Are List Posts Worthwhile?

July 31, 2012By

A discussion I have with every GBW client revolves around blog post format. It’s an important discussion. For one it allows me to understand the kind post the client is interested in having on their blog. The discussion also allows me to share my experience with business blogging with the client. It’s good to discuss what the expectations are while also learning about the specific industry the client is in.

List posts are something usually discussed during this conversation. It makes complete sense. Business executives read websites like Inc.com, Forbes and Open Forum. Here is just a quick sample of recent posts on those sites:

As you can see the list posts obviously do very well on these popular sites. I assume list posts do well since these business sites continue publishing them. It wouldn’t make sense to keep doing it unless people were reading and sharing these posts.

But are list posts worthwhile for your business blog?

That’s another story.

Business Blogs Should Not Write List Posts

That’s my simple feeling.

List posts have the potential to get you a ton of traffic. I’ve used them throughout the last few years. List posts get traffic. List posts can get tons of shares and they can even bring in tons of search traffic. For some reason people love list posts. My guess is that because lists are easy to scan and take in the format is appealing to readers.

But what I’m also thinking is that list posts attract the wrong kind of reader. You don’t want the person that is simply looking for a quick fix. That’s not the person that is likely to make a purchase from your company.

Every business blog starts with a goal. In every situation the end result is using the blog to earn more profit for the company. If this wasn’t the case there would be no point in starting the blog.

While there are a few different ways to get to profit with a blog the most common is to earn the attention of potential customers, earn their trust and get them to make a first purchase along with additional lifetime purchases.

If this is your goal then you do not want to focus on list posts. You’re not looking for the flyby reader. You might bring in some eyeballs to the post and get some attention for your company, but in the end you’re looking for quality visitors and those come from more extensive posts.

The format you’re looking for on your business blog is something more substantial than list posts. You’re looking for posts that provide some real insight. These include how to articles that help your potential customers with an actual problem. You have knowledge that is valuable to your customer. Share some of that in how to articles. The people that find these articles will learn to improve their lives and in return they’ll trust you and your company.

Another form of post that is good for business blogs is the story format. Telling stories has always been something businesses have done. You probably tell stories all the time when you’re talking to prospective customers. Use the stories of your past customers as fuel for blog posts. These make interesting blog posts for those that are actually interested in making a purchase from you. The best part about using stories is that when you tell them you’re using the words and language of the customer and that’s what other customers are searching for on search engines and in social media sharing sites.

A third form of posts that work well for business blogs are interpretations of news in the industry. Your customers see the news happening in your industry. There is no reason to compete for breaking news. It’s nearly impossible to do this unless you’re the one making the news. Your customers can get their breaking news from a variety of sources, but what they’re really interested in anyways is an interpretation of the news. This is where you come in with experience and knowledge. There is no source more situated to provide an understanding of what news means to your customers. Write these in blog posts and customers will trust you. That’s huge for purchasing decisions.

A good business blog will experiment with a variety of different post formats. This might include some list posts. Again, they are good for getting traffic and interest. People love them, but really you’re looking for more than just traffic. You want customers to read your blog and that comes with these post formats:

  • How to articles
  • Stories
  • Interpretations

Focus on these three post formats for actual results with your business blogging efforts.