First impressions matter.
If you meet someone for the first time and it goes poorly, it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to change their opinion about you.
It’s gotta go back to the first humans. They had to make quick decisions in order to live. See a tiger, gotta decide quickly if it’s a threat. Even seeing another human…gotta decide now if they’re friendly or trying to steal your food.
Things aren’t quite as critical today as a hundred thousand years ago, but we still have those same instincts. And usually those instincts are pretty accurate.
When it comes to blogging, the intro is very important. I’ve noticed that people click on a link to a post, read the first sentence or two and then scan the headings. Those few seconds determine if they continue reading and taking in the content.
So if you want to offer the best blog intros possible, here are a few tips…
1. With The Answer
Some people like to build up to the answer in blog posts. But in recent years the better approach seems to be to offer the answer right away in the intro.
I think Google figured this out in recent years. If you search for the date, for example, the first result is the date and a few other details. It’s an instant answer. No clicking. No scrolling. You just get the answer.
Voice search is like this as well with Alexa and things like that. You ask a question and you get an answer.
Humans value time. As bloggers, you can either make people wait or answer their question immediately. I think it’s better to answer immediately and if appropriate also provide more context and value with the rest of the post.
2. With An Anecdote
One way to draw the attention of someone is to tell a story. A short little story that makes people stay until the end. I like to start posts out once in awhile with a story from my life. Sometimes personal. Sometimes professional.
People like stories. We learn from stories. We pull our own lessons from stories. One person might hear a story and learn one thing while another learns something else.
3. With A Bold Statement
When it seems like everybody is saying and thinking one thing it can really capture the attention of an audience if you say the opposite. Or if you at least say something very different. To the point that it almost short circuits the brain of readers and their entire focus is honed in to your words to figure out what the heck is going on.
4. With A Question
Ways that get people to pause and think usually grab their attention. Asking the reader a question with the first sentence in a blog post can cause that effect.
As with all of these, you don’t necessarily want to do the same thing with every post, but asking a question can often be a great way to open a post.
And really these all begin with the intro, but also the title. Some great blog post titles are questions. Some great first words are questions.
Let’s say you’re writing a post titled: The Wyoming Land Opportunity
You start the post by writing: Do you know what land is Wyoming costs?
That’s a great way to grab the attention of readers. Most people don’t know, but now you have them thinking about it and that hooks them.
5. With A Quote
Quotes are another common and great way to kick off blog posts. A quote from an expert. A quote from a celebrity. They can add context and social proof to the topic that the person is going to read about in the rest of the post.
6. With An Interview
Let’s say you’re writing about dentistry. You could interview a dentist and start the post with a question and the dentist’s answer.
It’s kind of like a story. It’s kind of like a question. It’s kind of like a quote. You’re combining multiple intro hooks and it’s a great way to pull people into a post right away.
Podcasts are often good at this when they instantly start with a question and answer from later in the podcast.
7. With An Overview
Kind of a basic one here. You describe in short version what will come later in the post. Kind of like a table of contents in a book. It’s a great way for people to get a taste of what to expect before they commit a great deal of time. Good for longer posts.
8. With A Recap
Similar to overview, but a little different. You kind of give away some of your good stuff early. Just summarize it, but provide the answers as you would in the conclusion, but do it early so people instantly get value and can dig into it more if they want the key details.
9. With An Action Sequence
Movies often begin with some kind of action. They know that they need to grab attention right away or they’re going to lose focus. Especially today when people can instantly find something else to watch.
This could be like a story that we discussed early where you build suspense or get the reader wondering what is going to happen.
10. In The Middle
Sometimes we take awhile to get to the point. We get verbose and try to really explain what is going to come. Instead of doing that, just cut out your normal intro and start in the middle of your post. Just get right into the details that the person is looking for when they come to your post.
Many people would do well to just skip the intro and get right to the good stuff.
The intro is very important for the success of a blog post. People are wired to make quick decisions in life. Time is precious and if they don’t like your intro they will leave because they know that more often than not a bad intro means a bad post. Improve your intros and improve the engagement with your content.