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How to Write Great Content with the Inverted Pyramid

  • Post category:Marketing
  • Reading time:10 mins read

Producing effective SEO copy is not a simple task. It requires a deep knowledge of how to write for your target audience. It also requires you to optimize your content to rank in Google. There is a delicate balance between captivating readers and optimizing for search. Obtaining this balance is not a simple task. The Inverted Pyramid is a tactic that journalists have employed for ages and helps them write great content. Now you’re likely wondering – how does a tool that journalists use apply to copywriting? Well, the pyramid provides SEO copywriters with a blueprint that helps produce stellar content. In this post, we’ll discuss how you can write great content by using the Inverted Pyramid.

What is the Inverted Pyramid?

The Inverted Pyramid is a method that journalists use to describe the structure of an article. The general premise is that the most important information is presented first.

When one applies the Inverted Pyramid, they showcase the most important principles and keywords in the first paragraph. They then gradually create a hierarchy of content throughout the rest of the post.

When executed correctly, your introductory paragraph casually leads into deeper topics, greater complexity, and finally a summarizing conclusion.

Front-loading your content

The Inverted Pyramid loads all of the key information into the first paragraph. This helps grab the reader’s attention as quickly as possible. Furthermore, this can also have a positive impact in terms of your website’s SEO and engagement metrics. More importantly, readers are more likely to stay on your site when they realize that your content rocks!

Benefits of the Inverted Pyramid model

There are many benefits to adopting the Inverted Pyramid writing style. Here are a few of key benefits:

  • The Inverted Pyramid provides an easy-to-follow framework to follow in all of your SEO blog posts.
  • It helps increase user engagement by capturing the reader’s attention in the first paragraph (or two).
  • The Inverted Pyramid helps improve the readability of your content with a scannable structure and hierarchy.
  • It helps drive organic traffic through search engine optimized content that is rich with your target keywords.
  • Readers are more likely to scroll through and read the entire article.
  • It implements an efficient strategy that attracts readers who are likely to go elsewhere if they do not find your content engaging right away.

If you find it difficult to abide by the Inverted Pyramid structure right away, fear not. It runs contrary to what most everyone is used to, so it will take some time to soak in.

The Inverted Pyramid structure

Implementing the Inverted Pyramid structure is actually quite simple. In the most basic sense, there are three key components: the lead, the body, and the tail.

The lead

The lead is the opening paragraph of your post. It’s where you should include an immediate hook that captures the reader’s attention. You can accomplish this via a through-provoking question or a nail-biting story.

You should also include the target keyword/phrase in the introductory paragraph for SEO purposes. This is also where you want to address the “who, what when & where” of the topic you will discuss in the post.

The body

The body needs to incorporate rich detail and critical information. Since you’ve front-loaded your post with the most important information first, the body is where you will expand on it. This is far different than traditional methods where you unveil new concepts and details throughout the body paragraphs.

The body paragraph(s) also contains relevant statistics, case studies, examples, supporting evidence, or stories. This is also the ideal time to feature any supporting quotes, videos, graphics, and other such media.

The tail

When you apply the Inverted Pyramid method, the conclusion paragraph is more than just a summary of the entire post. Instead, this is where you include relevant and helpful resources that further support the body and provide additional value to your post. You can also include an overall assessment of the topic and possibly even additional content for readers to help them better understand what you covered previously in the post.

How to write great content with the Inverted Pyramid and win the SEO battle

When you follow the Inverted Pyramid structure, your SEO content may come across as a bit backward compared to your standard style. However, the process becomes far easier once you have the right steps in place. We’re about to walk through how to write with this SEO content model in mind from the get-go…ready? Let’s go!

1.) Create a topic hierarchy

The Inverted Pyramid style hinges on presenting your top-tier content first. This requires you to prioritize the material that you wish to cover.

In most cases, the primary point you’re aiming to make is tied directly to your target keyword. Then, your lower priority points may be subtopics of your focus keyword.

For instance, let’s say your target keyphrase is “what is digital marketing,” it’s relatively obvious that the main point of your post should be to define digital marketing.

So, your topic hierarchy may go something like this:

  • What is Digital Marketing? – Definition
  • Why is Digital Marketing Important?
  • Benefits of Digital Marketing
  • Types of Digital Marketing
  • How to Measure the Results of Your Digital Marketing
  • Digital Marketing Tips for Your Business

It’s critical that you figure out which points are most important to your audience. Then, all you need to do is follow this hierarchy as you write your article!

2.) Write your hook

hook is what you use to capture the reader’s attention right away. Your hook needs to be at the beginning of your article. It often takes the form of a teaser that entices readers to keep on reading.

The vast majority of bloggers incorporate their target keyphrase into their hook. This is a great way to let your audience (and Google) know that they’re in the right place.

Your hook is a great time to flex your creative muscles. After all, the catchier the hook, the more readers you’ll retain!

3.) Set priority for target keywords

Earlier we discussed setting a priority for the topics you want to cover. You’ll want to follow suit with the keywords you plan to target.

Referencing the example in Step 1, many of these topics likely align with keywords, like “benefits of digital marketing” and “digital marketing tips”.

Decide what topics you want to tackle first and then use the relevant keywords in these sections of your article. Tools like Semrush and Surfer SEO can also help you determine roughly how often to include these key terms so you stay on par with what’s already ranking.

4.) Write for “skimmers”

There’s a wealth of research supporting the belief that most people don’t read blog posts the same way they read novels. In fact, Poll Everywhere reports that 80% of readers merely skim the content they come across online.

The majority of readers simply scan the page for certain words or phrases that align with what they’re looking for. This means that you literally have just a few seconds to capture the readers’ attention.

Some of the more popular (and effective) ways to cater to “skimmers” involve incorporating bold or italicized text, lists, and relevant images. It also helps if you limit your paragraphs to two to three lines of text. Doing so makes each chunk of text more manageable and easier to skim.

H2 and H3 headings are also beneficial when writing for skimmers. Headers are great for skimmers because they’re essentially flashing neon signs hanging over the more important sections of your post. Make sure to include relevant keywords in your headings, as well as descriptive text that summarizes what the section is about.

Furthermore, your intro to your post is prime real estate for essential information. Make the most of this section by incorporating concise paragraphs, descriptive text, and bold keywords.

How to Write Great Content with the Inverted Pyramid-Bucket Brigade

5.) Include “bucket brigades”

Bucket brigades are quick snip9pets that add conversational value to your content. One of the main objectives of bucket brigades is to bridge two sentences together. However, they are also an effective tool to catch the reader’s attention and keep them reading> Furthermore, bucket brigades are a great way to point your audience towards other sections of your post.

Is your content getting a little too dense? Well, look no further than bucket brigades! They are also an excellent way to break up bulky paragraphs and help your content flow like rich maple syrup.

Here are a few examples that you can test out for yourself:

  • Now:
  • As if that’s not enough
  • What does this mean for you?
  • Best of all
  • But wait, let me tell you something
  • By now, you should
  • In case you might be asking yourself
  • Think about it:
  • And the Good news?
  • Here’s why:
  • On the other hand
  • Nevertheless
  • No wonder
  • On the other hand
  • you see
  • Turns out
  • And that’s just one side of the story…
  • In my own experience
  • It’s true
  • Simply put

6.) Employ numbered & bulleted Lists

The Inverted Pyramid is designed to make your content easy to digest for both readers and search engines.

One such way to ensure that your content goes down smoothly is to include bulleted and numbered lists. Doing so not only helps you organize your content so that it’s easy to scan, but also opens the door to potentially landing a Featured Snippet.

7.) Add context and helpful resources

One of the central aims of any effective blog post is to provide value to your audience. We’re not talking about generic cookie-cutter “value” here. Your audience is hungry for fresh ideas and insights on current industry trends…so why not give them what they want?!

It’s also important to remember that your audience wants information from reliable resources. So if you make an outlandish claim, you best have the necessary sources to back it up!

Better yet, keep the cycle closed and direct readers to case studies and white papers that you’ve produced and have shared on your website.

How to Write Great Content with the Inverted Pyramid-Header Questions

8.) Include questions in headings

Any reliable SEO keyword research will likely reveal pointed questions your readers have about a topic. Google’s “People Also Ask” section is also a total gold mine for keywords and keyphrases.

You can format these questions (and the associated keywords) as H2 and H3 headings to:

  • Help readers find the information they’re looking for
  • Better organize your article
  • Give you various opportunities to include your target keyword(s)

9.) Lead paragraphs with your core sentence

The last thing you want to do is bury your main point in the heart of your body paragraph. Instead, you should begin your paragraphs with the main point. This is a great way to make it easier for readers to identify the information for which they are looking.

10.) Make your conclusion count!

Many treat the conclusion paragraph as a throwaway that quickly summarizes the content in the article. However, there are numerous ways to make your conclusion not only concise but also effective and informative.

Your closing paragraph is a great time to incorporate links to other posts on your site. You can also provide further context that supports the points you made throughout your post.

If you’re going to summarize what you’ve already covered, make your points wicked concise. That way, if a reader skims the page and reads the conclusion first, they’re likely to read the rest of the article knowing that you covered the topics that pique their interest.

When should you use the inverted pyramid?

The inverted pyramid is intended for structured SEO writing. The primary goal is to structure your article so that readers can skim it and so that search engines can easily make sense of the content.

If you’ve been following the traditional style of blog posts, then it might be worthwhile to shake things up and try something new.

Consider adopting the Inverted Pyramid style to see whether it improves engagement or conversions on your site.

Andrew Roche

Andrew Roche is a Digital Consultant at Shift Digital. He is also pursuing an MBA in Marketing & Finance through the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University

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