Six-and-a-half reasons you won’t want to read this
It’s become the blogger’s bread and butter. Five ways to do this. Seven tips to do that. Eight reasons why you should do the other. Or to quote two recent Buzzfeed headlines: 26 Celebrities Whose Names Should Have A Totally Different Meaning and 14 Times Club Penguin’s Harsh Censorship Ruined Everyone’s Fun (yes, really). It’s true these bite-size chunks are often easy to digest – and so highly spreadable on social media. But here are 6½ reasons why you should consider choosing another format or headline for your content.
1. It’s been done to death. Hardly the way to stand out from the crowd. The X-ways-to-skin-a-cat format certainly has a place – but that place isn’t everywhere.
2. It’s not scientific or authoritative just because you’ve squeezed in some one-digit numbers.
3. It can look lazy. Like those interviews where the questions and answers appear verbatim.
4. It smacks of formulaic writing-by-numbers, which is rarely much fun (or creative).
5. It’s dangerous to assume everyone wants or needs bite-sized content. You risk sounding as if you’re treating your readers like toddlers.
6. It’s all very well to be concise, but some topics just need more explanation to do them justice. Why always choose snacks over a square meal?
6½. It screams ‘arbitrary’ and ‘random’. Why three ways? Seven tips? Nine do’s and don’ts? Think of the 11 lords-a-leaping, three French hens and partridge in a pear tree: they’re only there to fill up the Twelve Days of Christmas.