Using Lists in Your Content
It likely comes as no surprise to learn that content marketing in the digital age is highly competitive. This is partly due to the high saturation of digital content available and partly because audiences these days have short attention spans and are easily distracted. In order to make sure your content doesn’t get lost in the digital media sea, it’s important to follow a few best practices. One such practice is making sure the information you share is concise and to the point, clearly communicated, and easy to comprehend.
How can you as a financial advisor put this best practice into action?
All you have to do is break down your blog or other content into bite sized pieces. Like breadcrumbs in Hansel and Gretel, if the pieces are tasty enough, your audience will follow along right until the very end.
In the world of content, these bite sized pieces usually take the form of bullet lists. The juicier a bullet list is, the more avidly an audience will devour it. However, creating a bullet list is not as easy as you might think. It takes thought and strategy and requires you to be intentional with the information you wish to share.
Want to know how you can ace bullet lists as a financial advisor? Here are some dos, don’ts, pros, and cons in none other than bullet form.
Bullet Lists: Best Practices
- Offer Useful Information
Be sure that the information you’re sharing is relevant, helpful, and, if possible, interesting. People are obviously more likely to seek out information that will benefit them in some way, for example, helpful tips around a specific subject, or a ‘how-to.’ Fortunately, both of the aforementioned categories make great bullet lists.
- Get Creative
Often, bullet lists with puns, exclamatory remarks, and made-up names can help your content to stand out. For example, if you were sharing content about how to save money, you might say ‘Follow the 24-hour rule’ instead of saying ‘Don’t buy something immediately.’ The former will make readers curious and they’ll therefore be more likely to read the entire article.
- Keep the List at the Top
Make sure your bullet points are in the first few lines of your content. Readers these days want information quickly, and if your points are too far down, the reader will be more likely to simply stop scrolling and leave your website.
- Have Plenty of Bullets
On average, Google displays about 8-10 bullets in its featured snippets and links the rest as ‘more items.’ If your first few points are strong enough, a visitor will be more likely to click to your website to see the additional points. That said, it’s also important to be sure that your points are meaningful and relevant to the blog post or article itself, otherwise it could damage your reputation.
Bullet Lists: What To Avoid
- Don’t Give Away Everything at Once
The idea of sharing a snippet or a ‘breadcrumb’ is to tease the reader with information, but not give it all away immediately. After all, you want to draw them in so that they will read until the end.
- Don’t Use Too Many Words
The point of a bullet list is to lay out information in a clear and easy-to-digest fashion. If your bullets are too long and convoluted, your reader may get bored or feel overwhelmed. Short and sweet is the way to go.
Pros of Bullet Lists
- Provide Immediate Information
The main reason that Google pulls bullet lists to the top is that they summarize information for searchers. That way, even if the user doesn’t read the complete text, your content still serves its primary purpose.
- Structure Your Work
A bulleted list provides structure by helping you to prioritize and organize the order of the information you share.
- Drive Traffic
As mentioned earlier, if the first batch of bullet points that show in the Google snippet are intriguing enough, there is a high likelihood that a user will click to your site to read the full article or blog, which is a great way to drive traffic and get noticed by prospective clients.
Cons of Bullet Lists
- May Reduce Viewing Time
If you choose to rely too heavily on bullet points, you may end up with erratic traffic and reduced viewing times. People may simply check out your list and leave, neglecting some vital points that you may have mentioned in subsequent paragraphs. This is a key reason that it’s so important to share teasers as bullet points without giving everything away at once.
- The Potential to Be Monotonous or Repetitive
Avoid lists that are long, boring, and repetitive. Such lists add little value to a blog or article and can do serious damage to your credibility.
Bullet lists are a great way to sum up information in a digestible way, but you have to be careful to utilize them properly in order to get the best results possible. Just as a precise and relevant list brings in more traffic, an abrupt and vague list can drive readers away.
If you need help creating thoughtful, straightforward content that includes properly incorporated lists, the Beyond AUM team can help! Reach out to learn how.