The opening four notes to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony are the most popular notes in Western music.
Dun dun dun dum …
They are stormy. Heroic. Disorienting. Short enough to be remembered. Portentous enough to be memorable.
Today you’ll find those notes everywhere. In movies, commercials, and songs when the dramatic and foreboding are needed … And we hardly bat an eye.
We recognize them, we know them, and we love those first four notes. Not so for Beethoven’s opening night at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien in 1808.
One contemporary composer of Beethoven — one who represented the consensus — said, “That sort of music should not be written.”
But it was, and Beethoven has been well rewarded for his courage to create the remarkable.
In fact, when it comes to creating a blog post that opens with a bang, that’s exactly what you need … the remarkable.
Brian has already told you how to get there by using these five methods:
- Ask a question.
- Share an anecdote or quote.
- Invoke the mind’s eye.
- Use an analogy, metaphor or simile
- Cite a shocking statistic.
Now I’d like to give you ten examples of those five methods in practice … and why they work.
10 examples of blog posts that nailed their openings …
A Real Simple Solution to the Death of Google Reader
What makes this post work so well is that Jerod Morris hijacks the Pope’s resignation to talk about the impending death of Google Reader … tying both together with a plume of smoke. It’s a dramatic, vivid opening.
What’s Your Excuse for Not Achieving Your Goals?
Robert Bruce opens up with a headline that hits you in the gut. After you’ve taken a breath, you are then hit with the definition of the word “excuse” … complete with the pronunciation. After that he rolls out, staccato-style, a litany of typical excuses we’ve all been guilty of saying. It’s hard to pull yourself away. He completes it with the one-word question that makes us all keep reading.
How Three Drag Queens in a Bus Lead to Better Blogging
The headline is irresistible (and one of the best examples I can find of the fascination hook), and the first sentence is an enticing question. Then James Chartrand introduces the benefit to keep reading. Furthermore, this headline and opening is equally delicious for the inside joke … what we didn’t know about James when this post was published. And you can read that story here.
The #1 Conversion Killer in Your Copy (And How to Beat It)
Sonia Simone opens with the benefit first, asks a series of questions meant to identify a problem you can relate to, and then amplifies that problem with the next two sentences. Next, she anchors the problem with a vivid metaphor (the troll under the bridge), and finally proceeds to tell a story about her life … which is really about the jaded consumer.
8 Bad Habits that Crush Your Creativity And Stifle Your Success
That’s a great headline to begin with: creativity and success … and what you can do to enhance either … are bona fide attention getters for a mass audience. The 2,500 plus tweets and nearly 3,000 Facebook likes prove this. Dean Rieck then keeps the momentum going with a comical quote from Robert Frost … and launches into the science of intelligence and creativity.
The Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words
You can’t go wrong with a reference to one of the world’s best-loved movies: The Princess Bride. Talk about finding a cultural hook that will resonate! Brian Clark then hits our insecurities of looking dumb when it comes to misspelling words, making this opening irresistible, so we keep reading.
The Glass Ceiling, the Inner Circle, and the Key to Building a Popular Blog
Read any of Jon Morrow’s blog posts and you’ll encounter a killer opening. But this one is his best because he tells a story about himself that we ultimately all see ourselves in. And the cool part is you don’t even know it’s happening. You are just with Jon … his story … and falling down the page in a dream-like state.
The Eminem Guide to Becoming a Writing and Marketing Machine
This is another example of a personal story that works. And here’s why it works. Sean Platt, in less than ten paragraphs, makes an about turn on a topic he was utterly convinced about. And that he chose a controversial figure … one whom everyone in the world snubbed at one time. But, as Sean explains, you’ll change your mind as you discover the true quality of Eminem’s content.
8 Strange Rituals of Productive Writers
Writers love learning about other writers. Even the boring stuff like what they do when they wake up. But mention that these routines are strange, we strain our necks like were passing twisted wreckage on the side of the road. That’s what this headline accomplishes. In six plain words. But Kelton Reid doesn’t stop there. He then unfolds a yarn about baseball player Ichiro Suzuki’s odd care of his baseball bat … and it’s equally odd how Kelton even got that story.
How to Become an Exceptional Writer
Leave it to me to include my own article on a post about best openings, but I think this opening does one thing very well … it slowly leaks out a story that pulls the reader along … enhancing the story with concrete details, an international rock star, and concluding the opening with a short dialog that encourages the reader to keep reading.
Over to you …
Granted, while these blog posts are great, none of them will ever achieve the status of Beethoven’s dun dun dun dum … but that’s okay, because with a blog post all you need to do is get the attention of your reader, and keep it. And that’s why these blog post openings are truly remarkable.
Can you share other articles that open with a bang? On Copyblogger or elsewhere? Post in the comments below …