By Jon Clark, managing partner at Moving Traffic Media, a New York digital agency offering SEO, PPC and Amazon marketing services.
The inverted pyramid has been used for years in journalism to create news stories, and for good reason.
The art of front-loading content (giving the most important information up front) makes this writing style very reader-focused.
This fits in well with search-engine-optimized (SEO) copywriting because, as an art form that delicately balances writing for people and web browsers, copywriting needs to appease both parties.
So, the inverted pyramid style helps a copywriter organize their thoughts in order of diminishing importance, with the least important information concluding the article.
This grabs the reader’s attention from the get-go and makes it easy for web browsers to quickly relate your content with search queries.
So, how do you incorporate this inverted pyramid style into your copywriting?
You need to first understand the inverted pyramid structure and second how to craft your copy in each section. And that’s precisely what I’ll walk you through today.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
The Inverted Pyramid Structure
The inverted pyramid style of writing has three main parts: the lead, body and tail.
1. The Lead: Hook The Reader With Attention-Grabbing Elements
This section is crucial because it determines whether or not your audience will read the rest of your article. So, grabbing readers’ attention from the beginning is the goal.
Use a captivating story or an intriguing concept for this purpose. Then highlight exactly what you’ll cover in your article addressing the “what, when, where and who.”
The reason for doing this is readers want to get information as quickly as they possibly can. So, giving them exactly what they want will make them see you as a go-to source for all their needs within your niche.
In copywriting, this practice is known as responding to “Search User Intent.”
Have your primary keyword within the first few sentences of the introduction to make it super obvious to your reader and search engines that they’ve got the right content.
Also include some of your target keywords in the hook.
Readers know they’re in the right place but still need a little more encouragement to go on and read the rest of your article… enter the hook.
The hook is a bold promise you make to readers, which you fulfill later in your article.
There are various ways to create the perfect hook. You can present it as:
• An illustration of a threatening situation, a warning or unwanted pain that your audience may be experiencing
• An interesting fact or shocking statistic that shows relevancy
• Confirmation of existing beliefs or
• An induction of FOMO
In essence, the hook acts as motivation for the reader to read on.
2. The Body: Keep Your Promise With Facts And Details
This section of the inverted pyramid style of writing is where you dive in and support the arguments you made in your introduction.
So, give detailed explanations with facts (studies and statistics) and images that help drive your main points and make your content more credible.
Pro Tip: Use facts from a trusted source. Doing so will give your web writing much more authority, and your audience will view you as a subject matter expert.
Since this is the bulk of the article, strive to make it skimmable. So:
Create A Topic Sequence
Organize your supporting details in an inverted pyramid style, giving the most important information priority.
Ensure that each subsection furthers a single point, which should be the subsection’s heading.
Also, make the subheadings catchy but informative enough to still drive your key points.
Have Short Paragraphs
According to Jakob Nielsen, a web page usability guru, close to 80% of readers skim read online content. Since this is more than half of the population, most writers write skimmable copy.
To make your content more skimmable, keep your paragraphs short — two to three sentences long.
The best part of making your paragraphs concise is that it’s excellent for web browsers, too.
Here’s what I mean:
Google is famously known to use blocks of text for their featured snippets and answer boxes. So, short paragraphs will make it easier for Google spiders to crawl your content and select the most relevant paragraph to respond to search questions.
Pro Tip: Make the first sentence of each paragraph a core sentence — driving a single concept that’s further explained by the sentences that follow.
Doing this will ensure that skimmers get the gist of the article even if they only read the first sentence of a paragraph.
3. The Tail: Offer Any Other Relevant Information
In this section of a news story, media writers provide context so readers can better grasp what has been discussed in the post.
In the same way, wrap up your article so that your audience will remember the main point of your copy, like giving a final verdict or analysis on the subject.
For example, if the post is a comparison, your conclusion should show the winner by highlighting what makes them better than their competition.
Finally, recommend further action with links to other resources. This is your call to action, or CTA. For example, include a link to your blog or a downloadable for additional reading or to a product page to buy your products or services.
Use The Inverted Pyramid Writing For Your SEO Copy
The essence of using the inverted pyramid style in your writing process is to grab the reader’s attention from the get-go by offering essential information up front.
What’s more, the upside-down pyramid helps make your post skimmable with concise sentences. And since your content is written in hierarchical order, it makes it readable and scannable, which is exactly what readers and web browsers want.
The inverted pyramid style also presents an opportunity for crafting a powerful CTA that spurs your audience to action at the very end of your copy.
So, in the end, inverted pyramid writing makes your copy that much more valuable and impactful.