When a visitor lands on your content page, you only have a few seconds to capture their interest.
Without a good introduction, your writing will fall flat, whether it’s an article, blog post, essay or other piece of content. If your readers aren’t hooked in the first few sentences, they’ll stop reading.
A weak article introduction is a grave writing mistake because it fails to show readers why they should read the rest of the post. It also fails to show the reader what the post is about.
Needless to say, you need a killer introduction paragraph which makes your audience curious to learn more and find out what comes next.
So let’s talk about what makes for a good blog post introduction and how to write one, along with real introduction examples for inspiration.
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Ways To Write An Introduction
As I mentioned, your chance to grab the reader’s attention comes down to the first few sentences. The first couple paragraphs of your post need to be emotionally-appealing and hook your readers.
If you want to craft a strong content introduction paragraph, you need to show that your content has what they want right away. So here are the best ways to do so.
Relate With A Story/Anecdote
“I hired him!,” I told my colleague.
“Oh great. So the interview went well. Where is he from?” He asked.
“Umm.., I don’t know.” I said.
“What was the last company he worked for?”
“Aghh.. I don’t remember.”
“Well, then what do you know about this guy? Didn’t you see his resume?”
“He has a degree in psychology but he always wanted to be a web designer. So he taught himself on his own and started designing websites for nonprofits. At his last company, he joined as a junior designer but was promoted within 3 months and asked to supervise their design team.”
“So you don’t remember anything from his resume, but you remember his story!” My colleague chuckled.
You see what I did there? I told you a story to show you the importance of a story. People may forget everything you said, but not the points conveyed through a story.
When I started this section with a story, you were hooked, weren’t you? You wanted to know what’s happening in this story.
And you also got to see how embarrassingly absent-minded I can be in real life. So now you know a little something about me and have a sense of my personality. This makes us feel a little bit more connected to each other.
Stories make your article introduction relatable, understandable, and personal. They let people see your personality and connect more with you emotionally. You turn from a cold corporation to a warm bunch.
So show your readers with your stories that you have been through the same challenges, that you understand what they are going through, and what you did to solve the same problems.
Make The Reader Chuckle
Writing better introductions isn't just knowing how to inform, but how to perform. You're educating your audience, but you also need to entertain them.
Sadly, most brands frown at sprinkling some humor throughout the content. But this is understandable considering how challenging it is to get it right. It’s both risky and difficult.
You want to add a little fun and laughter to the conversation, but you also want to make sure you’re not offending any part of your target audience, or going too far in taunting competitors.
But if you can get it right, the dividends are plenty. Since most of the brands don’t do it, you have the chance to stand out in a big way. So try to make your blog post introduction fun to read and learn from.
Bonus Tip: If you’re looking for inspiration for adding jokes or funny banter to your content, it's a good idea to browse your favorite humor or viral websites every once in a while.
It will help you collect ideas you can use in your blog posts. Examples include Buzzfeed, 9Gag, Oatmeal, Funny Or Die etc. And there are plenty more. Keep a file of these ideas, which can come handy when writing great content.
Ask A Question
Asking a question makes your introduction paragraph more conversational. The question should be related to the topic as well as your readers.
It needs to be something they can ask themselves and ponder about. It also makes them stick around to see what your answer is.
Questioning can also be used to set the right context and make your audience feel the same way as you about something by triggering emotional reactions.
For example, instead of saying "X has done nothing to help our cause," you can ask "What has X ever done to help our cause?"
Or instead of saying,”I told you so many times to …,” you could ask, “How many times did I tell you to …?”
Or “The amount of pollution in the air is rising exponentially. How much more damage will it take for you to take this seriously?"
This triggers a stronger feeling than what you could have invoked with a statement.
Another idea is to ask a question which you intend to answer in the rest of your article. It could be a question you had about this topic when you didn’t know better.
In addition to communicating your thoughts, this type of question allows you to relate with the audience because many of them might have the same query. For example:
"As a real estate investor, you may be thinking 'What should I be focusing on this year for a healthy portfolio?”
Asking difficult questions and then providing answers also increases audience engagement.
Cite Original Research
Begin with an interesting statistic or hard fact. Even better if the statistic goes against commonly held beliefs and conventions. Controversy makes people interested.
Mentioning credible research is also great to boost the engagement potential of your content. Here’s an example:
However, link to high quality, up-to-date and reputable content only. For example, don’t link to a blog post or statistical study which is more than 5 years old.
Use An Expert Quote
Including a quote by an expert to support something you are saying in your content is one of the best ways to write an introduction. Here’s an introduction example:
You can either use a quote you read online on an influencer’s blog or website (as long as it’s still relevant), or you can reach out to them and request for a new one.
If you can, link back to that person or their website. Also remember that your quote should not be too long or should not form a substantial portion of the content that you are making. Otherwise, the quote may also be considered as plagiarism.
Explain The Urgency Of Your Topic
Your article has a purpose, right? The purpose is to address a specific problem. Just like the purpose of this article that you’re reading is to make writing content introductions easier.
But just because you know the purpose behind your content, doesn't mean the reader does too, unless you tell them.
It's your job to show why the topic is important and why it should matter to your readers. Why did you take all this effort to write about it, and why now?
This part of your article introduction has to be crystal clear and super tight. It should state only the most important points which prove the value of your topic.
Show The Promised Land
When considering how to write an introduction paragraph, think about what is the piece supposed to do for the reader?
What benefits they could get or problems they can avoid as a result of following what you said in your piece? How will their life or work change from this information?
If you started the right way, you’ll probably have an outcome in mind for the reader. So what better place than the content introduction to give them hope of that outcome.
Even better if you can share real success stories or case studies of what you or others achieved as a result of following this advice.
Make Sure The Intro Is Short
Once your blog post introduction goes beyond 4 (short) paragraphs, it’s too long. Pros understand the importance and power of a tight introduction.
That’s why they get to the point with concise intros. Quickly introduce your topic to your readers and get into the rest of the post.
Avoid Making The Intro Broad/Generic
A common mistake when writing an article introduction is to use generic facts which aren’t closely related to the topic you’re writing about.
For example, let’s say I am writing an article on common writing mistakes. And I want to include some interesting statistic or research study in the introduction part.
Since the topic of the content is writing mistakes, it’d be great if I could find some research or survey results on things like:
- What the most frequent mistakes are
- How often writers make those mistakes
- How much time they spend on proofreading and correcting mistakes
- How mistakes affect reader perception or bottom line
Insights like these would be great because they directly relate to my topic. What’s not okay is trying to begin with generic statistics like how popular content writing is or how much content is being published everyday.
While broad facts are also interesting, they don’t add as much value to an intro as the specific insights directly related to the topic at hand. So whenever possible, try to find facts which are closer to your topic.
Build Suspense Towards The Big Reveal
Begin with the conclusion that you’re going to prove to them by the end. Then write in a way that builds suspense as to how you reached the conclusion, before you show them step by step. Here’s an example:
There are a number of things that make this blog post introduction great. It immediately grabs attention by mentioning an accomplishment.
But then it does something unexpected by cautioning against what the writer did to achieve the goal.
In just a few lines, this introduction has captivated the reader and built suspense towards a life lesson.
If your readers are making a mistake somewhat knowingly, use the introduction paragraph to call them out on their BS.
If they are doing something wrong unknowingly, tell them and say it’s not their fault. You are going to help make things right.
So those were my best pointers on writing an introduction. Feeling inspired yet? Great.
The next time you find yourself stuck on a content introduction and dreadfully staring at a blank page, I hope these tips and examples would help you to find the motivation and write a killer article introduction paragraph.
Did I miss anything? Did you try following these tips? Do you have any questions or comments? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.