The Mystery of the Inverted Pyramid

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  • February 16, 2016
journalism inverted

More people are writing content without experience and knowledge on what’s effective, but different methods will apply to different types of content. For anyone with a journalistic background, the ‘inverted pyramid’ will come to mind when writing content for news stories and press releases.

The method of the ‘inverted pyramid’ is a way journalists write content to illustrate how content should be prioritised. It’s commonly used in news stories and more importantly, it works well.

You begin your writing with the conclusion, this is usually two sentences that sum up the story and includes the what, when and where.

The purpose of this is to grab the attention of the audience almost immediately, allowing them to quickly read the first couple of sentences, and then skimming the rest for less important information.

By using an inverted pyramid, you’re more likely to keep your audience reading. Most people now days are more impatient and don’t want to read through an entire article to see if it’s interesting. By having a conclusion first, the audience can very quickly decide if the article would be of interest to them or not.

How to write in the inverted pyramid style

Always start with a concise overview of the story. Include the what, when and where. This also quickly gets your most important keywords in for audiences to identify the story and for search engines to identify your keywords.

After your conclusion, make sure each paragraph you write is limited to just one main point or idea per paragraph; this allows the story to flow better for the reader. Make sure each paragraph starts with the main point/ conclusion and then go on to discuss this in more detail, this will enable the reader to skim an article and see certain keywords that catch their interest.

End your article with information that is related to the article but not as important to the reader, this could be background information.

For example:

The inverted pyramid was developed more than a century ago, and invention that was first sparked by the telegraph. Although it’s still controversial whether it works or not, it’s widely used for reporting news with many writers agreeing on how effective it is and whether or not it’s outdated.

Are you a fan or a critic of the inverted pyramid? Let us know your opinion.

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