Imagine being swooned on a first date in a fancy restaurant. There’s champagne, engaging conversation and a menu too good to display a single price. Now imagine the second date at some dodgy fast food joint. Through the florescent lighting, grease and boring conversation you start to believe that this person may not be who you thought he was. Don Juan has clearly turned out to be a toad. This is what can happen to your blog posts if you’re not careful.
Just imagine how your readers might feel if they open your blog post due to a killer title only to find that your intro paragraph is a complete bore. It’s a disappointment, a tease and loses your readers faster than your dog stealing a pork chop. You need to learn how to write an engaging headline, followed by an equally engaging opening.
Here are 5 ways to capture your audience’s attention and keep them reading:
- Ask a Question: Opening your post with a question is a rhetorical device (hence, the “rhetorical question”) that creates curiosity and gets the reader thinking. Thinking equals active engagement with your writing, and that’s a very good thing.
- Share an Anecdote or Quote: Anecdotes are quick stories that can make people laugh or immediately establish the main point of your post. A nice quote from a recognizable authority or famous person can also work wonders when holding attention in those crucial opening seconds.
- Invoke the Mind’s Eye: Producing a mental image in a reader’s mind is one of the most powerful things you can ever do as a writer, so expressly engaging the imagination is a powerful opening technique. Activate the mind’s eye of the reader by using words like “imagine,” “picture this,” “do you remember when,” etc.
- Use an Analogy, Metaphor or Simile: Analogies, metaphors and similes are some of the most powerful devices available when it comes to telling a story in a single sentence. This is a great way to capture a reader’s attention and also acts to provoke mental imagery that allows readers to tell a story to themselves.
- Cite a Shocking Statistic: Starting off with an interesting factoid is also a great technique. People love being provided with interesting data, but only if it is unique, startling, or even shocking. The statistic should also be directly relevant to the point of your post as well.
- Bonus Tip: The third most important part of your blog post is the closing. A great way to close is to tie back into your opening.