First impressions matter. A lot. And whether we like to admit it or not, the opening lines to our blog posts can turn a one-time visitor into a subscriber or can make them decide to go on another blog.
So how does one craft an opening line to a post that effectively engages readers and stimulates enough interest to get them to read the rest of the damn thing?
Here’s a couple of ways you can open your blog posts like an artist.
1. Tell your readers about a need of theirs
Blogging is (more or less) all about problem solving.
What do your readers need, and you can provide?
For instance, this post is solving your need to open blog posts in such a way that you make readers want to read past your first few lines.
You don’t have to solve the need or problem in the opening line but an effective way to get readers to read deep into your post where you do solve it is to tell them that you will in the opening line.
2. Ask a question
It’s simple: ask a question in the opening of your post which leaves your reader little room to answer anything but ‘yes’.
I do this quite often in my blog posts, and I usually ask a few questions like these in a row, while also identifying a certain issue that my readers are struggling with, while also stating that I, too, have struggled with it.
Asking a series of questions set the expectation of a post that feels like a wonderful odyssey of new and important knowledge.
3. Surprise your readers
If your post is about something, start by writing about something else. Or if you never, ever mention your family or personal life, do that. If you’re not usually funny, step outside your comfort zone to surprise readers with something you don’t usually do – a joke.
Of course – the unexpected opening line should relate to your post’s topic on some level.
4. Share a story or anecdote
Telling short and fun stories to open posts can be one way of making sure your readers are willing to read your entire post.
Stories can be as short as a one liner or a bit longer. They can be your own personal stories or stories of someone else. They can be true or even fiction.
5. Make a promise
Promise your readers you are going to teach them something, help them solve an issue, or just make them laugh their hearts out.
This kind of opening line lets your readers know what to expect from the post itself, while also helping you get a feel for the overall tone of the piece.
6. Make a controversial statement
There’s nothing like the hint of controversy to grab people’s attention.
Strongly state your opinion on a company, product, or even another person. This type of opening works if your opinion is different from that of others.
This, in turn, will make readers curious to know why. And we are so, so curious…
7. Make them imagine
Imagination is kind of like magic. We are creating images inside our heads. Stuff that doesn’t exist, yet it feels real.
We can think of pink elephants running around our back yard, just as easily as we can see what’s outside our windows.
Engaging the imagination of your reader is a powerful thing which can evoke emotion, help them to get in touch with fear and feel needs but also give them real motivation to make change.
8. Share a cool statistic or info
Using a statistic that packs a punch can effectively communicate a need and grab attention.
I’ve done this by telling folks how many bloggers quit during their first few months of blogging, or how many blogs there are on the web right now.
Share some interesting fact, something that few folks are aware of. Such as the fact that mammoths were still alive when the first pyramids were being built in Egypt. Stuff like that.
9. Start with a quote
This is one that I do quite often, and it’s quite effective – if you use the right quote of course.
Using the words of some one other than yourself can bring authority and credibility to your post. It can also grab attention if you choose the right person.
10. Use an image
As they saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.
The key, of course, is to find an image that is on topic, that is striking, and that readers find compelling or intriguing.
If you want to make a great first impression, work on your opening lines. Try to make your readers feel as if they’re embarking on a wonderful and perilous journey. Paint vivid images inside their minds, and ask them questions they’ve been dying to find answers to.
Oh, and do tell me: what other techniques do you use to open your blog posts?