Blog Writing: Don't Bury the Lead!

Published: 13th February 2009
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Don't bury the key information of a story somewhere in the body of the article -- put it first. Newspaper reporters learn quickly not to "bury the lead" and it's at least equally important for bloggers and others who write online.

People don't read on the Internet; they scan, even more so than with newspapers. Make sure the most important information comes first, so it benefits both scanners (most people) and those who decide to read in more detail.

This is sometimes called the "inverted pyramid structure." The most important information comes first, followed by less & less important details further down. Very often a short summary comes last.

Look at the following paragraph and compare it to the first paragraph of this post:

It's important to put information in the right order. Some writers fail to do this and need to improve. Order is critical in presenting information as some people scan and will miss what's most important. The most important information should come first.

Notice how the "lead" is buried? Someone scanning, i.e. the typical reader on the Internet, would miss the main point, and also be less likely to read further. They would be less likely to benefit from, and engage with, what you have written. Which paragraph do you prefer? Most people greatly prefer the first.

So, what is the lead, the main point of this article?
Put the most important information first in your articles and blog posts so that readers will be more likely to catch it and continue to read.

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