Jordan Ogren

November 15, 2021

Why marketers ruined the Top X list content play.

Marketers (i.e., Growth Hackers, SEO Wizards, and Ninjas) ruin everything. 

Let me be clear: I do not believe marketers desire to ruin things.

It happens through osmosis. As marketers try to exploit the "next thing," they inevitably ruin it.

Some examples?
  • Overproduction of content has made quality content rare
  • Social media has become a cesspool of promotion and surface-level engagement
  • Marketers overproducing podcasts resulting in a sea of shitty shows

One new area they've destroyed is award lists (i.e., Top X lists).

I'm guessing they've been chipping away at this for a while. But it only recently came to my attention.

I read a newsletter by Kevan Lee (VP of Marketing @ Oyster) when he suggested the new trend of award lists was a good thing:
"The playbook is powerful — You create a list of companies or influencers that fit a trend that's important to your target personas, then you promote the list and encourage the people and companies on the list to promote it as well." — Kevan Lee.

I believe the premise is worthy. But the execution is where I disagree.

I think a better way to execute this "playbook" is to have actionable and thoughtful insights from experts or companies rather than a meaningless list.

Kevan believes this award list trend is "a modern version of the 'Hear what these 15 experts think about X.'" This is where I violently shake my head.

Top 20 Marketers under 20 and 7 Expert takes on Web 3.0 are two different content plays.

One is about celebration. The other is about education.

One isn't better than the other. One just takes more time. 

Compiling a list of people/companies is quick and easy. But, getting fresh insights on a topic from experts is a different beast.

And that is why–through osmosis–marketers have gravitated to Top X Lists, which has destroyed the list's validity.

I don't trust any Top X list. It's bullshit. The creator of the list is trying to steal the attention of the audience for the person or company on the list.

Marketeer Insights ⚔️
  • When all marketers do X (Top X Lists), please do Y (Write a book with expert insights)
  • Rather than taking a "playbook" and using it, be intentional with taking bits and pieces of the "playbook" that fit your marketing (No one shoe fits everyone's feet)
  • Look in the mirror and see what you–as a marketer–are ruining and stop ruining that thing

Do you think marketers have ruined the trustworthiness of Top X Lists?

🧠 + ❤️ // JO