How can you structure your blog posts so you lead your reader through the post? Why is it important to have a good structure to your posts?
As a blog writer, it’s your job to lead your reader through your post. I’ve talked before about how you need to catch your reader’s attention with a good lead, and how you need to organize and develop your blog posts.
But how can you structure your posts so your reader follows your thoughts? Your reader might be interested in your idea, but if you don’t show them the connections between one point and the next, they’re not going to be able to follow you. And they might leave your post unread.
This post kicks off a three-part series about different ways you can structure your blog posts. In this first part, I’ll talk about some structures for informative blog posts.
Some of the general advice that makes blog writing different from other forms of writing is to use short paragraphs, lots of numbered or bulleted lists and frequent subheads to break up the text on the screen.
Those still apply, but let’s get into some more specific structures you can use.
Some structures are pretty basic and apply to all forms of writing. Let’s look at five of them quickly:
- A chronological structure tells the story from beginning to end. It often uses flashbacks and flash-forwards. This would be good for a travel narrative or personal anecdote post.
- The least-to-most important structure is the opposite of a news story. News stories begin with the most important information, but you can reverse that. Instead, move your topic from the simple to the complex.
- The problem-and-solution structure is a common one. It presents a problem or asks a question, analyzes it and gives examples, then presents the solution. This might be good if you’re examining an issue.
- The catalog structure presents a list of people, places and events, and then explains them.
- The repetitive structure introduces a concept and reinforces it with quotations and anecdotes until the point is made. This would work for a persuasive blog post.
Bloggers function like journalists in many ways and can draw many lessons from journalists. Journalists use several story structures to organize their stories. These structures work well for blog posts.
You may have heard of the most common journalistic story structure: the inverted pyramid used for hard news stories. However, an opposite structure that’s good for short posts when you want to build to a climax is the upright pyramid. This structure lures the reader in with a lead, then builds to a climactic ending that leaves a lingering impression on the reader.
For longer blog posts, try using the peaks and valleys story structure. Like the upright pyramid, it lures the reader in with an interesting lead. But where the upright pyramid builds up to a stunning conclusion, the peaks and valleys structure develops in waves that slowly pull the reader along through the story, exposing the information slowly. Think of a flower slowly blooming, revealing its beauty petal by petal. It ends with a
conclusion that should tie up the story neatly.
Another structure is the martini glass. This is an alternative to the basic chronological structure described above. It also works for posts that need a chronology of events. It begins with a lead, then uses a small inverted pyramid to give some key facts. Then, it moves to a chronology of events and ends with a kicker that ties back to the lead.
The kabob is a good structure for trend stories or posts that focus on the people involved. It begins with an anecdote, then explains the main point of the story in a nutshell paragraph. Then it adds several paragraphs of meaty facts and ends with
another anecdote, or the conclusion to the beginning anecdote that ties the story together.
A combination of these structures can work for your posts. You don’t have to stick to just one structure per post. Writers draw from a variety of methods and inspirations, and that’s okay. Just make sure the post is well organized and develops logically for your reader’s sake.
If you’re always thinking about how you can do your job of pulling the reader through your post, they’ll follow your thoughts all the way to the end.
Readers, what are your favorite structures for your blog posts? Do you use some more often than others? Let us know in the comments!