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:
- •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.
- •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.
- •"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.
- •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.
- •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.
- •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!
- •I followed people who engaged with @LAmag and liked/commented on their stuff.
- •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.
- •There are a lot of damn good writers on here.And really generous with your creativity. Thank you. 💯