Statistical indexes

Add a ‘Harper’s Index’-style piece

One easy way to add graphic stories to your publication is through a “Harper’s Index”-style statistical list.

All you do is:

  • Gather stats from your organization or industry
  • List them — or hand them over to your designer for a simple layout
  • You can even pull the stats from stories within your publication and use them to promote content

Just make a list

“Harper’s Index” is simple — and delightful. Here are some approaches to steal from the original:

  1. Find fascinating stats. Once, “Harper’s Index” quantified the number of Americans who believed they were more likely to see Elvis Presley alive than campaign finance reform during their lifetimes. (Belief in Elvis, sadly, beat out trust in campaign finance reform.)
  2. Put them in an interesting format. Harper’s has made famous its convention “Number of whatever: XX.”
  3. Lay it out in a simple design. Graphic layouts don’t get much easier than this.

graphic_stat_01

Market your product

Harper’s also uses its popular index format in this renewal letter. How could you use this approach to promote your products and services?

graphic_stat_02

Drive readership

Northern Trust’s Update and Saint Luke’s Report publish indexes with tables of contents. Editors pull statistics from stories; the index drives readers to features to learn more.
How could you use stats from your stories to promote content within the issue?

graphic_stat_04

Make it a feature

Smart Money creates a full-page index with its recurring “Cash Register.” How about a regular one-page index on your back page or inside back cover?

graphic_stat_05

Give readers a nibble

Portland Monthly runs its “PDX Index” in its front-of-the-book “appetizers” section. Try opening your publication with little morsels of savory information — facts and stats, roundups of news items, and bits and pieces of unrelated information, for instance.

graphic_stat_06

  • Write better blog posts, faster

    With fill-in-the-blanks templates and models

    Are you using a structure that’s been proven in the lab to:

    • Attract 300% more readers (Groove HQ)?
    • Get more social media shares (Reuters Institute)?
    • Boost readership, understanding, engagement, interest, satisfaction and more (The Poynter Institute, The Readership Institute, the American Society of News Editors and the Newspaper Association of America)?


    Write better blog posts, faster in Los Angeles

    If not, why not?

    Learn a structure that’s been proven in the lab to grab readers’ attention, pull them through the piece and leave a lasting impression.

    At Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked — our in-house Social media-writing workshop — you’ll learn a structure that’s been to grab readers’ attention, pull them through the piece and leave a lasting impression. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

    • Master the temple structure, a designed-for-the-web story form that grabs reader attention, pulls them through the piece and leaves a lasting impression.
    • Write leads that drag readers into your piece with our 3-step test.
    • Fill in the blanks to the best survey story you’ve ever written, using our easy template.
    • Get a simple template for crafting a tipsheet that almost writes itself.
    • Model the masters to a great case study: It’s easy with our annotated example.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!


Free writing tips
  • Get tips, tricks & trends for Catching Your Readers
  • Learn to write better, easier & faster
  • Discover proven-in-the-lab writing techniques