Why do you write blog posts? You want people to read what you have to say, right? To make that happen, you need two things. The first is a catchy headline. The second is a great opening.
Your opening line should be the very best (or close to the very best) sentence in your entire post. You want it to draw people in, to get them interested in what you’re about to tell them about. How?
- Ask a question. Readers immediately start thinking of an answer (even subconsciously) and this leads them into the rest of your blog post. They want to know the answer. It creates an active engagement in your post.
- Use imagery. Ask readers to imagine something meaningful. If you’re writing about websites, you might ask them to imagine their stats steadily improving, with a larger readership than they’ve ever had before. If you’re writing about lawn and garden care, it might be imagining a green, healthy garden, despite the heat/lawn pests/poor soil. You can also use a negative image: “Imagine your website, sitting alone and abandoned; your traffic having dropped off to almost nothing.” Both positive and negative imagery draws in readers by invoking emotion, and that gets readers invested in what you’re writing.
- Start with a statistic. Use something shocking or unexpected. People will want to read to learn more. For example, did you know that there are more mobile phone owners in the world than there toothbrush owners? Also, an estimated 250 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day. Open with a surprising statistic, and people are going to keep reading (just make sure that you have accurate information; check your sources!).
- Tell a story. If you’re writing a blog post about your personal experience, or if you can relate it to something that happened to you, or to someone you know, people will be interested. You could even open with a funny anecdote that you read somewhere else. This makes your blog post instantly relatable, and therefore, more interesting.
- Open with a quote. Get people thinking, right off the bat. An insightful or entertaining quote can help to pique people’s interest. Use a quote from someone well-known and well-respected, and it will help to hold your audience’s attention.
A strong opening compels people to keep reading through the first few seconds of coming across your blog post. That’s essential, as that is the time when most people decide whether or not they’re going to keep reading. If your opening doesn’t dazzle, they are much more likely to go find something more interesting to read. Don’t let that happen. It doesn’t take a lot of extra thought to come up with a creative beginning, and it could make a significant difference in the number of people actually reading through your entire post.
Do you know a blogger that always seems to write the best headlines and opening paragraphs? Does it make you more likely to read their work?