Last time I blogged about making time as opposed to finding time. Time is a constant for all of us. Wouldn’t it be nice to write more effectively in a shorter amount of time?
Well, you can. If you’re a journalism grad, you know this already though you may not have realized how important it is in the real world. If you didn’t go to journalism school, you may be struggling to write salable content.
Here’s one way that will help you as soon as you put it into practice.
Use the Pyramid Style of Writing.
I greatly admired the late Gary Provost, an excellent writer and teacher. Mr. Provost advocated the Pyramid Style. Newspapers once used this method exclusively. Now, you can find articles in newspapers that don’t adhere to this discipline, and they’re immensely irritating.
Think of a pyramid. The base is broad. The top is a point. Now think of any article or blog you write. You’ve got a lot of information to impart, but of all that information, what is the most important part? What is it that readers want to know and want to know immediately? That focused data is the point of the pyramid. The rest of everything you write is filling in and building until you have finished the broad base.
Pyramids don’t rest on the point. They rest on the base. The point is what you see first. That’s how effective writing should be. The point of the article pyramid is the most important information, and it should be in the first paragraph.
Who, what, when, where, and why.
That’s what’s important. That’s what readers want to know. That’s what should be in paragraph 1. Then you use the rest of your research to fill in the supporting information in subsequent paragraphs.
One reason this pyramid style was prevalent in newspapers was because if a writer turned in 9 inches of copy but there was only space for 8 then the editor whacked an inch off the bottom. Oops. If the pertinent info was at the end, it got chopped.
Now we have computers where copy can be edited quickly, but the pyramid style will help you organize your thoughts and your supporting data. If you know what goes into paragraph 1, it’s a lot easier to write the other paragraphs that give the support info and all the details.
Readers want this style of construction. Remember I mentioned being irritated by some newspaper articles now? It’s because you have to skim through every paragraph to find the focused info you need. Who has the time for that? When I read something like that on a web page or blog, I just keep surfing. It’s tedious.
Actually, SEO writing grew out of the pyramid style. Putting those keywords and key phrases in the first couple of sentences conforms to pyramid style.
Use pyramid style for short articles, reports, blogs, anything you write where you want to organize your thoughts quickly and write fast and clearly.
Even though Internet writing and print writing are different in some respects, both benefit from good writing techniques.