In Writing a Headline is Like Going on a Blind Date, we explained how there’s nothing more important than choosing a title for your blog post. After all, people aren’t going to read further if they’re already bored by the title. Now that you have that down, we introduce you to the second-most important thing in writing a blog post: the opening paragraph. An article at copyblogger.com states that having an awesome headline followed by a not-so-great first paragraph is like inviting people to your house and then slamming the door in their face. Ouch!
Tips to Keep People Reading Past the Headline
A sure-fire way to grab a reader’s attention and keep it until the end of your blog post is to provide information he or she didn’t expect. Statistics work well for this purpose, as long as they’re relevant to the body and closing of your blog post. Anything unique or possibly shocking to readers should keep them on your page.
When crafting your opening paragraph, it’s a good idea to already have your ending in mind. That way you can tie the two together and summarize the main points nicely for your readers. Some other strategies for writing a compelling introductory paragraph include:
- Ask the reader a question and then demonstrate how you intend to answer it. A rhetorical question works just as well in this scenario. Starting your blog post in this manner gets your reader thinking and that’s exactly what you want. It creates curiosity, which is a necessary component to keep people engaged with your work.
- Don’t be afraid to start your blog post with an analogy or metaphor. The benefit of doing so is that it immediately recalls imagery in your reader’s mind that he or she can re-frame into a meaningful story. This naturally creates a desire to see the story through until the end. Using this type of language also helps readers identify with and care about you. People love reading the work of those with whom they have formed a meaningful connection.
- Starting your blog post with a quote or anecdote draws your reader in quickly. That is because it provokes an emotional reaction, such as laughter or even alarm. If you employ this technique, be sure to quote someone well-known or who is at least an authority in his or her field. The name recognition helps to hold a reader’s attention during those critical few seconds while he or she decides if your blog post is something worth reading.
- Speaking to the reader’s imagination is one of the most powerful tools you possess as a writer. Using phrases such as “think back”, “just imagine”, or “picture the scene” engages your reader within seconds. He or she can’t help but keep reading to see where your words lead.
What is Your Experience?
Have you tried these or similar tips in the past? How did they work for you? If you work for a marketing agency and need someone to create attention-grabbing blog posts, you have come to the right place. Feel free to browse our writer directory or ask staff to recommend a writer for your project.