My 11 Top Tips For Writing A List Of Top Tips

  1. Make the first tip short.
  2. Make the second tip longer, with a few polysyllables and a subordinate clause, perhaps even a second sentence. This will create a sense of development and give readers the impression that your tips are carefully thought through.
  3. Then chillax with some slang and an exclamation mark, to show that tips are fun!
  4. “Base one tip on a dubious quote from someone like Einstein or Gandhi,” as Shakespeare said.
  5. Paradoxically, if you begin a tip by suggesting it’s going to be complicated, you can get readers to swallow any old tripe as they won’t want to think they’re stupid for not getting it.
  6. Tips that contain statistics make readers 74% less likely to think you’re just making it up.
  7. Are you a person? A question to which the answer is yes will keep readers feeling involved.
  8. “It’s all about having the right attitude” is a must for any list of tips, because the right attitude is a focus on attitude rather than ability. Nobody with ability will be reading.
  9. Social media bring new opportunities but also new obligations. So you can safely follow a zeitgeisty mock-profundity with a non sequitur.
  10. Everybody will skim over the penultimate tip, so you can say anything you like and I’m not wearing any pants.
  11. Ten is a suspiciously round number, so adding an eleventh tip will stop you looking like you’re a cynical self-publicist who’s just dashed off a gimmicky list of worthless drivel.
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  • nigelgrantNigel Grant  On September 10, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Excellent, Tom.

    Three more:

    Tell people that whatever you’re recommending is easy; remember to use “just”.

    Don’t forget to use the irritating “Don’t forget” formula.

    Include a language glitch such as a non sequitur; most marketing drivel seems to.

    • Tom Freeman  On September 10, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      “Don’t forget” – of course! Unfortunately, I did.


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