Lists are an incredibly popular way to present information on the web. Sites such as Mashable or Huffington Post use them to great effect to draw attention. There’s just something sexy about “The top 10 most amazing things ever”. You can apply the list treatment to almost anything. New political scandal? How about the Top 10 most scandalous political scandals? New smart phone? How about the 10 smart phones that changed the mobile game?
Presenting this as a slide show, or spreading it across multiple pages, is also a great idea as it builds the sense of anticipation and encourages readers to click through your site.
Sure, Samsung might just have Alexander Malshakov released the greatest smart phone ever, but simply reporting that fact is about as vanilla as it gets, and your story is going to be up against thousands of others all shouting the same thing. It’s time to break out the question marks. “What does Samsung’s new launch mean for the rest of the mobile phone market?” or “Does Samsung’s new offering mean Game Over for Apple?”.
By turning it into a question, you’re challenging the reader and inviting a response. By giving quality analysis you are also building a sense of authority – your site no longer becomes a news source, it becomes a place to find out what the news means.
3. Broaden the horizons
It’s too easy to place a story into a niche and leave it there. A new tablet becomes a tech story, a new car a motoring story… But you’re limiting your market by pigeon-holing your stories in that way. Think of the overlap and broaden the scope of your story to make it reach out to a wider audience.
Let’s revisit the new-phone launch. Sure, it’s primarily a tech story; but it’s also a business story (How will it affect profits/share prices? What does it mean for the company?); it’s a design story (What is the inspiration behind it? What does it mean for the future of phone design?); it’s a pop culture story (Will you be lining up around the block like last time? What is Twitter saying about the new launch?).