I get hundreds of questions each day about how to write a blog post I call the “Top 5 list.” These are the posts that list the top 5 reasons for doing something or the top 5 or 10 best resources to consider for your law practice. These top 5 lists are hugely popular, and for good reason: they allow you to revive old material and organize it into a list that gives that material new life.
So, when a young or new blogger asks me about how to create one of these list posts, this is usually my advice.
1. Think About a List
The first task is to think about what you want to write. Try to brainstorm about what may be of interest to your readers. If you are a law marketing or practice management consultant, should you list the best paperweights for document management? The top 5 ways to alphabetize client files? Or the top ten gestures to use in networking conversations? You get the point. Think about what list to produce, with your audience always in mind.
2. Decide on the Subject
Once you give some thought to possible lists, decide on what to write. Decision-making can be the most important part of this process, so give this some serious consideration. Don’t set aside your great ideas. Use them. You’ll be better off doing so.
3. Make a List
If you’ve gotten this far, good job. You are more than half-way there. But now it’s time to make your list. Think about how many items you have. Is it ten, eight, seven? Even if it’s only five, you still have a list of five items. Write each item down and put your list under a paperweight you’ve color-coded appropriately to indicate “hey, I’m done making a list.”
4. Rank the List
This isn’t always necessary, but it’s best to put the list in order. For example, if you have identified five resources or items, put numbers next to each one, indicating one through five. You can always rearrange them in a different order, but remember to renumber them so that they are not out of order. It’s always jarring for the reader to go from 2 to 5 in a list of, for example, five best web sites. Again, think about the reader and his or her interaction with your list.
5. Write Your Post
A lot of new bloggers forget this aspect of the process. Unfortunately, it is arguably the most important step. Sit down with your laptop or sit down at your desk and type out the list, moving from one to five if it is a top 5 list. You don’t have to move strictly from one to five, but it does make sense to keep your thoughts and writing organized. Don’t worry if you struggle and cannot write the entire post at once. Sometimes, even, it may be best to divide it into two posts. Two top 3 posts instead of one top 6 post works well, gives you more material (don’t forget to add one more item if you only have five at this point) and will also give you two bites at the proverbial apple. Take those bites if you need them. They actually taste pretty good.
Good luck with making your top 5 lists. Link back to this post or comment below to let me know how they turn out. Believe me, it’s a great time of the year to make your lists and, ahem, to check them twice.