Five Reasons People Keep Listing Things

Here are three reasons to continue reading this blog post:

  1. You’ve already clicked on it, so the topic must be interesting.
  2. The writing is mesmerizing!
  3. It has lists!

In our fast-paced, multi-screen world, attention spans are short, and so must be the messages. 

The New York Times Magazine, for now, can still publish widely-read 10,000-word treatises, but most Americans are getting their news and other important information in snippets. 

Our time is so precious and divided now that some media outlets even publish an estimate of how long it will take to read a specific article.

Sites like Buzzfeed and US News love “listicles,” because readers can click on them knowing they have not made a huge time commitment, then click to the next one.

While extensive quotation in a long feature article, or the publication of an op-ed/byline, are big wins for our clients, we’re also happy to see them occupy a listicle panel among prestigious peers offering insights or advice.

When pitching these opportunities, we highlight how our experts’ perspective is unique, based on past and current experience or the differentiation/disruption of their product or service. As examples, a mortgage servicing company can discuss changes in loan volume and what that says about the economy. A cybersecurity practitioner can discuss which exploits are most and least common. Accountants, advising real estate developers, can talk about the ratio of commercial to residential developments they’re seeing. 

At this point on the calendar, lists are increasingly common because experts are offering such breakdowns as:

  1. Financial resolutions for the new year.  
  2. Tax filing tips.
  3. Paying off your holiday shopping.
  4. How to evaluate last year’s portfolio performance or financial advisor.

Readers are drawn to these listicles because:

  1. They have short attention spans.
  2. They’re lured by graphics and clickbait.
  3. The outlet has done a good job credentialing the experts.
  4. The outlet has made good use of social media promotion.
  5. The listicle is written in a pithy, fun fashion.

When readers can consume quick, salient information without all the fluff, they are more likely to remember key takeaways, such as:

  1. A mutual fund’s AUM and performance.
  2. A management consultant’s experience as a former Fortune 500 C-suite executive or government official.
  3. An investment banker’s view on valuations and key trends driving consolidation.

So when it comes to content, to paraphrase Lady Gaga, there are “about a million reasons” to get your client on a list for ROI they can count on.

Adam Dickter, Director


(646) 808-3600


(949) 269-2535