Your writing will improve when you put the bottom line up front. For freelancers and side hustlers, clear communication might also generate more money.
Blogs, newsletters, and freelance writing are all excellent ways to earn an income. They might be a side hustle, meaning they bring in money over and beyond your day job, or they can be a career, helping you build wealth as you build a business. In every case, clear communication is vital.
Clear communication can take a few forms, including two pyramid-based frameworks, specifically the journalistic inverted pyramid and the business-oriented Minto Pyramid.
The Inverted Pyramid
The inverted pyramid is a writing structure commonly used in journalism to prioritize information based on its importance.
It involves starting with the most important information at the beginning of the article and then providing supporting details and background information. This structure is ideal for news articles, press releases, informative blog posts or newsletters, and many other forms of writing where the reader needs to quickly grasp the most important information.
To write an article in the inverted pyramid structure, start with a strong headline that accurately reflects the story's most important news or point.
The first paragraph should summarize the most important information. This initial paragraph is known as the lede (sometimes spelled lead). This should answer the 5 W's: who, what, where, when, and why.
For example, in 1974, the Washington Post used the inverted pyramid structure to report on the Watergate scandal. The first paragraph provided the lede, stating, "President Nixon, facing near-certain impeachment for his role in the Watergate scandal, announced last night that he would resign the presidency, effective noon today." The headline read, "Nixon Resigns."
It was like the TLDR (too long, didn't read) section some folks put at the top of their posts now, except it was the opening paragraph.
The article then went on to provide supporting details and background information on the Watergate scandal and Nixon's presidency. Using the inverted pyramid structure, the Washington Post conveyed the most important news of the day quickly and effectively while still providing readers with the necessary context and background information.
The inverted pyramid structure is valuable for journalists and writers who must quickly and effectively convey important information. By prioritizing information based on its importance and starting with a strong lead, writers can ensure that their readers understand the key points of their story, even if they don't have time to read the entire article.
Advantages of the Inverted Pyramid
First and foremost, the inverted pyramid is just a very clear and effective way to organize an article. It puts the bottom line up front. But it also has other advantages for journalists specifically and all writers generally.
- Captures readers' attention — By starting with the most important information at the beginning of the article, the inverted pyramid structure helps capture readers' attention and encourages them to keep reading.
- Provides clarity — The inverted pyramid structure ensures that readers understand the most important points of the article right away, even if they don't have time to read the entire piece. This provides clarity and helps readers quickly grasp the main takeaways.
- Improves SEO — Search engines like Google prioritize clear and concise content. By using the inverted pyramid structure, writers can ensure that their content is well-organized and easy to understand, which can improve its search engine rankings.
- Encourages social sharing — When readers find an article that provides clear, concise information that is easy to understand, they are more likely to share it on social media. By using the inverted pyramid structure, writers can create content that is more likely to be shared, increasing its reach and exposure.
The Minto Pyramid
The Minto Pyramid Principle is a structured thinking and communication framework developed by Barbara Minto. The framework is widely used in business and management consulting to structure and communicate complex ideas clearly and logically.
The Minto Pyramid involves organizing information in a hierarchical structure, starting with the main idea or conclusion at the top. This main idea is then supported by a few key points, which are further elaborated with supporting details and evidence.
The framework is based on the idea that ideas should be presented in a logical hierarchy, with the most important information presented first, followed by supporting evidence and details. In this way, it is very similar to the older inverted pyramid.
The Minto Pyramid is used in various contexts, including business plans, presentations, and written reports. It is handy when communicating complex ideas that require a logical structure to be clearly understood, which makes it popular with long-form bloggers.
For example, imagine you wrote a blog article about "The Impact of the Oil Crisis on the US Economy in the 1970s."
If you employed the Minto Pyramid as a framework for this article, your opening paragraph might read like this. "In the 1970s, the world was hit by an oil crisis that significantly impacted the US economy, increasing inflation, enflaming the trade deficit, and overhauling energy policies."
You would be putting the bottom line up front. The rest of the article would focus on each of the points raised.
Advantages of the Minto Pyramid
- Clarity and logical structure — The Minto Pyramid structure ensures that ideas are presented clearly and logically, making it easier for readers to follow the author's thought process and understand the key takeaways of the article.
- Focus on the main idea — The Minto Pyramid structure emphasizes the main idea or conclusion of the article, ensuring that it is clearly communicated and supported by the key points and details.
- Efficiency — The Minto Pyramid structure is an efficient way to organize information, allowing writers to present complex ideas in a concise and organized manner.
- Persuasiveness — The Minto Pyramid structure can make articles more persuasive by presenting ideas in a logical and structured way, making it easier for readers to understand and be convinced by the author's arguments.
- Memorability — The Minto Pyramid structure can make articles more memorable by organizing information in a hierarchical structure, making it easier for readers to remember the article's main idea and key points.
While the inverted pyramid and the Minto Pyramid are often seen as two different writing approaches, they are similar and complementary in many ways.
Both structures prioritize information based on importance, with the most critical information presented first. The inverted pyramid starts with the most important news of the story, while the Minto Pyramid starts with the main idea or conclusion.
Both structures use supporting details and evidence to elaborate on the main idea or news. This information is presented in descending order of importance in the inverted pyramid. In contrast, in the Minto Pyramid, this information is presented in a hierarchical structure, starting with the key points and details that support the main idea.
By combining the strengths of both structures, writers can create engaging, persuasive, and easy-to-understand content. The inverted pyramid can capture readers' attention and quickly convey essential information. At the same time, the Minto Pyramid can be used to organize complex ideas in a clear and logical manner.
For example, a news article might start with the most important news of the day using the inverted pyramid structure and then use the Minto Pyramid structure to provide more background information and analysis.
Similarly, a blog post might start with a clear central idea using the Minto Pyramid structure and then use the inverted pyramid structure to provide supporting details and evidence that make the main idea more persuasive and engaging to the reader.
While the inverted pyramid and the Minto Pyramid are often seen as two different approaches to writing, they are actually quite similar and complementary in many ways. By combining the strengths of both structures, writers can create content that is engaging, persuasive, and easy to understand, making it more likely that their ideas will be communicated effectively to their audience.
Clear Writers Makes Money
Clear writing is essential for professional bloggers, newsletter writers, and freelancers looking to engage their readers and grow their income.
Writing structures such as the inverted pyramid and the Minto Pyramid can make their writing more precise and engaging, leading to more income.
Imagine you have a really engaging newsletter. Almost every subscriber opens it. So sponsors will pay top dollar to advertise in it. Or think about a blog that gets 100,000 visitors per month because of its straightforward content. That site can generate more advertising revenue than a less engaging blog.
Overall, using structures such as the inverted pyramid and the Minto Pyramid can make writing clearer and more engaging, leading to more income for professional bloggers, newsletter writers, and freelancers. By prioritizing clarity and organization, writers can ensure that their ideas are communicated effectively to their audience, ultimately leading to greater success and financial rewards.