General Journalism / Journalism skills / Writing skills

Creating shareable content: I love lists

I love lists. I’ve always loved lists… to the point where I add something onto my list just so I can cross it off, and I KNOW I’m not the only person to do this. Why? Because they’re easy to read, and due to the nature of them, each ‘point’ is usually short and snappy. Lists are the features that go viral on Twitter, because they relate to said audience and have comical, witty points that make you go ‘Me too!!’.

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A successful blogger, who frequently uses lists as a way of captivating her audience, said on a post last week:

“Building galleries of 50 party dresses, scheduling tweets and writing lists about your childhood are part of the new ‘journalism’. The new daily duties which have redefined and broadened what we class as journalism. Because I do still class all of these things as journalism, there is still expertise and research involved. Just in a different format.” Hannah Gale

And it’s true. It’s true that the role of a journalist has so many different meanings now compared to the role ten years ago, and the same again ten years before that. 20 years ago, being a journalist meant being there, experiencing first-hand a breaking news story. Writing up a long-ass feature for a printed magazine with facts, quotes, statistics and sources to back you up. These ‘journalists’ still exist, and of course we still have journalists breaking news stories and working on print. But this ‘new journalism’ is constantly evolving, and that doesn’t mean you’re not a ‘proper’ journalist… it’s just a type of journalism that is matching the digital boom.

Writing lists is still researching and writing, but it’s creating content that uses the modern media to reach the biggest audience possible… in an instant. It’s reacting on the news, and building witty features that will make people laugh on that story (yesterday: 10 emotions we went through after finding out Cheryl Cole was engaged). Such features really do go viral, if you match the tone with the right audience, and use Twitter as a shareable tool. Why?

You’re not reading a big block of text where you scroll down and it’s STILL going on

25 things? Easy, you know what you’re reading, you know this article won’t go on forever

Each point is never longer than a couple of sentences, read it, laugh, move on

If you’re reading it, it’s likely you clicked on the link because you relate to the title, so you WILL find it funny

It’s just more MANAGEABLE and accessible. It’s something you can flick through on your lunch break and have a giggle at the light-hearted nature, rather than the concentration needed to go into a 1,000 word feature on the same topic.

Buzzfeed hit the jackpot when their lists became viral EVERYWHERE (a personal fave: http://www.buzzfeed.com/melismashable/25-ways-to-tell-youre-a-kid-of-the-9) but they’re addictive!

Oh, and this one: http://www.buzzfeed.com/richardhjames/things-youve-been-doing-wrong-your-whole-life

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