December 18, 2017

One to remember

Features ‘cement main points into readers’ memories’

The feature-style story structure — aka the “stack of blocks” — is more memorable than the traditional news structure.

One to remember

Tie a string around my finger Help readers remember your message with the feature-style story structure. Image by Flood G.

“While the inverted pyramid is the worst form for readers, the ‘stack of blocks’ is the best in terms of reader comprehension,” writes Don Fry, an independent writing coach who represents The Poynter Institute.

“The stack has three parts: beginning, middle, and end. The middle contains the information grouped by subject matter into parts arranged in logical order. The beginning predicts the middle in form and content, and the ending cements the main points into the readers’ memories.”

Emmy award-winning journalist Tim Knight goes a step further in a 2015 rant, “Screw the Inverted Pyramid.” The inverted pyramid, he writes, is “cleverly designed to prevent the viewer from retaining information.”

Want them to remember? Think features, not pyramids.

  • Hook ’Em With a Savvy Structure

    Our old friend the inverted pyramid hasn’t fared well in recent research.

    According to new studies by such think tanks as The Readership Institute and The Poynter Institute, inverted pyramids: 1) Reduce readership and understanding; 2) Fail to make readers care about the information; and 3) Don’t draw readers across the jump. In short, researchers say, inverted pyramids “do not work well with readers.”

    Catch Your Readers - Ann Wylie's persuasive-writing workshop in Denver on May 1-2, 2018At Catch Your Readers — a two-day Master Class on May 1-2, 2018 in Denver — you’ll learn a structure that can increase readership, understanding and satisfaction with your message. Specifically, you’ll learn:

    • How to organize your message to grab readers’ attention, keep it for the long haul and leave a lasting impression.
    • Three elements of a great lead — and five leads to avoid.
    • How to stop bewildering your readers by leaving out an essential paragraph. (Many communicators forget it).
    • Five ways to avoid the “muddle in the middle.”
    • A three-step test for ending with a bang.

    Learn more about the Master Class.

    Register for Catch Your Readers - Ann Wylie's persuasive-writing workshop in Denver on May 1-2, 2018

    Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

    Would you like to hold an in-house Catch Your Readers workshop? Contact Ann directly.

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