Ever wonder why people never finish reading your stuff? Your opening paragraph is the second most important part of your blog post after your headline. With the first few sentences of your opening paragraph, you can either lose your readers or hook them into your message.
Just like first impressions on a blind date, your blog intro matters too. However, unlike boring first dates where you have to sit there and make small talk even when you clearly feel no connection, blog posts are different.
Your audience does not have to stick around and read your content. If they consider it junk, they can simply walk away.
So how do you write a killer intro that will hook your readers’ imagination and compel them to continue reading your content? Here are 6 ways.
Ask a question
Ask a question so that you get your readers thinking. By getting your readers to think about what you are asking them, you are actually engaging with them. And if done right, questions can be a secret strategy that you can use to identify and meet the needs of your audience appropriately. The key however, is to not insult their intelligence.
Open with a shocking revelation
I buy-trusted-tablets.com love Yahoo for one thing; they really know how to get their readers’ attention. Haven’t we all spent a good amount of time reading some of the nonsensical stories that are featured their home page? But just how do they do it? Here is an example:
Whether you are a sports fan or not, the first few sentences of this article are enough to make you click through to read it. This particular article was no more than 300 words but it still managed to get thousands of comments.
Shocking revelations in blog posts do extremely well because people are wired psychologically to respond to the pain of losing or the joy of winning. That is why most media networks always start with stories that fall under either of these two categories. This approach can be extremely valuable in your writing as long as your article continues to provide value to the end.
Invoke a little controversy
The use of controversy as one of your blogging strategies cannot be overstated. Yeah sure, knowing your audience and posting regularly are all fine blogging strategies but if you are really going to stand out from the crowd, you have to post content that people will love and also hate.
Politics, money, religion and health (especially weight issues) are topics that always generate a lot of conversation. Actually, most sociologists advocate against bringing these topics up in any conversation because they will ruin the conversation and wreck your relationships.
I believe if used right, controversy can do a lot to hook your readers. That being said, do not forget to make your intro tie in with the rest of your article.
Check out how this article on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reads.
Open with a quote/wise words
“The difference between rich people and poor people. Poor people have a big TV and small library; rich people have a big library and small TV.” America’s foremost business philosopher Jim Rohn said those words and boy was he right. Nearly all households in the US have television sets but not all have libraries. Isn’t it any wonder then that the super duper rich make up only 5% of the population in the United States?
Quotes from influential individuals and people who have made a difference in their community and in the world are powerful especially when used to address problems that are being faced by many people today.
Equally effective is the use of analogies, anecdotes and metaphors. These “tools of language” offer a great way to captivate your readers’ attention and provoke their mental imagery to help bring your post to life for them.
Open with a story
It’s often said that the best communicators are people who are good storytellers. I agree with that statement. Having the unique ability to get your point across to your audience is not something that should be taken lightly.
Think about it. When you catch up with an old childhood friend you haven’t seen in a while, you don’t talk about the economy and how life is getting harder every day. Nope! You talk about your childhood and the things you used to do back then because of the memories it brings back. Here is a good example of a way you can start your opening paragraph with a story: November 26th 2007 is a day I will never forget….
With an opening statement like that you have immediately aroused your readers’ curiosity and many if not all will want to continue reading to find out what was so special about that day. The story could be about you or someone you know or something you read about, however, it must be true.
John Bonini wrote an awesome article about story telling for Hubspot. See the article here.
Pro tip: Do change the names of individuals in your story to protect their privacy.
Open with your USP (Unique selling proposition)
Keyword stuffing no longer cuts it these days. Your readers want quality content plus they don’t have the time to read it all the way to the end to know if you can solve their problems.
So if you have anything worth saying, say it immediately! Don’t beat around the bush. Let your readers know why they should be listening to you and not your competition, how you can help them and what makes you different from the rest.
Check out these shocking statistics on why people online don’t read to the end to understand how important selling yourself in the first paragraph is.
These strategies should help you develop the skill of writing great blog intros, however, practice is needed. Take the time to learn which ones work best for you and the best ways to use them. For more information on how to create good content click here.
Do you agree with these points? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them below.