What’s the second most important part of your blog post after the title?
Master copywriter Eugene Schwartz often spent an entire week on the first 50 words of a sales piece — the headline and the opening paragraph.
Just imagine how disappointed you’d be after crafting a killer headline for your post, only to lose readers with an opening that failed to carry the momentum. A great headline mixed with a lame opening is like inviting someone into your house, only to slam the door in their face as they approach.
So, here are 5 ways to open your post that will capture the reader’s imagination and pull them deeper into your content.
1. Ask a Question
Opening your post with a question is a rhetorical device (hence, the “rhetorical question”) that creates curiosity and gets the reader thinking. Thinking equals active engagement with your writing, and that’s a very good thing.
2. Share an Anecdote or Quote
Anecdotes are quick stories that can make people laugh or immediately establish the main point of your post. A nice quote from a recognizable authority or famous person can also work wonders when holding attention in those crucial opening seconds.
3. Invoke the Mind’s Eye
Producing a mental image in a reader’s mind is one of the most powerful things you can ever do as a writer, so expressly engaging the imagination is a powerful opening technique. Activate the mind’s eye of the reader by using words like “imagine,” “picture this,” “do you remember when,” etc.
4. Use an Analogy, Metaphor or Simile
Analogies, metaphors and similes are some of the most powerful devices available when it comes to telling a story in a single sentence. This is a great way to capture a reader’s attention and also acts to provoke mental imagery that allows readers to tell a story to themselves.
5. Cite a Shocking Statistic
Starting off with an interesting factoid is also a great technique. People love being provided with interesting data, but only if it is unique, startling, or even shocking. The statistic should also be directly relevant to the point of your post as well.
Bonus Tip: The third most important part of your blog post is the closing. A great way to close is to tie back into your opening.
So, which of the 5 techniques did I NOT use in the opening to this post?
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Want to learn more about this topic?
Then listen to this short podcast episode called How to Nail Your Opening with Jerod Morris and Demian Farnworth. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Lede once you’re done.