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The Weekly Surgery

How to use the journalism Inverted Pyramid Technique and shape your writing

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


The Inverted Pyramid Technique is a journalistic style. It was probably used by writers to tell people the Ancient Pyramids had been built. 

Ok, maybe not, but the general theory is it started with telegrams where every word you used cost money. 

Basically, if you waffled on you didn’t eat for a week.

How does the Inverted Pyramid Technique work?

The Inverted Pyramid

Turn a pyramid on its head.

At the thickest part you have the most significant interesting and substantial information. You want to cover, as quickly as possible, who? What? When? Where and how? You can open with a catchy question or sentence to grab attention but not too long. 

In the middle you have the quite important information. Here you can delve deeper into your subject and if you start explaining anything in more depth the reader will get it better.

Down at the tip you have more general information or finer details. It is the least important part and the first place you’d start cutting. 

Why does this journalistic style of writing work for the reader?

Remember, whatever you’re producing it’s 95% about the reader. 

Imagine someone scanning news or education websites waiting for a friend in a coffee shop. 

If you’ve put the crux of your article first (after that killer headline of course) you’re getting right to the point. 

After a few seconds they can be interrupted by their lovely, but frequently late friend, and understand what it was about.

Another scenario. 

They read the first few lines and decide ‘The souring of the UK-US Special Relationship’ is not for them. 

OK, fair dues, not everything is for everyone. But, maybe they liked you and your style. They then decide to read your other article on the history of the UK’s relationship with South Africa. Great!

The important thing is, you captured their attention.

How is the Inverted Pyramid Technique useful?

The inverted pyramid technique helps you to:

Prioritise information
Organise your thoughts
Be critical and analytical
Be succinct and make every word matter
Be conscious of your word count 
Put yourself in the reader’s shoes

Where can I best use this writing technique?

The principles are versatile. You can apply it to essays, exam questions and preparing written content for an article or blog.

You can practice. Take a subject you’re thinking of writing about. Try and do the thick part of the pyramid, just the first few sentences. Have you covered everything? Is it captivating? Would you continue reading or not?

Good luck.


P.S Already got a great idea in mind? Well, let’s get you published. Go to 


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