Anxious about the first sentence of your blog? As marketing genius Seth Godin says, “I define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance.” In other words, give yourself (and your blog a chance) before getting stuck in the doom and gloom of worrying about your writing and creating self-fulfilling prophecies in the process.
The introduction to any piece of writing sets the tone for the rest of the content. As it is the first words read after the headline, it needs to be carefully crafted in order to motivate your audience to continue to read and engage with your writing. #noPressure
Feeling a tad intimidated to start off with your intro? If this is the case, then it may be an idea to write the main body of your content first, before even attempting the introduction. In that way, you will be comfortable with the content which can help alleviate the challenge of creating the very first sentence.
In this blog we hope to dispel (or at least diminish) your concerns by looking at key ideas to get you started on a powerful introduction (wherever it fits in your writing schedule). And while this is by no means an exhaustive list, it includes key principles which can be applied to any genre of writing, including your blog.
1 – Variation of sentence length
Short sentences help to grab your reader’s attention, especially at the beginning of your blog. This can be varied with longer sentences to create a contrasting rhythm, providing further interest for the reader. Shorter sentences, on the other hand, can make information more accessible, making it easier for the reader to understand, encouraging your audience to continue.
2 – Attention 101
You want your reader to take notice of you blog right from the start. This can be achieved using various strategies to engage your reader.
Strategies can include a question or a quote. Include something that the reader will find interesting or challenging so that they are motivated to read further.
3 – Set up reader’s expectation
A sense of expectation can be achieved by the writing style which sets up the tone and flow of the piece of writing. In this way the reader can predict the contents of the blog in terms of its relevance and its value.
4 – Length of introduction
Look at having an introduction around 2 paragraphs in length. While your reader needs the introduction to get a sense of the topic and the blog, the reader also wants to get to the essence of the blog, moving on to the body which contains the main information.
5 – Outline objectives
Sharpen your reader’s focus on your topic by outlining what you will be discussing in the blog. This is done by stating your intentions, so that your reader has a clear idea of what to expect.
This is also good for SEO, providing the perfect opportunity to insert keywords and phrases which outline the reason for the blog post.
Allow your introduction to function as a transition to the body of your writing. This reinforces the sense of flow while setting the scene and providing the context for the information which follows.
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