The blank page.
It is terrifying, and if you are not used to creating regular, fresh content for a blog, the fear can put an end to your content marketing efforts before they even begin.
We have all sat down and stared at the blank word document, tormented by the flashing cursor, and felt the same paralysis over what to write for the opening line. You have a topic, and a basic plan for the structure, tone and outcome of the article – but you just can’t seem to write the first few words…
In this article we will show you how to start a blog post in a way that makes a connection, and makes the reader want to read all the way to the end…
Are you still reading? Phew! We must have got it right this time…
The first line is vital. Nine out of ten readers won’t read beyond it, which gives you around twenty words to make an impact and grab their attention. Twenty words to inspire, amuse and captivate so that they simply can’t resist reading on.
Twenty words that must be planned and crafted to perfection.
“Your opening line really does matter—readers will make a snap decision about whether to read your post by how you open that post, both in the headline or title and the opening line.”
Web audiences are slippery creatures. If you lose their attention at any time they’ll just click away, simple as that. So it is vital that the opening line to any blog or web copy gets them on the hook. The job of the rest of the article is not to let that fish get away. There is no standard right way to start a blog post, but a few tried and tested formulas will make for engaging and interesting opening lines. Let’s have a look at five of the best:
1. A Question
Starting your blog with a question appeals to anyone that identifies with the need it addresses. It intrigues the reader, and makes them want to read on to find out the answer. For example, we recently wrote a blog post entitled ‘Is Your Content Boring?’ and started by quoting a common question among bloggers -‘Why isn’t my content being shared?’ Readers can identify with both questions, and want to find out the solution. We have all been in their shoes at some time or other!
2. A Statistic
I thought about starting this article in the following way – “Did you know that nine out of ten readers will click away after the first line?” I decided to use it later on in the end, but a statistic like this serves very well as an opening line. In stating that nine out of ten readers click away after the first line, I would have established the clear need for a hard-hitting first line, and hence this article.
3. A Need or Problem
The blank page – that’s a problem. Stating a need or problem that you will address in the article is a great way to encourage your readers to read on.
4. A Quote
“To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement.”
Starting a blog article with a quote from someone famous or a figure of authority in your business can be a great way to make an impact with your opening line. It sets the tone for the article, and makes the reader sit up and pay attention to what comes next. It can also add weight to your main arguments.
5. Make a Claim
“This post will help you write killer opening lines!”
That would be one way to start a blog post with a claim. It’s a promise tied to the post that the reader will want to cash in by reading it until the end.
Well, here we are, at the end of the article, and you’re still with us. Thank you! We hope that you feel a little better equipped to nail your opening lines.
Before you go, I’ll let you into a little secret. As I come to the end of the article, I still haven’t written the first line… That’s our final tip. Don’t write the opening line until you are sure what the article is about, which for us means right at the end. Or, to quote a vastly superior craftsman once again:
“The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction.”
Leave some time once you have written the article for head-scratching, pacing and planning, to make sure that first line sings.
If you would like us to help you create blog content that captivates your audience, check out one of our blogging packages today!