219 DAILY BUSINESS HABITS TO MAKE YOU SUCCESSFUL
Also known as ‘who parachuted my cheese onto the goalposts’… or, less affectionately to those writing content: Lame List Syndrome.
One of my bugbears in content marketing is the number of articles that are based around lists. Lists of this, and lists of that; e.g. 'Five things that Elon Musk keeps in his underpants to be successful'. Much of this just doesn’t make sense. If you actually believed all this, then you would be wiser, better, more handsome, taller and richer. You could charm doves out of trees, and small children would volunteer to give you their sweets.
Anyhow, the question is: are all these list articles rubbish, or is there actually something useful in them?
Here are some thoughts:
recognise which to avoid like the plague
Check the bottom of the list article you are reading and look for what it asks you to do - 'sign up for a sales e-newsletter', for example. There are now so many of these list articles and many actually aren’t relevant, so pick the ones that match your expertise - or you risk wasting a lot of time.
BEWARE OF Exaggerated claims
Most of the stuff written is basic common sense. You should really be able to quickly tell whether something is going to work or not. And another thing - avoid the obvious. I’ve just looked at something called ’10 tips to be an innovator’ and, I kid you not, one of the tips was ‘to think of something new’. My daughter could have thought that up, and she’s 11 years old.
You need to be a bit discerning about which articles you read. I pick most of my ones up from LinkedIn. What I really like is articles that put forward a proposition and then argue it coherently. I want a bit of a challenge and a bit of intellectual vigour.
Some of the things that are put forward as research are based on samples of less than 20. When I was at university (a long time ago), results from samples that size were called 'statistically insignificant'.
Get to the point
You don’t need to pad out stories with additional weak points just to make up the list to an interesting number. Lots of these lists are three, five, seven and ten items long.
Because these are interesting numbers, and it makes the reader think they are getting more value. Actually, we see through this quickly. If you are trying to sell someone something, focusing on the critical issue will be much more credible and reap more rewards.
Anyhow, enjoy the business list stories and, if you find any real corkers, send us a link. We always like a smile at some of this stuff.
(Note from Fi - editor: John! I've just used the list 'gimmick' in my last blog post. Shame on me.)