Reading and skimming are two very different things. For better or worse, the majority of visitors to your blog are going to prefer the latter. It’s on you to turn them into readers, quickly.
People spend a lot of time skimming articles on the web without actually reading much of anything. This creates a pretty high-pressure situation for bloggers to write an intro that might entice just a few of those skimmers to hold off on clicking away and stick around for at least a minute or two.
Here are 5 questions to ask yourself about the intro of your next blog post:
Is this new?
Starting off your post with old, tired information is a surefire way to lose readers before you’ve even made your point. I’m not saying old information isn’t important and shouldn’t be included elsewhere in your post – it just doesn’t belong in your introduction. “New” is exciting. It’s interesting. It makes your reader think, “I want to know more,” which is exactly what you want to happen.
What’s my point?
The web is busting at the seams with blogs. If your post’s main point isn’t clear from the start, your reader is going to head elsewhere, and fast. This doesn’t mean giving up all of the juicy details straight away. It just means you need to let the reader know where you’re headed, and that it’s worth coming along for the ride.
Is it interesting?
Unless you’re reporting hard news, there’s no need to be cut and dry. Open with a powerful statistic or quote. Lead with an exciting announcement or an unusual observation. Tell a story. Get creative in your approach—just make sure it’s relevant.
Am I making my reader feel something?
If a reader is on your site, looking at your blog, there is a good chance that they’re already on board with what you’re doing. Or, at the very least, they’re curious about your work. Use that. Leverage their interest by targeting an emotion—excitement, sympathy, outrage—whatever makes the most sense. Use that emotion to establish a connection between the reader and your content. Not sure how to do this? I’ll get to it.
Tell your reader why what you’re writing about matters. Spell out exactly why they should care. This is a great opportunity to elicit that emotional response I mentioned above and establish a more personal connection between the reader and your message. By answering “so what?” in your intro, you’re telling your reader why they should keep reading.
Do you have any tips for writing a great introduction? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Image courtesy of Petras Gagilas