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6 Reasons Lists Make Great Copy

February 22, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 113

There's a reason Dave Letterman has been on the air as long has he has, and it has less to do with his rapier wit and more to do with is ability to cash in on a simple gimmick for which he has become iconic: the Top Ten list. We like lists. Something about their simplicity is inherently appealing to us. You've read countless articles in this format, yet you've perhaps never thought of using them yourself? Well friend, here's six good reasons to change your mind and start writing them.

1) They're Easy To Write

The number one reason to write articles in list format is that, heck, it's easy! Once the creative juices get flowing, all you need to do is think about something you like (or loathe), and then crank out a few reasons for liking (or loathing) it.

Then, write a few supporting reasons or elaborations on those reasons, and you're done!

I don't want to say lists are a lazy form of writing, but they are a writing path of least resistance.

2) They're Quick To Read

As much as we all love 5000+ word diatribes against the evils of X and the goodness of Y, nevertheless, we don't love sitting and reading chunk of text after chunk of text. Maybe that's a failing on our collective parts (I blame growing up on sugar and 30 second Sesame Street skits.

Most people want to read your article and get on with their busy day (those Farmville cows aren't gonna milk themselves...I don't think...)

3) List Posts Are Easy To Read

It's easy for your audience to read, too. Their eyes least resist easy, bite-sized snippits of text.

In fact, frequent line breaks (rather than lengthy paragraphs) are even better, because people read online text differently than they read books: they scan, predominantly.

So short, stand alone sentences are lovely, even if grammatically odd.

4) They're Easy To Understand

Bulleted formats are easy to understand. They have a clear framework or outline which makes comprehending the whole easier.

5) They're Easy To Remember

Because they're easy to understand, they're easy to remember.

Quick: without looking, do you remember points 1 and 2? (If you don't, then you really need to cut back on the Sesame Street!)

So, while there are some topics definitely worth lengthy discussion, nevertheless there are many which are easily summed up and left at that.

6)They're Easy To Edit!

I don't mean this just in the sense that they're easy to glance over, given the spacing, and short to read through, making proofreading a snap.

What I mean is this: I set my original title at "6 reasons" (ALWAYS start with the title first!) and I tried to hit it (and succeeded, thanks to this point). Had I failed, I could have simply changed that number to 5, and nobody would have been the wiser.

So here's your first assignment: Write a list of reasons why you've never used lists before, and then cross them off!

(Alternate assignment: if you are unconvinced, write a list of the reasons which are holding you back from using lists.)

Justin West is married with three kids, and enjoys spending time with his wife and children and not having to work an 8 to 5. He holds his Bachelors degrees in Philosophy and History, will have a Masters in Philosophy soon. Justin got fed up with the job market in 2010, and began blogging at, helping people start businesses to avoid the lagging job market like the plague. He also helps people protect their rights and identity at

Source: EzineArticles
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