How to Write A Badass Opening to Your Blog Post

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    Key Points

    • The introduction paragraph is the second most important thing in a blog post, and should be taken as seriously as a headline.
    • The better the "hook" you create, the more people will be interested in what the rest of your article has to say.
    • Opening with methods like humor, using metaphors and sharing shocking statistics are always effective.
    • Images, drop caps and even custom styling make opening paragraphs even more interesting to read.

    Summary

    The opening paragraph is one of the most important things to a post, and you need to be able to write one that truly kicks ass. The more you can tie it into the headline, the more effective it will be in keeping a user interested in your article.

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by Alex

Would you believe me if I told you that the first few lines of an article are the most important? It’s not very hard to believe, as a good opening to any sort of writing is completely necessary if you want to gain a reader’s interest.

Keep in mind that the most important thing to grab somebody’s attention is not the opening paragraph(s), but the headline of your article. Your introductory paragraphs need to be compelling and interesting by all means, but they are only important if you can create a headline that gets people clicking.

Since I have talked plenty about creating amazing headlines before, I won’t talk about it here. What I want to go over now are the best ways to open a blog post; the second most important thing in writing. Just like a headline, the way you open your post can be the factor that determines whether or not someone will read your post or leave it. And if you were lucky enough to get a person to click your headline, you better know how to keep them reading.

Creating the “Hook”

Creating the “hook” (or “creative lead“) is a bulletproof way to grab anyone’s interest. The hook you come up with needs to be short, but very interesting. Just read around any blog with a persuasive writer behind it, and you will find a very enticing opening to just about any article on their blog.

Grabbing an interest in one sentence (that’s generally how long a hook should be) can be either very easy or very difficult. Sometimes, the sentence will just come naturally and will be no problem to write. But other times, it will be very difficult to write. It’s important that your hook is the best it can be, so don’t think of it as a waste of time spending 15 to 20 minutes on it.

The best hooks are short and simple, and can immediately capture anyone’s interest. There are some great methods of making your hooks very effective, and can make coming up with one very simple:

  • Start with a surprising fact or statistic: It’s amazing how powerful this is. The more interesting the information you have, the more interested people will become, right? What works better than amazing a reader with a shocking statistic? Example: Every 10-13 seconds, someone gets divorced.
  • Open with a quotation: If you can open an article with the words of an authority figure, or just a very powerful and meaningful quote, you will find that more and more people will develop an interest in your article. Example: “Happiness depends on ourselves” — Aristotle
  • Ask a question: This works in headlines, so why couldn’t it work for an introductory paragraph? Try to ask a question that may not be able to be answered unless your article is read, or just ask something that relates very closely to the headline of your article. Example: Do you know what the most important thing in a blog post is?
  • Speak metaphorically: Metaphors are very powerful literary devices, and are very thought-provoking. If you can pick a good enough metaphor that relates to your headline, you are bound to get people thinking and reading. Example: Life is a dream
  • Be humorous: What’s a better way to connect with someone who’s being funny? If you can make someone laugh, or even smirk once – they will most likely keep reading your article so you can make them do it again. Example: Statistics have shown that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25.

Formatting

Have you ever thought about the formatting of your first paragraph? There are actually a few ways you can really spice the look up of your introduction to make it look more aesthetically pleasing. The better you can make something look, the better the chance of you grabbing someone’s attention will be.

1. Drop cap

There is a drop cap used in every post here, and it looks really nice. It’s a simple little technique, and is very popular with newspapers and magazines, but works with blogging no problem. Want to create a drop cap for yourself? You just need a little code:

  1. Firstly, wrap this tag around the first letter in your content: <span class="drop_cap">H&#60/span>
  2. Add this to your CSS (values may need adjusting):


    .drop_cap { float: left; font-size: 3em; margin: 0 0.5em 0.5em 0; }

And just like that, you can have a cool looking drop cap at the beginning of all your blog posts with little effort to style.

Opening paragraph custom font styles

The difference between the opening text & body text

2. Special font style

Have you ever thought how changing the font attributes would have an impact on the look of your opening paragraph? By that I mean, changing the font family, changing the color, or even changing the style. Take UXBooth for example. Their body text has the following font attributes:

  • Font: Verdana
  • Size: 12px
  • Color: #3D3F40
  • Style: Normal

But if you take a look at their opening paragraph alone, they have the following font attributes:

  • Font: Georgia
  • Size: 15px
  • Color: #656565
  • Style: Italic

Do you think these changes have any impact on the effectiveness of the opening paragraph?

3. Images

You hear it time and time again, but it’s very important nonetheless. An image can really make a headline “pop” and stand out, just as it can help your opening paragraph. The more you can relate an image to your opening paragraph, the more a reader will understand the main idea of your article. Even look for an image that uses one of the “hook” techniques I mentioned above – humorous, metaphors, shocking, etc.

How serious do you take your introduction?

The opening paragraph is one of the most important things to a post, and you need to be able to write one that truly kicks ass. The more you can tie it into the headline, the more effective it will be in keeping a user interested in your article.

What tips could you share that will make the introduction to an article much better? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

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