In our latest Thursday Thought, we talked about the huge upsurge of the infographic.

Have you heard of another top content type that’s being shared all over the web? List posts. According to an interesting new article from PR Daily, list posts get the second highest amount of social shares after infographics.

So what makes them so popular and so sharable?

First off, your reader knows what’s in store right after scanning the headline. Promise to cover the “Top 10 Solutions” or “15 Best Ways,” and you’ve already provided an incentive to read on. Plus, if you’re on the right track, list posts make ideal content because the info featured is easy to slice and dice and digest.

How can you write an effective, eye-catching list post? Here are a few pointers based on the findings from PR Daily:

  • 10 is the ideal number – In an analysis of 100 million articles, lists with 10 items proved to be the most popular. You might assume that less is more, but the next most popular lists included 23, 16 and 14 items.
  • Place some pictures – As infographics clearly show, visuals are big in processing content. Images and graphs can help break up copy-heavy data and reinforce the main ideas.
  • Make your list easy to scan – Readers should be able to quickly scan the key points on your list and jump to any that interest them. A hint: put numbered items in bold and create enough separation between them.
  • Include an introduction and conclusion – Set the stage for readers by summarizing what’s to come and don’t forget to share a quick wrap-up.
  • Keep it conversational – Make sure your list post is engaging from start to finish. Use a conversational style throughout and work in some interesting observations and questions.

Think about your own reading habits. How often does a list post catch your eye as you’re scanning web content? Just remember that it’s one thing to draw people in, but quite another to keep their attention the whole way through.