So, you’re setting out to create some content for your website (or pamphlet, or whatever it is you’re trying to get people to read). You have all these great ideas, but where do you start? How can you make sure that you’re getting your point across in the most digestible, engaging way possible?
The human brain tends to appreciate a certain structure in the information it consumes. Arranging the body of your content in the following way is a great way to make sure that people can follow your message and wrap their heads around what, exactly, you need them to take away from the piece. By following this structure, you can rest assured that the message of your writing is being heard clearly.
It goes a little something like this:
First off: The What
The first point you need to cover in your writing is, well, the point of your writing. The audience needs to know right off the bat exactly what they’re going to get out of reading your work.
This part is important because the audience needs to know immediately upon starting to read if this content is something that sparks their interest. If they go into the piece blind, not knowing what it’s going to be about, they might be disappointed when the content doesn’t give them the information they thought they were going to receive.
Let’s say, for example, that you have a piece entitled “Top 12 Skincare Trends of 2021”. You should start such a piece by describing what you’re going to be sharing. In this case, you’d probably want to start off with an intro that tells your audience about the greater body of the piece. It might look like this:
“2020 was a rough year for all of us, but your skin doesn’t have to show it. Today we’re going to check out twelve of the newest skincare products and routines of 2021.”
In those two little sentences, we’ve covered what the piece is going to be about: new trends in skincare. That helps the reader know what they’re getting into, and that keeps them happy.
This intro can be as short as a couple of sentences, or a little longer if you’re covering a more complex topic. If you look back to the introduction of this piece, you’ll see the same structural element in action. From reading the very first section of the article, you knew that it was going to be about how to structure your content in the most effective way possible.
Secondly: The Why
The next thing you need to do is tell your audience why they should be reading this particular article. In this second section, you’re conveying the importance of whatever information you’re sharing. Let’s take another look at the skincare example from above. The context you provide as to why this content is important might look similar to this:
“Following these easy tips will keep your skin glowing and radiant—with no fuss and no muss, you’ll have the clear skin you’ve always dreamed of.”
Obviously you could expand more on this point, but the basic idea is conveyed in this one simple sentence. This hypothetical article is going to tell you about skincare, as previously stated, and it’s important to read it because if you don’t read it, you won’t know how to keep your skin in top condition.
For another example, let’s look again at this very article you’re reading. The “why” of this piece is covered early on. The last sentence of the second paragraph reads “By following this structure, you can rest assured that the message of your writing is being heard clearly.”
It’s pretty straightforward. The reader appreciates a little reminder as to why they clicked on your article in the first place; it helps them remember what the point is in taking time to read the piece, and it helps to sell your point as being important.
Third: The How
This should be the meat and potatoes of the content. This is the part where you convey to the audience how to accomplish the thing they’ve set out to do. You’ve established what you’re teaching them and why; now it’s time to actually teach.
In our skincare example, this would be the part where you list off the 12 trends you’ve convinced your audience to read about. It’s important to break this section into small parts, making sure to cover all your bases. Remember that your audience might not know as much as you about the topic at hand—you can’t assume that they know things, because it’s possible that they don’t. If the reader can’t follow your piece because they lack background knowledge regarding the subject, they’ll quickly lose interest and move on.
Let’s revisit the skincare example. One of the points in it might look like this:
“This rich moisturizing cream is perfect for late nights when you just don’t feel up to doing a whole routine. Simply smooth it over your skin right before bed and wake up looking and feeling refreshed.”
This example is a little bit subtle, but if you look, you can see it in action. In that snippet of content, it’s explained when, and more importantly, how, you should use the product. You want to make sure you’re being clear and straightforward, without talking down to your audience.
For another example of how to write the “how” part of a post, simply take a look at the section of this article that you’re currently reading.
And Finally: The Proof
This is the part where you back up your claims with some examples of your advice being used successfully. You’re providing proof that you know what you’re talking about by showcasing some solid examples.
In the skincare article, you might incorporate some user testimonials about each product you’re describing. Another option for such an article would be to get in contact with an expert, such as a dermatologist or esthetician, and snag some snappy quotes from them to back up your claims about the products.
The proof for this article (the one you’re reading), can be found in an English class. Think back to your essay writing days: you started each paper with a paragraph containing a thesis statement (a what), and went on from there. But perhaps a better piece of proof can be found in our blog.
At Beep2B.com, you can find a multitude of successful blog posts that follow this very structure, along with testimonials from current users describing the ways in which this website has helped them grow their businesses and successfully market to their target audiences. Take a gander at a few posts and you’ll see some great examples of writing that uses this technique.
Creating effective and easy-to-read content might seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. By following this simple structure you can create content with ease, and sell your message to readers in a way that makes sense to them and to you.
Content is its own reward, but before you can get people to read it, you have to create it. Try a time-tested method and see just how far your reach can go.