Chunking and Inverted Pyramids in Blogging for Business

This week, all three of my Say It For You blog posts are devoted to elaborating on Debbie Hemley’s 26 tips for writing great blog posts,

Can users not only find the content, but read it? Is one of the five questions on the Ahava Leibtag essential checklist from which Debbie Hemley quotes. Readable content, Leibtag explains, includes an inverted-pyramid writing style and chunking.

Chunking is one way business bloggers can offering technical information in “chewable tablet form”, because it refers to the strategy of breaking down information into bite-sized pieces so the brain can more easily digest it. Needless to say, whatever your business or profession, there’s no end to the technical information available to consumers on the Internet. Our job then, as business blog content writers, is to do all we can to help readers absorb, buy into, and use the information.

Chunking works in reverse as well. Blogging can take individual units of information and show how they are related, perhaps in ways readers hadn’t considered. Probably the most common example of chunking occurs in phone numbers, as Kendra Cherry points out. For example, a phone number sequence of 4-7-1-1-3-2-4 would be chunked into 471-1324. “By separating disparate individual elements into larger blocks, information becomes easier to retain and recall.”

Purdue University’s Owl website discusses the “inverted pyramid” structure, which for decades “has been a mainstay of traditional mass media writing. The “base” of the pyramid—the most fundamental facts—appear at the top of the story, with the rest of the information in descending order of importance.

Even in the media, not everyone agrees that the inverted pyramid is right for every story.  When it comes to blogging for business, not everyone likes the concept, either. In fact, Ginny Soskey of Hubspot titles her post “Why the Inverted Pyramid Doesn’t Work for Business Blogs.” She quotes studies showing that participants who actively read content online read (or at least scan) 60-77% of a story. “When reading business blog posts, people need to be hungry for more content after reading the introduction, not satiated with the information from a few sentences,” Soskey cautions.  “There should be valuable information presented again and again through the entire article, all the way to the call to action at the bottom,” she asserts.

Since at Say It For You, our freelance blog content writers are trained to keep post length between 250 and 400 words, some of Soskey’s concerns might not apply. Variety being the spice of life, my own conclusion is that writers might experiment with different formats for different posts.

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