According to the Poynter Institute, the journalism industry’s renowned training organization, one of the first inverted pyramid leads was written by an Associated Press reporter after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
That first lead read: The President was shot in a theater tonight and perhaps mortally wounded.
Prior to the adoption of the inverted pyramid, most journalists used flowery language and took their time getting to the climax of the story. This changed during the Civil War when the use of the telegraph flourished. Readers became more sophisticated and wanted to get to the bottom of the story at the top.
Who could blame them? No one wants to read through 500 words of content before finding out that Abe Lincoln was assassinated.
A news story and your web content have similarities — both educate readers, both sell an idea, and both should present the most important facts first. The following tips will help you write web content with the inverted pyramid in mind.
1. Succinctly describe what you do in the headline and first paragraph of web content.
2. Start solving the problem in the second paragraph. Explain how your product or service makes your customer’s life easier.
3. Give them the facts. Your website visitors are intelligent people and deserve to be treated that way. Provide industry data, informative graphics, links to white papers, and other credibility boosting content bits early on.
4. Include a link to your contact page and list your phone number on the top of the page.
Make it incredibly easy to get in touch. Your contact information is the most important piece of content on the site.
Now that you know about inverted pyramids, does your web content tell the most important part of your story first?