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Inverted Pyramid: How To Structure Your Articles Online

inverted pyramid
Updated: | Content Creation vincent d'eletto wordagents ceo Vincent D'Eletto

You know just how powerful a well-written article can be as a marketer. Your content writing strategy is watertight, and you know all about the importance of writing for your audience.

If you want to keep your audience hooked on your every word, you need to use the Inverted Pyramid structure. 

Writing with the Inverted Pyramid structure will revolutionize your online articles — making sure your readers don't get sidetracked by fluff.

What Is Inverted Pyramid Structure?

The Inverted Pyramid structure is a popular writing technique used in journalism thought to have been inspired by the telegraph.

When transmitting media information over the telegraph, it made sense for journalists to use the Inverted Pyramid to make sure the most crucial details were shared first. 

This structure typically focuses on providing readers with the most important information first. This writing style in journalism is often referred to as "front-loading," as you put the most critical information front and center of your news story.

The notion is simple: start with the story's main point, then add additional context later.

The Inverted Pyramid structure consists of three key elements:

  • The Lead
  • The Body
  • The Tail

The Lead

First, you have the lead (or lede, as it is sometimes called.) This section refers to the essential information in the story — the who, what, where, when, why, and/or how. 

Typically, the lead paragraph will include a "hook" to grab the reader's attention, compelling them to keep reading. Overall, this section should be approximately 30 words in a short paragraph or two.

The Body

Next up, we have the body.

This layer of the Inverted Pyramid structure builds upon the lead by providing additional information. 

The information shared in the body of your article can be done in various ways. For example, you could share details through story-telling or by providing evidence, arguments, details, or background information.

The information shared in this part of the article makes up the main story. You can provide additional context to your story by including various source materials such as quotes, media files, or opinions.

The Tail

Finally, there is the tail. 

The tail closes out the article by offering some final food for thought. This part of the story may include details of where related information can be found if the reader wants to continue their research into the topic discussed.

The tail might include additional reading materials, links to data, or — as often done in quality content writing — a kicker to end your story on an impactful note. This kicker could be an emotional message, a funny analogy, a snappy metaphor, or an impactful question —- anything that gets your reader wanting more.

As the name suggests, this structure follows the hierarchy of an inverted pyramid whereby the most prominent segment at the top signifies your "lead," followed by the "body" in the middle, and the smallest segment at the bottom is the "tail."

Three Benefits of the Inverted Pyramid Style

While the Inverted Pyramid style may have been invented in the mid-1800s, there is no denying that it's still a powerful writing concept in today's modern age for both journalists and content writers.

Whatever you are writing, be it a long blog article, easy email marketing copy or a quick-witted press release, the benefits of the Inverted Pyramid structure are unmissable.

Appeal to short attention spans

Attention spans are short. With the average attention span believed to last less than 8 seconds, it's no surprise that people will leave a web page in 10 - 20 seconds if they aren't given a clear value proposition.

The Inverted Pyramid structure lets you communicate the value of your article within the first few sentences. Readers can then quickly determine whether they want to keep reading.

If they decide to keep reading, the body and tail of the Inverted Pyramid work their magic to maintain your audience's attention. This simple writing structure also makes it easier to skim long-form articles — which is crucial for short attention spans.

Benefits SEO

Front-loading your article with the most important information can benefit your SEO. This is because the most important information will often be synonymous with relevant keywords that are valuable for SEO.

Not only will your article hook your readers' attention, but it could also amplify your organic visibility in search engine results. And we all know what that means:

Increased organic visibility means getting even more visitors to your blog post, which could mean greater leads and sales. It's a win-win situation!

Put your readers in the driving seat

The beauty of the Inverted Pyramid writing style is that it gives your readers control. Once they have gained the initial information in the lead, they then have the freedom to keep reading to learn more if they want to.

As the writer, you obviously want them to keep reading. But it's not about what you want. It's about what the reader wants. In a world of scrolling and 30-second Reels on social media, your readers don't want to be held in suspense until the very end of a 1,500-word article. 

Putting your readers in the driving seat and providing them with choice removes friction. As a result, they're more likely to appreciate the way your brand conveys information. And they'll be more likely to engage with your brand again in the future.

How to Write in the Inverted Pyramid Style 

From blog articles to a sales landing page, press release, or news article, the Inverted Pyramid structure can boost the performance of your content marketing.

Here is our step-by-step, actionable guide to using the Inverted Pyramid style for your next writing project:

  • Start with the conclusion - College may have taught you to build up to the conclusion for academic writing. Meanwhile, the Inverted Pyramid structure tells you to start with it. Get to the point immediately by sharing the main idea first. 
  • Hook readers in - Front-load the key point of your article and then make a clear statement that will hook your readers' attention. This "hook" will be the most crucial part of the article that entices readers to keep reading.
  • Hold attention with context - Once you've got their attention, you need to maintain it. Use the body of the article to provide additional information. This supporting context will hold your readers' attention by allowing them to understand the story on a deeper level.
  • Be concise - Remember to make it easy for your readers to skim the article and pull up essential information. While writing the context of your article, be sure to get to the point quickly by writing in a direct approach. This can be enhanced by using short paragraphs, subheadings, and bulleted lists.
  • Leave some food for thought - Finish the article by providing a summary that reinforces the main takeaways. You can also end with a question or a closing thought that drives impact. Finally, consider providing links to the source data discussed throughout the article or related articles that may be of interest.

Final Thoughts 

Writing in the Inverted Pyramid structure may not come easily to you as a writer. But it will be easier for your readers to understand. 

Whatever you're writing, using the Inverted Pyramid style is a powerful way to easily and quickly deliver value for your readers. Let's not forget that it can also be an equally powerful technique for improving the SEO of your articles.

Tap into your journalism secret power by first leading with the most important detail. Add content next, then end with a "kicker."

What other writing strategies do you use? Let us know in the comments!

vincent d'eletto wordagents ceo Vincent D'Eletto

Hey, I'm Vin. Founder and CEO of WordAgents.com. I create content that ranks really well on search engines for our clients. I'm also deeply involved with the SEO community; maintaining a portfolio of successful, profitable affiliate websites. You can find me playing guitar, drinking scotch, and hanging out with my German Shorthaired Pointer when I'm not working!


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