Are you using a 150-year-old story format?
At about the time this Union soldier marched off to war, journalists invented the traditional news structure that you use every day.
Let’s pause and ponder that for a minute.
You know the inverted pyramid — that hierarchical blurtation of facts that starts with the most important element and moves to the least.
It’s often paired with the fact pack, where you stuff who, what, when, where, why and how into the first paragraph. (I always wondered, if you cover all the W’s in the lead, what’s left for the second paragraph?)
But where did this thing come from?
It’s time to find a better way
Writers say, “We use the inverted pyramid because readers stop reading after the first paragraph.”
But 25 years of research shows that readers say, “We stop reading after the first paragraph because you use the inverted pyramid.”
Researchers for The Poynter Institute, the Readership Institute and The American Society of News Editors agree: The inverted pyramid doesn’t work with humans. Even the Associated Press has announced that it is now sending out feature leads with each of its news stories.
The good news is, there is a story structure that increases readership and improves brand perception. And you can master that more effective structure at Catch Your Readers — a two-day writing Master Class on June 28-29 in San Diego.
There, you’ll learn three elements of a great lead (and five leads to avoid), how to avoid the “muddle in the middle,” and a three-step test for ending with a bang.
You can save $100 with our early bird discounts, but only if you act by May 28. Don’t miss out. Register now.
Learn to Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more