What’s the second most important part of your blog post after the headline?
The introduction, of course.
Imagine just how disappointed you’d be after spending an insane amount of time to come up with a killer title for your post, only to lose readers within the first paragraph or two. A great headline mixed with a lame opening is like getting stuck on a roller-coaster ride seconds after it starting.
So, here are five easy ways to open your post that will capture the reader’s imagination and make them want to read more.
1. Ask a question
Opening your post with a question is the perfect device to create curiosity and get the reader thinking, which means they are actively engaging with your writing, and that’s what you want.
2. Share an anecdote or quote
Anecdotes are quick stories that serve to establish a certain premise.
What is the main point of your post?
Maybe you can condense that into a short anecdote.
A lot of my posts start with a quote. Here’s a little secret: as a matter of fact, most of the times said quote inspired the following words, so this also works as a means to fight the much dreaded writer’s block.
If you can find a great quote that is related to your post, then be sure to use it. You’ll be amazed at the results you get in terms of engagement from your readers.
3. Urge them to create a mental image
Imagine you are in the passenger seat of a car. At night. You’re on a highway, waiting for the drive to start the engine. No music, the windows shut. Nothing but silence. Utter silence. It’s just you and the driver. Then you hear the guttural roar of the engine. You feel yourself becoming one with the seat, your back slowly dissolving into it. The car is accelerating. And it keeps accelerating. Faster and faster and faster… It’s just you and the driver and the feeling of gaining momentum. On and on and on, towards infinity.
That’s how you want your posts to read. Accelerate. Every single line you write is supposed to built upon the previous one and move everything forward.
Oh, and yes, about creating mental images. This is why storytelling is one of the most powerful things you can do as a blogger/writer.
When you get great at this, people will forget they’re even reading words on a computer
To urge your readers to create mental images use words like “imagine,” “picture this,” “do you remember when,” etc.
4. Use an analogy, metaphor, or simile
When it comes to storytelling, analogies, metaphors, and similes are some of the most powerful devices you can use. And there are few things out there better at capturing a reader’s attention.
5. Make good use of a shocking statistic
People love information, but only when it’s unique, shocking even. Of course, the statistic needs to be relevant to what you’re writing about in your post.
I seldom use this (here’s a post where I use a couple of statistics as an introduction) but I have read a lot of fantastic posts by some great bloggers that use them.
Fun fact: did you know that most people get high on learning? It increases dopamine levels, which is the same hormone released when taking certain drugs, such as cocaine.
Never underestimate the importance of a great introduction. And you know what’s the fun part about having the kind of opening that hooks readers instantly? You can make great use of it in the closing part of your blog, and tie them both together.
So, which technique is your favorite when opening a blog post?