Over the years I’ve been copywriting tenders and proposals and B2B content marketing, I’ve been conscious that when I’m editing I often move the last sentence in a paragraph up to become the first in that paragraph.
It always seemed to me that copy made more sense if it were restructured in this way. Yet, in all this time, I never considered why I do this.
But when I read an article on LinkedIn a few years back, it explained my innate action. In the article, (originally posted on the Bid and Proposal Management Professionals group), the author, Kelvin Prescott, described how he had learned the Top Down Thinking process, which is based on the Pyramid Principal developed by Barbara Minto.
In this process, whatever you are writing, whether it is a tender or a proposal, an article or other B2B content, you simply:
Write what you want to say. Take the last line. Put it at the start. Rewrite it.
It’s that simple. And it works because most people get bogged down when they write copy and end up making their most important point last.
From my own experience, I know that Kelvin is right when he says all you need to do is:
– Write what you want to say in the sequence you think of it.
– Take the last line and cut and paste it to the start of the paragraph or piece of copy
– Rewrite the paragraph or piece so that it makes sense
– Cut out anything that doesn’t fit that paragraph or piece
If this sounds too good to be true, trust me – it works. All you need to do is follow the steps 1-4 above and you’ll have much sharper copy, which gets your message across immediately.
According to Kelvin, it’s all to do with the difference between the way that we remember, and the way that we learn.