WCB-Alberta talks opioid addiction with the feature structure
I love it when my clients send me their rewrites after I present a writing workshop.
For one thing, it’s gratifying to see that people’s writing actually improves after I visit! For another, these pieces make great case studies in good writing.
Workers Compensation Board-Alberta writer Caren Baroudy did a wonderful job rewriting a blog post during my Catch Your Readers workshop. Notice how her rewrite:
- Focuses the angle on reader benefits. Baroudy moves from event to impact. Her original story angle was WCB’s new opioid claim rollout. The rewrite focused on how employers can help save employees from addiction and overdose by using the board’s new resources.
- Uses the feature structure. This approach has been proven in the lab to be more effective at reaching readers. It also allows writers to plug and play their information into an existing format, saving time and effort.
- Keeps the piece short. The revised piece weighs in at fewer than 200 words — a one-minute read. So you can use the feature structure even when you don’t have a lot of space.
Here’s how she did it, with a great blog-post structure that works every time:
The original lead focused on background — in this case, a history lesson:
There’s a reason the feature structure places the background in the third paragraph, not the first. Background — otherwise known as the blah-blah — doesn’t grab readers’ attention.
Instead, write a lead that hooks the reader with a startling statistic or another concrete, creative, provocative lead. That’s what Baroudy did in her rewrite:
2. Nut graph
Baroudy didn’t include a nut graph in her original news story, because inverted pyramids don’t have nut graphs.
But in her rewrite, she puts the story “into a nutshell” — and shows readers how they’ll benefit from the piece:
The original angle of the body is how the sausage was made. It’s not very interesting to clients whose employees are abusing opioids.
Readers want to know, “What’s in it for me?”
The revised body focuses on the readers’ needs with a list of tips for dealing with the crisis:
There’s nothing wrong with this call to action, but it isn’t very rousing:
In Baroudy’s rewrite, on the other hand, the wrapup is nice, neat and sweet:
Here Baroudy ends with a bang and comes full circle by referring back to statistics in the lead:
How to structure a blog post
Next time you start writing your blog post or social media post, try the feature structure. It’s been proven in the lab to get a lot of people to read your post and share your post. It’s the best writing skill you can use to write successful blog content.
Learn how to write feature stories, do keyword research for search engine optimization and more in our online courses.