Online content is a fundamental aspect of any e-commerce business, so making sure it is attractive and engaging is vital. The inverted pyramid writing style flips traditional writing structure on its head—literally—and actually places the conclusion at the start of the text. This informs readers on the point of the article right off the bat and hopefully keeps them engaged as a result. This format is quite beneficial in certain writing venues, especially internet outlets, to keep things concise and straight to the point.
ADVANTAGES OF THE INVERTED PYRAMID
The inverted pyramid is also sometimes referred to as front-loading, with the most important and informative content placed at the top of the hierarchy. This format is particularly appealing to those who prefer to skim-read, as it provides them with the premise of the piece immediately. Placing the most important content at the beginning of an article can also keep readers engaged, and makes it more likely that they will finish the text. Being too vague at the start of an article is enough to generate boredom in many readers, forcing them to search elsewhere for something more to the point. Front-loading an article is a superb way to get them past the first paragraph. Moreover, front-loading each paragraph is a great way to keep them going until the end.
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PERFECT FOR JOURNALISM AND MARKETING
Front-loading is a game changer when it comes to specific writing styles, such as news and marketing content. Placing a key event at the beginning of an article instantly informs the reader about the quality and purpose of a product or the date and time of an important event, meaning it doesn’t matter too much, if they don’t dedicate time to the rest of the piece.
WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS
Research has shown that many internet users don’t properly read and digest text. Instead, they skim-read. It’s been found that study participants were attracted to summaries within texts and the inverted pyramid style as a whole. Users preferred to receive the conclusion upfront to save time and to ascertain the desired information faster. This allows them to determine what the article is about first, before proceeding deeper into the text. Further research has stated that the inverted pyramid style of writing emerged from a professional effort to strengthen the communicative quality of news and information. The study above goes to show how effective this idea is in practice.
EXAMPLES OF FRONT-LOADING
You won’t find front-loading used very often in your favourite novels or non-fiction books. Such pieces gradually build up to a cliffhanger or summary at the end. The most common place to find examples of the inverted pyramid are websites and newspapers. Head to your favourite news site and click on an article of interest. Chances are, you will notice that the writer has condensed all of the key information at the start of the article. The first few sentences will be loaded with context and straight to the point regarding the purpose of the article. As you scroll further down the page, especially toward the bottom, you will perhaps notice more specific yet less impactful and informative text.
HOW TO WRITE WITH THE INVERTED PYRAMID
If the research has convinced you, and you believe your writing could benefit from the inverted pyramid, then it’s time to give it a whirl. There are several things you can do to help structure an article this way, making your work more striking and attractive to the average internet user.
1: IDENTIFY THE CENTRAL THEME
You know the shape of the inverted pyramid, but what sits where in the hierarchy? To find out the answer, you need to identify the central theme of the article. What’s the most important aspect? WHAT happened during an event may be more informative than WHERE it happened and even WHY it happened. Place the juicy and exciting information at the very top of the inverted pyramid. If your piece features numerous central points, then create a summary and use this as the start of your text.
2: PRIORITISE INFORMATION
If the article in question contains too much important information to cram into the first paragraph, then attempt to prioritise the information with the inverted pyramid style. Place the most vital information the reader simply can’t miss within the first paragraph, then begin each succeeding paragraph with important information in descending order, ending with the least important content. This will allow a text to communicate as much essential information as possible before the reader chooses to abandon ship halfway through.
3: USE SUBHEADINGS
The order of paragraphs is important, and so are the subheadings that separate them. Subheadings help with the flow of an article and even serve as navigation tools. Remember, many articles that use the inverted pyramid are often aimed at readers who will skim through the text. Subheadings enable these readers to delve into certain parts of the content with ease.
4: AIM FOR FLOW
Large, blocky text doesn’t suit the inverted pyramid style well. Front-loading aims to boost the communication of key points in a simple format. Write each paragraph with one key point in mind and try not to saturate them with too much information. Allow the key point of one paragraph to flow and connect with the key point of the next, keeping each one brief yet informative. This will enhance the flow and readability of the article. More white space on the page (space between sentences and paragraphs) ultimately leads to a more easily digestible text.
DISCOVER WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
For some businesses and brands, the inverted pyramid is an ideal solution to presenting more complex information to everyday consumers. Other enterprises may find that their content benefits from a multipronged strategy in which front-loaded content is interspersed with content following a more classic structure. In any case, it’s clear that the inverted pyramid has produced some impressive results across industries, and it just might benefit your own venture if you give it a shot.