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The Top 5 ways to write a Top 5 List

Posted by Josh Minnick on November 1st, 2010 at 7:48 am

We’ve all seen them. The email newsletters that scream “Top Five Ways to Get More Facebook Fans in Five Minutes”. Or the Blog post, “Top Five Secrets to Gaining More Search Traffic”. Hell, I was in a retail merchant chain that will remain unnamed (let’s just say it rhymes with Margret, but without the r at the end and you add a T at the beginning) and while I was waiting to buy my discounted Halloween candy to binge and purge while watching Boardwalk Empire, I was stricken by the fact that Top Five lists surrounded me everywhere. “Top five weightloss tricks”…”Top Five Ways to Please your lover (BTW I would be fine with all five). And even “Top Five Reasons to vote this November”. So given that apparently this is a phenomenon I know nothing about, I says to myself, why not write a blog.

So without further adieux, here we go.

Josh Minnick’s Top Five Ways to Write a Top Five List – The secret to increasing open rates, engagement, paid search, sales, reducing CPA and increasing ROI and other really good keywords for Google Caffeine.

Number 1 – Humans are simple creatures. The politically correct answer is we are all too busy to read anything anymore, but the simple fact is we are inherently lazy. Just give us simple facts that are relevant and easy to regurgitate to our friends at a dinner party and we are fine. The beauty of the Top Five list is you don’t even have to reference sources. No, on occasion you may get the English Lit. Major who will review your sources. My suggestion is to mark your sources with an incorrect MPA style. This will infuriate those types so much they will forget to actually check the source and it becomes a win-win. Everyone hates English Lit majors anyway.

#2 – Be sure to paint with a broad brush. This isn’t the time to be wishy washy or even even keeled. Make broad bold statements that generate arguments. The more people agree and disagree with your top five list, the more engagement you gain from your list. Now never be controversial for controversy sake. The best modern artist is one who believes the bullshit he is splattering on a canvas has a meaning.

Numero 3 – Make sure to have some “folksy wisdom” involved in your list. Simple is key. The more you can appear like an “every-man” the more the academic elite will adore you and the Morlocks will relate. By putting in something that is above a Public School eighth grade education level is doing yourself a disservice. Never overestimate the American Public (see Number 1 for reference)

Number 4 – Follow up the “folksy wisdom” tip with something so intelligent that only an English Lit major would understand. It not only satisfies the academic elite, but will confuse the Morlocks and they will deem you an expert in the field. Remember the order, if you do intelligent first then folksy wisdom, you will seem like a panderer. This is critical; you are NOT pandering by writing a Top Five list, but instead doing a service for people who want to steal your ideas to gain social power.

Number 5 – Always end with a bit of encouragement. Five things is a lot for most people to do, so never expect them to do all five. Encourage them to try for 2 or 3, and that is all they really need. They came to read five, but if they do 2 they will be a hero and still achieve the original results. Keep in mind only 4 people will make it to number 5, so don’t spend a lot of time here.

Always end with a paragraph that doesn’t appear like a sales pitch, but still references your website. This would be bad. Visit www.vitaminID.com for customized daily vitamin packs built fresh and delivered to your door. This would be good. For more info and quick tips, visit www.vitaminID.com. (vitaminID.com offers customized daily vitamin packs, built fresh and delivered to your door).

One Response to “The Top 5 ways to write a Top 5 List”

  1. Christopher says:

    Love it, number 3 could have not been said better.

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