Let the countdown to a New Year begin. But let’s be honest. A lot of that counting down is going to involve lists as the month of December ends.
You know the drill. “The Top Headlines of 2014” (couldn’t you write that one yourself?); “Ten Ways to Improve Your Life” (tip for the list-fatigued: stop reading lists); “The Best Five Books Nobody Read in 2014” (pardon me, but list readers and book readers are two different cohorts entirely); and the ubiquitous “Ten Surefire Weight Loss Tips for the New Year” (my own list has only two: 1). stop eating so much and 2). get your butt up off the couch — and they’re as “surefire” as it gets!)
Be wary. This time of year it’s common for news outlets and media publications to run retrospective pieces on the rapidly passing year.
Here at NativeMobile, we’re not entirely cynical, we just have our ear to the groundswell of marketing machinating for attention. Not to mention what our contacts tell us. In fact, Brad Jeffries, an independent social media marketing consultant, tells NativeMobile that his client roster — ranging from fragrance lines to pet toy makers — are all looking to publish “lists” for the new year that, in at least one entry on said list, is sheer promotion for its product.
Can you say “Seven ways advertisers create lists to get you to click on their link?”
“A lot of these lists are slapped together so haphazardly that they really have no reputable research or expert opinion backing them up” Jeffries tells us. “They’re well disguised marketing campaigns. Some are just better disguised than others.”
What can you do to determine if a list you think is intriguing is more bamboozle than information bounty? Check out the byline and peruse the text for hyperlinks or product and service plugs. If it’s written by an actual journalist, doesn’t come with a “sponsored tag,” and doesn’t elevate any one product or brand above another, it may be a sincere list.
Consider this our contribution to the impending list frenzy. You can call it “Three Foolproof Ways to Avoid Being Hoodwinked by Less than Legitimate Lists.”
Happy New Year!