How to Create Awesome List Posts

This is a guest post by Srinivas Rao of Blogcast FM.

If you have spent any time at all in the blogosphere, then you have no doubt come across a post where somebody has created a roundup post of other bloggers. Here are just a few examples below:

These roundup posts can generate massive amounts of traffic for your blog. They also have a tendency to be shared quite a bit on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites, bookmarked, voted upon, and commented on. They do however require a significant investment of time and effort.

Assembling the List

You should expect to spend at least a week on putting together one of these posts if you intend to do it well. Below, I’ve dissected what I think the keys are to creating an awesome roundup of bloggers.

It’s not About You

While these posts are great traffic generators for your blog, the most important thing to keep in mind when you put together one of these posts is that it is not about you. It’s about the people on the list. You should treat this as an opportunity to shine a light on people. This is really about sending traffic and subscribers to other people’s blogs.

As Chris Brogan says: promote other people much more than you promote yourself. It might be counter-intuitive, but you’ll be rewarded accordingly. By making it all about the people on the list you’ll form a very loyal fan base from new readers and the people who are on the list.

Avoid the A-List

Your initial temptation might be to put together a roundup of the biggest and most well known bloggers. I want to recommend you avoid doing that. First of all everybody already knows who these people are. Therefore nobody really learns about anybody they didn’t already know about. Second they are constantly included on these roundup posts.

While they might be appreciative of you including them on your roundup post, chances are you will be a blip on the radar. The real purpose of putting together one of these lists is to let people know about people who are doing great things, but people might not necessarily know about.

Kiss Digital Babies

This is a term that my friend Stanford at Pushing Social coined and it could easily be the most brilliant advice I received in all of 2010. Emerging talent is the most undervalued asset in the blogosphere.

For every A-list blogger who has been on 50 of these lists, there are hundreds of digital babies being born every single day who are some of the most creative, amazing and interesting people you’ll ever meet in your life. This is also a great opportunity to start the formation of a very loyal tribe who will be forever grateful to you for putting them on the map. I always to try to keep an eye out for emerging talent because I think it’s the most valuable asset available when building a tribe.

Finding Digital Babies

Finding digital babies is actually not quite as challenging as you would think. Pay attention to the people who comment on your blog who you may not have heard of before. Also keep track of who tweets your posts that you may not have heard before and make them part of you inner circle. These people are the ones who really need to be put on roundups.

If you are an established blogger you have tremendous power to make positive change in their lives. If you are a new blogger you have the ability to bring a group of people who might know each other together.

Personalize It

As I mentioned above you should expect to spend a week putting together this kind of a post. I’ve seen a few instances when people will just throw together some links for a post like this. I think it it’s important to add a personal touch. Tell people why you like these blogs and why they should subscribe to them. It’s important to let these people know that their ideas and effort are appreciated.

Your Thoughts on Large Lists and Roundup Posts

Putting together a round of bloggers definitely requires significantly more effort than your average blog post, but the rewards significantly outweigh the effort. What are your thoughts on putting together a roundup post?





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Comments

  1. says

    Roundup posts sure require a lot of effort, time and energy. And I agree with what you said that there are new digital babies coming in the blogosphere everyday and they sure are worth watching out for. So including them would be like extending a welcoming and helping hand and it’s one that they’ll never forget.

    • says

      Andrew,

      To me that’s where the really opportunity to build connections and relationships lies. The people that I have really built a network with over the last 6 months have been the emerging talents. The thing is when you have even a little bit more experience than they do, you have something to offer them by helping them.

  2. says

    When I first started doing this type of post I thought it would be a very fast and easy post to put together. Boy was I wrong. I knew I couldn’t just add a bunch of links because it would be the proverbial wall of text without much value to my readers. To do them well, I agree with you that it should be something you’re thinking about all week.

    I like your suggestion to kiss the digital babies. This is where these types of posts shine for me. You not only give your readers some great posts to check out, but you’re promoting people who deserve it. It’s a real win-win scenario.
    Brad Harmon just posted 9 Lessons Bloggers Can Learn from Cats

    • says

      Brad,

      It really is a time consuming process if done right. But I think the payoff in new connections and relationships makes it totally worth it.

  3. says

    Great post Srinivas. I think Kristi is one of the best I have seen around the blogosphere at creating list posts/roundup posts with her Fetching Fridays. I can imagine it takes a good amount of time to put together one of these posts so I always respect those that manage to do it consistently and properly.

    I think the best advice you gave here to put together great list posts is to personalize it. I also think it’s important to add a personal touch and let people know the reasons you like these blogs. Thanks for sharing Srinivas, I haven’t did any list posts yet but these are some great tips to keep in mind for when I do.
    John just posted Put An End To Sweating Problems

    • says

      John,

      I agree that Kristi’s Fetching friday resources is one of the best lists posts in the entire blogosphere. I look forward to it every week. I got to spend an hour talking to her about it at Blogworld, and the amount of effort she puts into create something of such value for the readers is incredible.

  4. says

    List posts can be difficult to create, I’ve created about 3 or 4 101 posts in my blogging career. These are best done over a week or two. Thinking of ideas is difficult the best thing to do is to know your research.

    I am very impressed with the 125 Fearless Female Bloggers. There are a number of female bloggers here, that I know and worked with.

    So many great bloggers that have made the list.

    Excellent article.
    James from Intrahost just posted Reasons to have a self-hosted blog

    • says

      James,

      Kristi did an amazing job with the fearless female bloggers post. I think she trumped all of us with that one :). I think if you do it over the course of a week or two it can be a less daunting ordeal and quite a bit can come from it.

  5. says

    I love reading list posts and I have crated one or two. They had nice results.
    However, although we might think everyone knows about the big names, there are people that are big for us, big in general (great blogs, with high PR and Alexa, making money online for ages) but new bloggers don’t know about them yet.
    That is what happened on one of my lists. My blogging idol that I thought everyone must know about – was unknown to some of the more recent bloggers. So I would not limit the list to digital babies, there is a reason why the big ones are big and why they should be included in lists they fit in.
    Brankica just posted SEO blogger Firefox add-on Free keywords research tool every blogger will love

    • says

      While there might be big bloggers that other people don’t know about, I think that we often seem the same names on these lists repeated a bit too often. I see these lists as an opportunity not only to shine a light on a new blogger, but also to build a relationship. Of course the nature of the list and what you want to accomplish will influence you who include.

    • says

      Dino,

      I think they are well worth the effort. The one I wrote was tweeted over 65 times. While it was a ton of work, I think it was just a fantastic opportunity to connect with people and more important connect people who had never heard of each other.

  6. says

    I have always dreamed of getting on a top-10 list at Smashing Magazine. If I remember correctly, Kikolani, you made a list there once or twice? At any rate, I know I’ve seen you somewhere :p

  7. says

    I want to say what sometimes irritates me as a reader: some bloggers place such lists with the names of some famous bloggers in their posts just to flatter them (in fact, these bloggers may have never seen these blogs) and among them they place their own blogs. In some cases it helps – but only once. If your blog isn’t great – ‘gurus’ won’t visit it again.

  8. says

    I hadn’t thought about doing this before, but now I will! I have such a specific niche so I might actually have to broaden it a little, but hopefully this helps with my traffic. After reading all the other comments I am prepared to spend some quality time on my first list post. Thanks for the help!
    Samantha just posted Tracking Success with a Goal Tracking Chart

    • says

      If you have a specific niche one group of people you might consider is the people who comment on your blog. Sometime those are rising stars who just stumbled up on you and become fans.

  9. says

    Super advice, Srini and quite timely as well.

    I’ve been thinking about doing one of these, inspired by a couple of others I’ve read recently. I agree, to really do it justice quite a bit of research has to go into it. I read one of Jade Craven’s creations fairly recently and of course, one you assembled and noticed just how nice they are to read. These are not ordinary blog post by no means.

    Thanks for the reminder to move forward and create one of these. :-)
    Jimi Jones just posted 10 Ways to Motivate Yourself

  10. says

    Shrinivas, aloha. Thx so much for this great post. As a reader, I thoroughly enjoy these types of lists and being introduced to new bloggers. Because of your post, I will start looking for digital babies to share with others. Aloha. janet

  11. says

    Right on!

    My most favoritest part is that you included the “Don’t do the A-List”!! If I see one more list post that kisses the A-List ass one more time, I might just vomit. Yes, those people are cool. Yes, they are awesome. But it really just reminds me of that guy in the office that walks around telling the boss how awesome he is. Vomit!

    I can tell you from personal experience that kissing the digital babies is a great way to help yourself out too. I did it originally out of a desire to say thank you to the people who had been encouraging me and only later discovered the benefit to myself. Still my most popular post to date and STILL gets tons of traffic monthly…even half a year later.

    Course, it could be because you were on the list too, right? ;)

    • says

      David,

      I could probably write a post dedicated to the amount of cool connections that emerged for me from that list that you wrote. There were so many awesome blogs that I now read because of that post. So more power to you for doing that :)

  12. says

    I think Kristi is one of the best I have seen around the blogosphere at creating list posts/roundup posts with her Fetching Fridays. I can imagine it takes a good amount of time to put together one of these posts so I always respect those that manage to do it consistently and properly.

  13. says

    I do lists quite often and exactly as you say you need to remember that you are doing them for other people. I know that people find them useful and that it saves them having to do all the research and the by product that they get lots of traffic to other sites is a bonus.

    I’m not sure people realize how much work they are though! People look at a list of 50 and say “a that is just to get traffic” without realizing that it actually takes hours and hours of hard research and formatting!!

  14. says

    I’ll have to say that one of my best performing posts on my entire blog is my Top 10 Wedding Videographers post. It took probably 2 or 3 weeks of searching the internet to compile the list. To start with, I was really just making a list for myself to have a good sampling of videographer work to look at, but I thought others might enjoy the list, so I shared. Definitely a big hit.
    TJ McDowell just posted Transferring PhotoOne Appointments To StudioCloud

  15. says

    This is an amazing entry and something to keep in mind as I continue building my own small blog. It’s not any part of the social media, online marketing, or make money online niches, but Natural Parenting. I’ll be mindful of my blog posts and Tweets, since other larger bloggers might be watching. (I hope!)

    Delena
    Delena Silverfox just posted Micfo

  16. says

    You will defently go on my roundup when I do it. I am not to familiar on the blogsphere so I dont know of your on the A list. But I think you belong there anyway:-)

  17. says

    One of the reasons I like commenting on comment luv blogs is that is how I find new blogs. Usually when I am commenting I subscribe to RSS feed in google reader. That makes creating a list post of the blogs you read that week much easier when you have them all in one place.