August 19, 2017

Bucket list

Three steps for putting your information in order

So you’ve chosen your organizing scheme. Here are some tips for pulling your story together.

Bucket list

Drop in the bucket Organize your notes into buckets of information. Image by Chris Bird

1. Put your info in buckets.

As you gather and organize information, think of your material as “buckets” of like information. Depending on the scope of the project, your buckets might be physical file folders, files on my laptop, Word documents, even bookmarked sections within a Word doc.

For a marketing brochure, for instance, you might have buckets on how the product helps customers:

  • Save money
  • Make money
  • Save time

Each bucket becomes its own section in the body of the piece.

2. Write a ‘lead’ for each bucket.

Master writers craft mini feature structures for each section, giving each section its own “lead.”

3. Label your buckets.

Your reader should be able to see at a glance how your piece is organized. To show them, place a meaningful subhead before:

That will make your thinking visual and your structure clear.

  • Go Beyond the Inverted Pyramid

    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 Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017 imageAt Catch Your Readers — a two-day Master Class on Nov. 16-17 in Kansas City — 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 Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017

    Browse all upcoming Master Classes.

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

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