Stuff I Learned While Running @lamag's Listapp That May Help Other Publishers

My boss @MaryMeltonLA and I met with @bjnovak & @Nicholas awhile back and we were really flattered they knew/liked LA Mag. I decided to dedicate the subsequent 19 weeks to cracking the Listapp code. I haven't (yet), but we do have 600+ followers & I'm happy about that. Here are a few things I learned:
  1. To see results, you need to treat it like the gym and do it 5 days a week.
    I admit I got a little competitive and did a list every day. I was psyched to see sites like Eater--who had an instant following that we didn't have-- neglect their accounts. Nothing against them, but it helped LAmag to keep cranking.
  2. People can tell when you cut and paste from your website--and it's not good.
    It's a different, contained universe. Any lists adapted from articles were rewritten to 2-3 lines. In the beginning I tried to slap on website text = too long and fell flat.
  3. "Best of" lists blend in too quickly.
    People responded more when list headings were specific. The exception was "Best of L.A. The Practical Stuff" because it was valuable service info.
  4. Ditto lists with headlines and a link.
    List app is a walled garden. It's easier to give story headlines and link out, but I don't think people actually click on the links. It's on their phone so they just skim and skip it. That's my theory.
  5. Food/Drink recommendations did well, but L.A. History/Civic stuff did even better.
    Still surprised that "8 Other Things Straight Outta Compton" is our most popular list (judging by # of likes). Really cool because I thought people would mainly want dinner recommendations.
  6. Lists take longer than tweets/any other social media. Some take longer than actual blog posts.
    Minimum 30 minutes to ensure accuracy, spelling, basic copy editing. People here are smart and won't abide typos!
  7. I followed people who engaged with @LAmag and liked/commented on their stuff.
    Some brands may only follow 7 people to be cool, but I notice @wikiHow @mentalfloss and @scoutregalia engage like LAmag does. I think it makes a difference to not be stingy-ass. Plus @sophia told us to be generous with our likes!
  8. The Listapp is a meritocracy.
    I've noticed the team gives huge support by featuring lists, so smaller fries like LAmag can be on equal playing field w/big entities like NYT. Much appreciated.
  9. There are a lot of damn good writers on here.
    And really generous with your creativity. Thank you. 💯