N is for narrative
Why a good narrative is indespensible
When you are in a hurry, it’s best to walk straight from A to B. But if there’s more time, going from A to B via C might be more interesting, especially if C includes a scenic river walk.
In fact going via C and then getting lost and encountering a flock of belligerent sheep would make the journey even more memorable.
The same is true of content writing. A less predictable structure sometimes works, especially if there are elements of set-up, conflict and resolution.
While we’ve explained that you should always put your key points right at the start of your text, we do find that experimenting with the narrative structure of the piece can lead to a better pay-off for the reader.
If you haven’t planned a seemingly unrelated introduction then it’s always best to set off in the right direction – be clear on what you’re talking about. But do start to add some colour.
This doesn’t mean you need to clutter up your text with a set of five characters, each with their own backstory, or some other literary device, but do try to work in an additional hook. This could be an imagined scenario, a set of facts woven together, a look at past events or posing a broad question.
Don’t let your story stray too much from your goals though. Weaving your diversions – the via C elements – through the structure, with brief but frequent mentions works better than a solid splurge of off-topic writing.
And of course do remember that even if you are going via C, you must still end up at B. Otherwise you have not so much taken your reader on an interesting route as simply lost them somewhere on the way.