B2B content creators need to get inside the mind of this offbeat data journalist

October 5th, 2016

Mona Chalabi has a mission. Her goal is to make sense of statistics. Or, as she puts it: “I’m trying to take the numb out of numbers”.

Chalabi is a journalist and presenter who works as data editor for Guardian US. She is also extremely imaginative. Armed with some felt tip pens and her insight she can turn boring stats into compelling graphics.

Take her analysis of a report by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. In among the numbers, she noticed that the number of nose jobs rose sharply in the Nineties but has dropped in the last 15 years.


“Peak beak seems to have passed,” she observed on Instagram and posted this brilliant graph illustrating the fact.

She is similarly effective when it comes to sharing data on skateboarding injuries and nose picking (the latter skilfully extracted from the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry).screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-11-03-45screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-11-02-06The graphic representation of male circumcision rates brings dry World Health Organization statistics to life with her special combination of humour and simplicity.


Content needs to work harder

B2B content marketers should be knocking at the door of people like Chalabi.

Chalabi’s graphs are not just clever, they are effective. They get the information across quickly and with impact. They are engaging and memorable. And they do their job quickly – saving that most precious of commodities, time.

Chalabi is a great example of the new generation of content creators that are emerging. They are not straight journalists, or statisticians, or designers. They have skills that cross all these disciplines and can bring them to bear on a wide range of topics.

The felt tip style will not be suitable for all audiences, but the goal of communicating important information in the most engaging way is something that all B2B content marketers share.

I recently wrote about how this CV of the Yahoo CEO shows a different way to mix up text and graphic elements. We need to embrace these more engaging ways to communicate with our time-strapped audiences. The infographic can be an effective tool but the same sort of generic data illustration is being seen so frequently that it is losing its impact. And if it’s stuck among pages of solid text it may never be discovered.

Content marketers often tell their clients about the importance of audience, how listening to them and focusing on their needs is key.

These audiences, if asked, would say the same thing: ‘give me quality over quantity and save me time’. The Mona Chalabis of this world are going to be busy…

Miles Kendall, Content Strategist, Content Cloud, Progressive Content

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