Master a writing structure that outperforms the traditional news format
Here’s the good news: You already know a structure that works for virtually everything you write. I’ll give you a hint. It doesn’t look like this:
That’s the inverted pyramid — the hierarchical blurtation of facts that starts with the most important element and moves to the least.
Many of us learned early on that the inverted pyramid was the only way to organize information. Because of that, most communicators are so committed to the inverted pyramid that we married it in college, have sustained a monogamous relationship with it over the years and have made lots of babies with it.
Friends, it’s time to start flirting around with another structure.
Today, more than 25 years of research tells us that while the inverted pyramid worked beautifully for distributing information over a telegraph wire, it does not work so well with a little subset of your audience known as humans. For years, reporters and others have said:
“We write in the inverted pyramid,
because readers cut us off after the first paragraph.”
But in new research, readers say:
“We cut you off after the first paragraph,
because you write in the inverted pyramid.”
So if the pyramid doesn’t work, what does?