When you start a blog post, how many times do you write the first few words, then the first sentence, then decide you don’t like it?
I get it—I do this a lot.
The first few words of your blog post are part of your first impression. After the title, it’s what makes your reader want to keep reading. Your opening line can make or break your blog post.
Maybe you’re frustrated because you’ve just spent 20 minutes coming up with a killer title for your blog post, and now you have to worry about the opening sentence? I know, I know. I promise it gets more natural with practice.
Here are some tips to kick off your article to give your reader the momentum to keep reading:
1. Ask a question
If you got this far, I did an excellent job at getting you to dive into this blog post with the opening line. Notice how I opened this blog post? Starting your blog post with a question is a conversational way to pique a reader’s curiosity and make them feel engaged.
2. Look at the facts Jacq
Make sure your stat is both relevant and correct. The only thing worse than using a statistic to grab your reader by the shoulders to get them reading is to give bad data. If the statistic is interesting, unique, or maybe even shocking, you’ll nudge your reader to pay attention.
3. A famous or direct quote
At least when you use a quote, you don't need to come up with the right words. Digging for a quote can end up time-consuming though, so I recommend keeping a running list of quotes that have caught your eye. I use Evernote or Google Docs for this, and a plain notebook if I’m not at my computer. When using a quote, make sure it’s directly relevant to your blog post, and you attribute the quote to the right person.
4. Paint a picture with words
Give your readers a mental image to get their imagination fired up. You can do this by stating off with statements like, “imagine you’re,” “picture this,” “do you remember?”
5. Use a picture
A picture is worth 1,000 words, or at the very least, it can replace the first 30 words of a blog post. I prefer to use my own images in my blog posts and on my site. Stock photos are just so—stocky. If you have an artistic side, maybe create your own illustration. A picture should add to your story and help you stand out.
6. Get to the point
Readers don’t have time to sift through your 800-word blog post to figure out the point of your article. Do your readers a favor and tell them right away. “Wine is the lifeblood of humanity,” or “Smoking is killing you.”