Can you picture a sports car?

How about a red sports car?

With that little, colorful adjective, the image becomes much more vivid. It catches your attention in a way that a generalized statement did not.

It’s the same with “Top 5” or “Top 10” lists, which were everywhere we turned as 2010 drew to a close (year-end reviews of this, that and every other thing). Compilations along those lines should be in decent abundance as 2011 gets rolling here, too, as we learn how to get smarter, thinner, wealthier, safer and savvier.

So if you’re in the attention-getting business and are thinking about developing a “Top” list, remember the lesson of the red sports car. Be different, be flashy, be memorable–or risk winding up in someone’s “Top 10 List of Hum-Drum Top 10 Lists.”

Anyone can come up with a “Top 10 Weight Loss Tips.” Be someone who goes the extra half-ounce, steps out on an edgy ledge and offers counsel on “10 Steps to Quit Being A Fat American.”

My favorite recent “red sports car” example is from Dave Ramsey’s financial e-newsletter: “11 Ways to Be Weird in 2011.”

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