When was the last time you read to the end of an article? Let’s be honest, some of us can’t even spare the seconds to read a whole blog posting or watch an entire YouTube video. Seth Godin describes this attention deficit as driveby culture. We’re all so busy searching for an experience, that we forget to actually get out of the car and savour the moment. These days, large swathes of uninterrupted print seem to be the domain of the intellectually replete. The rest of us must content ourselves with scraps of information known as Charticles and Listicles.
A Charticle is all about the graphics. It’s the appealing images, charts or illustrations that attract your attention in the first place. The accompanying text simply rounds out what you’ve already understood from the pictures. Unlike a classic article, which uses graphics for added visual appeal, or to communicate more information (usually through a graph), the ratio of text to images is inverted in a charticle. Like the graphic novel, the charticle presents a contemporary image and a fresh take on the information it contains.
In the context of B2B communication, a charticle can be a great way to introduce new subject matter. You might drop it into a Newsletter, for example, and it could be the start of a breadcrumb trail to more detailed information, such as Case Studies and Whitepapers, which you introduce once the reader becomes hungry for more knowledge.
A Listicle starts life as a series of bullet points. The author then fleshes it out with a few paragraphs of additional content, so that it qualifies as a mini-article. Listicles are quick to produce, and often contain recycled information presented with a fresh slant. It’s hard to put off writing them. Better a published Listicle than a heavyweight article that’s still just an idea at the back of your mind. These diminutive articles can be a great way to present the key messages that persuade your prospects why you are best equipped to solve their problems.
Listcles can be, 1. Ranked – Top Ten, Seven Most, Six Best – 2. Themed – A grouped listing determined by the author – 3. Random – An unstructured list that leaves the reader to draw conclusions:
1. The Top Ten Most Annoying Things About Listicles
2. Ten Shocking Truths About Listicles
3. Ten Random Thoughts About Listicles
Just like Charticles, Listicles can be great attention-grabbers. Beware of dismissing either of these lightweight articles for their lack of depth. Used effectively, they’re anything but shallow, because not only will they drive your potential customers to more substantial educational content, but they can also be a quick way of demonstrating how you can solve their problems – which, after all, is the very reason you’re in business.