The Inverted Pyramid

The Inverted Pyramid is a simple idea: put the most important pieces of your article at the top, and catch your reader’s attention immediately.

A traditional tool of news journalism, the Inverted Pyramid consists of two fundamental parts:

1. The lead, or introduction, which quickly provides the key details of a story and answers any immediate questions the reader may have (essentially a summary)

2. The body, which provides more detailed information, with less pertinent information flowing into the end…

Note that there really isn’t a conclusion; the story simply trails off into less and less relevant information until you reach “the end.” You can see a more detailed illustration of this format below:

The Inverted Pyramid

In short, the Inverted Pyramid is good for news. It’s good for blogging and Internet marketing. And since readers these days tend to scan and not read, crafting an attention-grabbing headline and lead is invaluable.

Tackling the Inverted Pyramid

Today’s readers, as they browse newspapers or websites, tend to be interested only in learning the immediate facts of a story.¬†They scan to see if they’re interested in an article. If not, they move on to whatever does catch their attention.

The lead (or lede, if you want to roll old-school) ensures that the reader is given the most important information first. After the lead, the body will contain relevant details, and as the article progresses, these details will become less and less important. Near the end of the article, most of what you find can be considered fluff.

The Inverted Pyramid is not always appropriate, of course, as its primary function is to relay information quickly. However, due to the fact that many readers do scan content, it’s a good method to utilize if you have an important message to convey.