I know what you’re thinking. The list is a mainstay of blog writing. You see it on nearly every blog in existence. Heck, some blogs ONLY use the list format. And to demonstrate how firmly entrenched the list formatted blog entry is in the blogosphere, I myself was about to title this post “5 Reasons Why Bloggers Should Ditch the List Format” before I realized the irony. But if lists are so popular, why would any blogger in their right minds advise against it?
Well for starters, there are millions upon millions of blogs out there, each vying for their own plot of readers. In fact, a Blog Herald article noted recently that the task of counting how many blogs are out there is virtually impossible.
Considering these vast numbers of blogs, bloggers who really want to stand out will have to learn to distinguish themselves in whatever way possible. Formatting your articles differently is one simple way to do just that.
Another reason to give up the list, I’ve found, is that the same format tends to produce the same style and content. In my own experience as a freelance blog writer, I’ve noticed that when I write list posts, I use the same phrases, sentence structures, and I simply get bored writing more easily. If you find that lately your blog has been lacking creative energy, consider experimenting with your format. Chucking the list doesn’t mean you have to give up subheads and such, it just means you have to think less rigidly, which will hopefully open more room for creative space.
While lists seem to dominate the blogosphere, one idea that is garnering greater interest among individuals and businesses alike is the power of storytelling. As pro blogger Andrew Rondeau notes in a recent blog post about storytelling and blogging:
“You can list bullets of why [a product] works, and why it doesn’t, and come up with your conclusion. Or, you can sit down and tell people all about your own experiences. Why did you review the product in the first place? What did it do for you? How did you find it when you were using it? Why are you taking the time to recommend it to other people? The dullest subjects can be brought alive if you throw in some personal anecdotes and provide a great, colourful background to the information you are covering.”
From my own personal experience, when I started making my blog writing more about my personal experiences through anecdotes and less about giving advice through lists, I realized that I became more engaged in what I was writing. And this engagement became infectious, as evidenced by the greater amount of comments I received on my non-list formatted blog entries.
Even if your particular blog niche is especially suited to writing lists, change it up a bit every once in awhile. If anything, it’ll make the process more fun.
This is a guest post from Kate Willson, who writes on the topics of best online colleges. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.