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Put an Annual List at the Top of Your List
By: Jeannine Wheeler
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If you’re looking for a way to stay relevant, increase social share, and gain website visits, why not publish a list, much like the Social Security Administration does every year when it names the country’s most popular baby names?

Noah and Emma, by the way, followed by a few newcomers to the ‘Top 10 Baby Names List 2014,’ including James and Charlotte.

Publishing a much-anticipated annual list is a great way to gain or keep influence, provide you with compelling content, and attract new and returning visitors to your website. Some of the brands that do it best are US News & World Report and Forbes.

In 1983, US News & World Report published its first ‘America's Best Colleges’ report. The rankings have been compiled and published annually since 1985 and are the most widely quoted of their kind in the United States.

US News says its 2014 colleges report brought 2.6 million unique visitors and 18.9 million page views to usnews.com in one day, with traffic coming from more than 3,000 sites, including Facebook and Google.

Forbes is now the master of the annual list, with some of the most popular being its ‘400 Richest Americans’ (Bill Gates) ‘World’s Most Powerful People’ (Vladimir Putin)  and ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’ (salesforce.com).

If you’re an industry association or watchdog, publishing a list that caters to your audience is an excellent way to stay relevant. The National Retail Federation, for example, publishes its annual list of ‘Top 100 Retailers’ (Wal-Mart), allowing its spokespeople to remark on industry trends and retail markers.

Whether it’s a list of baby names, universities, or the rich and powerful, an annual list can prove a valuable PR tool for interacting with stakeholders, the media, and the public.

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About the Author
Jeannine Wheeler is a PR Director who has worked in three countries, including Russia, the US and the UK. She is currently Sr. Vice President of Pure Energy PR, a full-service boutique communications firm with a focus on the energy, healthcare, technology, construction, real estate & land development, tourism & hospitality and food & beverage industries. Jeannine is in the firm's Austin, Texas office.
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