A close cousin to the listicle, a charticle is exactly what it sounds like: an article presented in chart form. This type of content is ideal when presenting information that compares and contrasts or is repetitive. It’s super scannable, too, making it great for social media and inclusion in larger pieces, such as white papers and e-books. 

Here are the steps to writing a charticle. 


1. Ask yourself: Can this info be a chart? 

Charticles are pretty flexible and can be used in many different areas of communication, from internal comms to external ad campaigns and to present serious facts or lighthearted messaging. 

But not every topic lends itself to a chart. Charts automatically position concepts as comparisons, so be sure to select information that can be compared and contrasted in at least a few parallel ways. In other words, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples rather than apples to oranges. Unless, of course, you’re literally comparing apples to oranges, which works because — duh — they’re both fruit. 


2. Figure out your why.

Next, think about the goal of your chart. Is it to inform or educate, like this one looking at the various styles of leadership or this one comparing cost of living around the world? Are you using a chart to position your company as being a more desirable choice than a competitor as Mint Mobile does here? Or perhaps you want to help your customers decide which of your own products is the best fit for them like Lifetime does here

Understanding your why will also help guide you in your word count. Will your chart contain simple X’s and O’s? Or are you writing chunks of copy for several of the cells in the chart?


3. Research and write.

You didn’t think you were going to get away with skipping these steps, did you? The fact is, even simple content requires research and sometimes interviews with subject matter experts (SMEs). And while your chart itself may only consist of a few words and checkmarks, you’ll still need to spend time planning, strategizing and researching to ensure it’s accurate and informative. You’ll also want to capitalize on the word count you have around your chart to be impactful. That means writing an introduction and conclusion or call to action that counts. 


4. Link away.

To keep your charticle streamlined, include only necessary info and link to other pieces of your content as appropriate. For example, if your chart is comparing the benefits of certain cosmetic products, perhaps you include the active ingredients in the chart and then link to full ingredient lists — or to more in-depth articles you’ve written about, say, the benefits of tea tree oil in a facial cleanser.


5. Consider design. 

Sure, you can “convert text to table” in just a few clicks and be done, but charts are usually most effective when they’re also visually appealing. Engaging a designer can help make your charticle more legible, digestible and impactful. At the very least, ask for assistance making sure any visuals are appropriate and colors are on brand.


Charticle writing checklist 

Well-planned charticles are informative and engaging. Follow these steps to put together a successful charticle:

  • Choose a topic that naturally lends itself to comparisons.
  • Determine the goal of your chart. 
  • Decide how many items will comprise your list.
  • Plan and research your topic. 
  • Write a strong introduction and call to action. 
  • Link to more in-depth content on your site. 
  • Engage a designer to make your chart visually appealing.