So, you’ve hit upon a subject of guaranteed interest to your readers. You’ve done the research and come up with a structure sure to keep people engaged.
However, the optimism and excitement are dashed away in an instant as your focus turns to the blank page. Your mind turns to marshmallow as you wonder, how am I going to start this blog?
You can take some consolation in the knowledge that the introduction is widely considered the most difficult part of a blog to write.
There’s the pressure of knowing that it will either encourage or dissuade the audience from continuing to the main content. You must include enough information to engage the reader from the start and give a tasty teaser of what’s to come.
However, successful use of the tactics outlined in this blog could make all the difference.
The blog introduction should be composed of three key elements:
The hook is the opening sentence and it should forcefully connect with the reader, like a punch from the destructive Deontay Wilder. Marketing expert Neil Patel says that the hook should be “specific, brief, and interesting”.
Once you’ve set the reader up with a powerful hook it’s time to move on to the transition.
This may take the form of a single sentence or short section that effectively leads the reader into the main body of your blog. The transition should feed nicely into the thesis; where you provide a general summary and give the reader a firm nudge to keep going.
The three elements are included to good effect in this compelling introductory paragraph:
Do you like panning for gold? This last winter, a team of eight rugged mountain men trekked through howling winds and blinding snow into the most remote area of Alaska. The goal: to hopefully find some gold. After two months of crushing disappointment, this group of prospectors stumbled upon the biggest find of their lives! Three weeks later, the team emerged to tell their story. In this article, I’ll tell you all about it.
Now that we have the basic structure covered I’ll let you in on a few strategies for complete engagement.
First up, it’s worth emphasising that you should be on the same page as the reader. The greater the level of understanding and empathy you are able to show, the greater the inclination to reciprocate in the reading of your blog.
You could present a problem that the audience is sure to recognise and the incentive of a solution in the main content.
Another top tip is to write in the reader’s language.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should dumb down your blog or completely avoid the use of technical terms. However, you should consider the characteristics and knowledge held by your audience.
You should also think about the emotions that the readers are likely to be feeling and write accordingly.
The reader might be feeling:
You are encouraged to think about the effects of these emotions on the reading experience and set your words down in the appropriate fashion.
Perhaps you’ll play on the sense of excitement in the writing of short sentences, featuring plenty of action. Alternatively, you could reflect the sense of confidence with flourishing sentences incorporating bold words such as strength, courage, and wisdom.
If you’re really keen to show that you’re on the side of your reader then you could incorporate a question or two. How about telling the reader that the use of a writing technique could boost their conversions by 50%?
Or might you be so bold as to ask your reader why they are so unlucky in love?
Just remember that an investment of time is being made in reading your blog and avoid writing that could be considered patronising.
There is a wonderful mixture of storytelling techniques that could be used to immerse the reader in the theme of your blog.
You could set the key protagonist in a world of some familiarity to the reader. They could be immersed through the painting of a vivid picture; using words which will give a clear sense of place and physical sensation.
Consider the crafting of story in this introduction by Roz Savage:
“In March 2006, I found myself, at 38, divorced, no kids, no home, and alone in a tiny rowing boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. I hadn’t eaten a hot meal in two months. I’d had no human contact for weeks because my satellite phone had stopped working. All four of my oars were broken, patched up with duct tape and splints. I had tendinitis in my shoulders and saltwater sores on my backside.
“I couldn’t have been happier….”
You can add to the sense of credibility through the inclusion of statistics in your introduction. There is also the option of blending quotes from revered and respected authorities. Such authority will rub off on the reader’s perception of you as a thought leader.
However, it will be important to maintain this sense of respect; taking the effort to double-check all of the facts and figures.
Right now you might be feeling a little overwhelmed by the array of introductory writing techniques. It might be best to go away and let the subconscious do its work.
Alternatively, you could leave the introduction until you have the written the main body. This might allow you to clarify and produce a clear opening that effectively engages your audience.