How many times do you stare at your computer screen or a blank page in your notebook trying to decide how to structure a blog post or leadership article? Maybe you’ve written the copy, but it doesn’t seem to flow properly.
You can’t force creativity, sometimes you’re just not feeling it. But that doesn’t help when you HAVE to write something. So the next time you're struggling with what information to include, and where, here is a simple tip that may help. Try using the Inverted Pyramid method.
What exactly is the inverted pyramid?
The inverted pyramid is a simple concept that’s used by journalists and copywriters and makes life a lot easier when writing copy.
Think about how often you’ve started reading content but given up before you get to the important information, because it’s buried down the page amongst a load of waffle? The idea of the inverted pyramid is to present the critical information (some say the conclusion) first and then back this up with additional information as the copy expands.
This style supports the different types of readers, from scanners and browsers to the in-depth reader who wants to know everything. If you get it right, the person should be able to stop reading your copy at any point and still understand what your main message is.
How does the inverted pyramid work?
Using the inverted pyramid tactic to write a blog or article helps you to think about what you’re writing and the structure.
What are you writing about? What can you say to help people understand what the content is about, and encourage them to read further?
The inverted pyramid is based on 3 simple stages:
1. Start with the lead - this is where you include the most important information first. People are busy and don’t always read the whole of your copy. So put your critical information (need to know) in the opening paragraph, sometimes called the lead. This is normally the who, what, where, when, and how of your copy.
If people prefer to skim a blog or article or don’t’ have time to read it in full, they’ll find a summary of the information they need here. It will also encourage others to read further as they’ll see the value of your content in the opening section.
2. The body – this is where you expand on the most important information from your opening section with additional details and facts. These could be statistics, case studies, or data that supports your opening lead and helps your reader to understand your story further.
As with any online content, the copy needs to be easy to read so if relevant include subheadings, bullet points, images, diagrams or quotes, etc to break the copy up. This will help people who skim content to understand what your main points are, especially if you include your relevant keywords and phrases in the copy, your headings and subheadings.
Apply the same inverted pyramid structure to the body stage. Start each paragraph with the main point in the opening sentence(s) and then go on to expand on your point. Try to keep to one main topic per paragraph or section.
3. The tail - this is where you can include additional, but not necessary or important information. This could be helpful information that adds value to your previous sections, links to other content, and include a review of the topic to help the reader understand the key points.
What are the benefits of using the inverted pyramid?
You can apply the inverted pyramid to both long and short forms of copy and not just in blogs and articles. Case studies, news stories, even social media posts and emails can be written using this method.
There are of course critics of this technique, particularly those who don’t like this reverse method of storytelling, however, from a B2B copywriting point of view, this style offers many benefits. Here are just a few:
You give the reader a choice, they can scroll down and read the full content if they want to, or just scan for the key takeaways.
It helps you to structure your content. This eliminates the problem of key points being lost amongst unnecessary information and helps to set the stage for what follows as the reader scrolls down the page.
Frontloading your copy means you can put your important information and keywords at the beginning of your content which is great for SEO copywriting.
It helps you to build to a CTA. If your goal is to get the reader to do something you can lead them to the CTA. It may be to buy a product via an email campaign, sign up to a webinar from a social media post or download a brochure from a blog. Structuring your email, post, or blog using the inverted pyramid style is an ideal way to build up to your CTA.
A clear way to present your information
There are some types of copy that don’t suit this structure such as whitepapers, technical articles, and of course, novels, but in general, you can apply the inverted pyramid to most forms of marketing copy.
When you write content you want to deliver a message succinctly and effectively. The inverted pyramid can help you to structure your content so that it follows a natural flow and appeals to all types of readers.
Using this style will help you to cut out any unnecessary copy and keep your content precise, informative and engaging.
If you're struggling with your content, get in touch. I can research and write unique, relevant and engaging copy that can make your business stand out and reach new customers