When it comes to creating content, storytelling is definitely the way to go. Telling a story that talks to the reader’s hopes, dreams, wants and needs and provides them with information and solutions is a sure-fire way of winning their attention and converting their interest to action. And the trick is to apply the tried and tested writing and storytelling techniques used by journalists the world over. Journalists use a set structure to craft their articles to ensure the relevant information is presented in a logical order. Here are some basic elements to follow:
In other words, identify an angle that gives the topic a fresh perspective and clearly explains the purpose of the article. Make sure your angle is included in the headline and the introduction, this tells readers exactly what to expect.
The introduction or lede is the first one or two paragraphs of the article that immediately lets the reader know what the article is about and delivers the most important information. A good introduction will deliver what the headline and angle promised.
Write your article in such a way that it answers all of the following questions:
A really effective piece of writing provides the answers in the introduction, but not in detail. This is not always possible and could make the introduction too long and clumsy, so decide which of the five W’s is the most important and provide the answer in the introduction and then answer the rest of the questions in the following paragraphs.
Here’s an extract from Rudyard Kipling’s poem included in ‘The Elephant’s Child’ story that always helps me to remember how to structure a story:
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I know);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.
Structure the story logically by putting the most important must-know information right upfront. It should include the answers to all the five W’s. This will ensure that readers who scan articles have all the key details. It is also where your keywords should be placed for SEO purposes. The next level contains all the supplementary information and general background that will help further a reader’s understanding, while the third level will contain information that is not essential but interesting and nice to know.
Here’s a great article by Jana Brech of WebWise Wording that explains this in greater detail, highlighting the importance of this technique for online writing.
Other useful tips to help you produce a good piece of content include:
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