Useful for list compilers that are aiming for ten, but who quickly run out of ideas
- Top 9: There’s an honesty about giving a top nine; the complier knows they’ve only got nine points and they’re admitting as much
I recently saw a ‘Top 9′ list story where one respondent complained that the journalist hadn’t bothered to round the list up to ten. That might be so, but at least the journo was honest – the scribe clearly got to nine and ran out of ideas. I mean, it’s not like these list stories take five minutes to put together.