Why the Media Love a List

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Broadcast, print and social media – all, without exception, love a list.

Channel 4 milks this formula with its regular, late night, list-based programmes.

100 Greatest Tearjerkers…50 Greatest Comedy Characters…I enjoy these celebrity narrated TV shows – however the downside of committing to them is I’m inclined to fall asleep before the top 5 is revealed.

I did however make it to the end of their most recent “100 Greatest Stand-ups of all time” and was pleased Billy Connolly came top.

Women’s magazines love a frivolous list – “top ten make-up must haves”… “20 ways to tell if he’s the one” etc.

I loved NME’s recent list of the “Top 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade” – although I disagree with their top ten – apart from Radiohead who made the top ten with In Rainbows. Well deserved in my opinion.

And although I am aware that it’s mindless and chauvinistic – I can’t help but take a sneaky peek every time FHM bring out their annual “100 Sexiest women” list.

Bloggers aren’t above using the list formula either with product reviews and lists of top 20 / 50 apps etc. In fact, bloggers like lists so much – they even create lists of other bloggers.

I liked this tongue in cheek blog post from Social Collective which suggests the Top 13 ½ Buttons of all-time.

But no aspect of the media loves a list more than national newspapers.

A top 50 / 100 list can create page-lead – or even double-page spread opportunities for PRs looking to build brand awareness.

One of the reasons newspapers love lists is because, on a quiet news day, they provide an opportunity for editors to fill pages by using pictures to illustrate survey findings.

Here are a couple of examples of recent list-based news stories:

Sir David Attenborough heads lists of most honoured by Britain’s universities

Top 50 Most Common Lies

Top 50 Coolest Things on the Planet

So what is our fascination with lists?

A list is presented in bullet form so it’s easy to digest. Readers don’t need to trawl though reams of text – the information is there for them to sift through.

I think we like lists because we often don’t agree with the order they’re in – or we feel someone or something else should have made the top spot.

Everyone has an opinion when it comes to a list. Lists provide talk-value – they provoke a reaction which results in debate and conversation.

Written by Harriet

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We had great success with our ‘Office Census’ survey for Mars Drinks with coverage in the Telegraph, Mail and Express plus lots online and regionally. We do very well out of OnePoll surveys, the last release achieved 180 pieces of coverage with pieces in the Sun and Star and tonnes of regional papers.

Tangerine PR

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