It’s that time of year when everyone makes a “best of 2013” list. These lists, now called “listicles” for those in the know, are of various lengths and cover a broad range of topics. However for my purpose and audience I thought I’d stay focused on cycling.
Some cycling media outlets beat me to the punch and stated who they thought was the best in certain categories. I’m only assuming that they took a staff meeting where various ideas got pitched and it was whittled down to categories like “best stage racer” or “best geographical region here rider.” From there a straw poll was taken and a winner was chosen on their merits from the 2013 season combined with their availability to do a photo shoot.
Another site let the readers vote for their winner in the category. That takes the pressure off the staff of having to pull the trigger on a favorite and eliminates a time-sucking editorial meeting.
Before I dived in and made my proclamations of who or what was the best new product, rider, news report, race, etc, I figured I’d better do a bit of research. How deep should I go with the list? Top 10? Top 3? Just the number one pick? Do I dive deep into one category and pick the top 100?
A quick perusal of the internets and I discovered that picking one winner in a category was the most popular. One exception to the rule was a magazine whose bulk of their monthly content was Ranking listicles.
Like I said earlier, I needed to do a bit of research on lists. In today’s ever changing world of writing, blogging, journalism, and social media, the art of writing a simple list has changed.
I thought I’d better take a look at the masters of “listicles” – Buzzfeed.com. I checked out the article (listicle), “The 50 Absolute Sexiest Things Ryan Gosling Did In 2013” with the subheading, “A recap of everything Ryan Gosling did in 2013 that could be considered sexy.” You had me at Gosling…
The next listicle from the masters of short form journalism was, “13 Sweaters That Are So Ugly It’s Impressive.” My curiosity was piqued. Impressively ugly sweaters? I’ll bite.
After these, and a few other listicale articles, I think I had an understanding of what the readers wanted.
Just to make sure I was on the right track I thought I’d better get the definitive answer to what a “listicle” really is. Naturally I went to Wikipedia.
According to Wikipedia listicles are, “a short-form of writing that uses a list as its thematic structure, but is fleshed out with sufficient copy to be published as an article. A typical listicle will prominently feature a cardinal number in its title, such as ‘10 Ways to Warm Up Your Bedroom in Winter’, or ‘25 Hairstyles of the Last Hundred Years’, with subsequent subheadings within the text itself reflecting this schema. The word is a portmanteau derived from list and article.”
This I knew – a number ranking with a topic. Seems simple right? Reading further down the Wiki post I discovered there were other types of lists. In addition to the standard Ranking lists where number 1 is considered the best in that category there are Thematic lists which, “imparts no such values, instead presenting the topics in whatever order the writer and/or editor deems appropriate,” and Random lists, which according to Wiki have, “no structure whatsoever; instead, it embraces an eclectic aesthetic, inviting the reader to assemble one’s own conclusions from an array of disparate facts.” What?
Now I’m completely confused. What type of list do I assemble? Several bike media outlets did the usual Ranked list, posting just the winner. However, I want this post to standout from the rest of the white noise that is end of the year lists. I need something different.
My first thought is to stay away from Ranking lists – it’s been done to death. That’s a lot of work tallying wins or making the esoteric choice of what race/ride/gran fondo I thought was most beautiful/epic. Plus, no one hooked me up with an all expense paid boondongle so I have no opinion on if your event was any good. Send me a swag bag, a free entry, and we’ll talk.
So after some thought I’ve decided to list a bunch of things that have good cycling SEO and will get me page views, because in this new age of journalism, that’s all that counts – short listicles for the attention span deficit readers, good SEO to accumulate pageviews, and we’re in business!
So in no particular order or meaning (or feel free to infer your own meaning and numerical order) I present my listicle.
- Tour de France
- Chris Froome
- Lance Armstrong
- Giro d’Italia
- Gran Fondo
- Jonathan Vaughters
- Pat McQuaid
- Top 10 weight loss tips
Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!