by David Tandet

11. Lists force you to write better sentences.

Most peoples’ sentences are too long. Structure your points into a list and every point has to be concise.

12. Search Engine Guide likes lists.

Three of the top pieces on a recent Search Engine Guide:

• “28 Resources for Paid Search Strategies” by Manoj Jasra

• “11 Ways to Fill Your Shopper’s Cart” by Stoney deGeyter

• “Four Social Media Lessons from SXSW’s Mark Zuckerberg Interview” by Jennifer Laycock

Marshall Simmonds, VP Enterprise Search Marketing at the New York Times said, “Search Engine Guide is hands down my favorite e-pub for keeping up to date on daily SE/Industry news.”

Any questions?

13. Lists are user friendly.

Lists are how we divide our lives. Groceries or frequent calls — we like categories. Put your information into a list and your message digests as easily as instant oatmeal.

14. Lists promise a treat.

Ever want to be on Santa’s good list as a kid? Ever make a list of favorite songs or movies?

Everyone likes to see how someone else sequences something. Even if the subject matter holds no particular appeal . . . at first.

15. We love to compare. Lists let us.

Unless the subject is SOOO hyper-tech, well . . . readers have most likely already formed their own opinion about some aspect of your list — whether they realize it or not. Coming across another’s list makes readers want to stop and compare notes.

And if the subject IS that technical the list makes it that much more digestible.

16. Numbers, bullets and arrows are appealing.

Those display aids get readers’ attention. They work especially well on the internet.

17. Lists force you to tighten the entire piece.

Many of us throw a lot of excess fat into what we write. Think in “list mentality” and you’ll trim as you go.

18. Lists allow you to create mental links in readers’ minds. This helps you make your point in a very efficient way. See Nos. 11 and 17.

19. Lists provide maximum flexibility.

If you’re presenting rotating or time-sensitive information, the list format allows maximum opportunity to discard the old and bring in the new. This is especially helpful on the internet.

20. A list can comprise your entire piece or one part of it.

A list lets you step away from conventional narrative style in one paragraph or for an entire piece. Lists adapt.

Post filed under Marketing Communications, Writing Tips.