So why does every damn thing your write need a compelling intro?
This is the age of information. We have access to so. much. stuff. If we read the first couple of lines and aren’t hooked, we’re just going to sack it off and find something better.
Harsh? Perhaps. But it’s also true.
You owe it to the rest of your writing to put a smidge more effort into your introductions. There is many a creative way to do this – here are a few super simple options (because I’m all about taking it easy!):
An interesting fact and/or statistic
This is most effective if your interesting fact has nothing to do with your niche, but you find a creative way to link them anyway. Also, you’re way less likely to end up using the exact same data as everybody else.
Over 3 million gossip magazines are sold in the UK every week.
Blog topic: People are interested in the story behind the image. This is why you should weave your personal narrative throughout your business blog.
A brief story that explains how you came to write that specific article/email/eBook humanises you and will help you and your reader bond (as well as subtly showcasing your experience).
For the past five years, everyone has been telling me to get my ass on Twitter, but I really didn’t know where to start. I’d resisted for so long, it felt like it was too late for me. I’ve tried dipping in and out, but I just didn’t get it. I felt old. If I’m going to succeed in the digital age, I know I need to explore the platform even more and discover the benefits it could have for my business.
Blog topic: A Twitter guide for grown-ups
Ask something that you know your target readers will have asked themselves at some point. This is a really effective way to signpost what the rest of your post will be about.
Is Pinterest really that useful for business?
Blog topic: 5 key benefits of having a consistent Pinterest strategy.
Incorporate an insightful, inspirational or informative quote from a thought leader, not necessarily in your niche. This quote should summarise or contradict the main point of your post (or at least refer to it).
“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” Alexander the Great
Blog topic: Your reaction to a Twitter clique attacking you on Twitter for a perceived slight against a blogger.
Say something that’s completely against the grain. You don’t have to be rude (or sweary, even though I occasionally am both), but say something striking to grab the attention of your reader.
I really don’t give a shit about SEO.
Blog topic: The impact SEO obsession is having on writing quality.
Define a frequently misunderstood word or key term relating to your business or industry, before continuing to discuss the topic in more depth.
Copywriter: noun; a writer of copy, especially for advertisements or publicity releases.
Blog topic: The changing role of copywriters in the digital age.
A personal touch
Address a specific pain point your readers face. Use the word “you” to help you build rapport with your audience, and remove yourself from the world of theory.
You know you should be getting back to work, but you just can’t get motivated. You’re not alone.
Blog topic: Tried and tested techniques to beat procrastination and get on with your day.
This is not a post with the perfect formula for writing your introductions. In fact, I’d advise against such crap. If somebody follows you consistently, 50 samey-same intros are going to bore them to DEATH.
Your intros should vary, depending on the tone (and purpose) of whatever you’re writing.
Having said that here are a few tips to give you a leg up:
- keep it between 1 and 4 lines
- all sentences should be short and punchy
- no regurgitating the title
- simple words beat fancy ones
Good luck crafting your next compelling intro – let me know which technique you take out for a test run!
Love this article. I always got stuck in writing a compelling intro and this post just came at the right time. Thanks