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Improve Your Writing Skills Tip #1 - Inverted Pyramid

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Posted 26th October 2008 at 04:30 PM by Michelle Strait

The inverted pyramid style of writing works great for the web. You get to the point of your article right away. The questions who, what, when, where, and why are answered in the first paragraph. This is good because it pulls readers into your article and keeps them there.

Newspapers have used the inverted pyramid for years. Why? Because they have to get the facts in before readers turn to the comics. People who write for online markets deal with a similar situation. Except they have to keep their readers from going to YouTube.

You don’t always have to use the inverted pyramid. It depends on your audience and goals.

Examples (that I totally made-up)

The following paragraph uses the inverted pyramid. It's written by an Amazon affiliate trying to promote a marketing book:

"Dan Dollar’s new book was released last week. It's called Dialing for Dollars, and is a great read. I got a copy from Amazon two days ago and read it in one sitting. Dialing for Dollars is worth a read because it teaches you how to triple your income."

I don't know about you, but that's one book review I'd read. The author provided just enough information to catch my interest.

The next paragraph doesn't use the inverted pyramid.

"I usually enjoy Dan Dollar’s work. His website is cool, too. I read about marketing all the time, and Dollar always has something interesting to say. Dollar’s latest book is pretty good. It's shorter than his last book, but it's fun to read."

I may or may not keep reading. The author didn't give me a reason to go on.

The Inverted Pyramid Helps

You do your readers a favor by putting the essential information first. It allows them to quickly get the point or purpose of what you've written.

So remember, if you want to use the inverted pyramid style, put the meat and potatoes in the first paragraph. But follow-up with more detail.

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