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5 reasons why lists are key to your content strategy

By now I think it’s clear to everyone how powerful content can be. Entrepreneurs know it, startups know it, and big brands know it.

However, the first question I get after convincing someone to start producing content is, “Okay, but what could I write to make my content stand out?”

There are of course many types of content that one can produce, including trending, news, interviews, reviews, and more. But there is one type of content that I greatly underestimate and most people misunderstand. I’m referring to those lists that we all see in our feeds.

Here’s why these lists are actually super powerful:

With all the noise, your list provides people with a resource on who to follow.

One of the biggest challenges in today’s noisy world is discovery. It is difficult to discover new applications. Difficult to discover new products. And it’s hard to discover new people to follow.

By writing a list of “Top 20 Journalists Covering Your Space” or “Top 20 Investors Investing in Your Space”, or “Top 20 Interesting CEOs in Your Space”, you are giving people a useful tool to help discover new new people.

You get on the radar of leaders in your industry.

Instead of pitching an investor or a journalist, instead of asking for something, how about giving them something?

When you list people in your industry, you easily get their radar and even form the beginning of a relationship. I want to say; who doesn’t like to be featured? Who doesn’t love sharing a list they’re on with their mom?

When you feature people, whether in an interview or on a listing, they wake up with a Google Alert for their name and immediately go to your blog to see the listing. And just like that, you landed on the radar of a leader in your industry.

You get high level targeted traffic.

The second thing that happens as soon as that leader lands on your site is that they go there and share that article. All of a sudden, your traffic explodes because all of that person’s subscribers are coming to your site to read that list.

Not only do you get a lot of traffic, but it’s targeted traffic. This is exactly the type of traffic you need. After all, that person you listed is a leader in your industry, so all of their followers are probably in your industry as well.

You elevate your brand by associating with the leader you list.

Instead of bragging, how about introducing other people, preferably people doing interesting things in your field? What happens over time is that you become a resource for players in your industry and people start to see you as one of the leaders you present.

There are countless examples of this, but the biggest that comes to mind is Harry Stebbings who started a podcast to interview venture capitalists. His podcast has become the go-to place for everyone working in the company. It was no surprise when Harry launched his own fund and became one of the stars he was so famous for interviewing.

You keep content flowing with minimal effort.

Consistency is probably the most important thing in your content marketing strategy. In fact, I strongly believe that when you have to choose between one article a month with deep research and endless data, rather than writing a shorter article once a day, you should choose the latter.

Now, let’s be honest, the content you can write is finite unless you think outside the box.

By producing regular listings about people in your industry, you add to the type and diversity of your content, which not only helps with the things mentioned above, but also allows you to keep the content flowing.

In fact, listings take a lot less effort than a regular article.

If and when you start making these lists, the format should be pretty straightforward. A thumbnail of the person and a line about them. Then at the top of the list, a collage with all the faces so that when you share this list on your social media, everyone on the list sees their face and is more likely to share it.

The next time you see a listing in your feed, don’t be so quick to dismiss it. It could actually be valuable and useful for you to discover some very interesting people.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.