Recently, I chose to open a blog post with a story about my husband’s post-vasectomy frozen peas and breast cancer awareness.
It was funny. It made a point.
And it caught my readers’ attention.
“The most important sentence in any article is the first one. If it doesn’t induce the reader to proceed to the second sentence, your article is dead.
– William Zinsser, On Writing Well
A great opening to your article is like a peek at the beautiful trail ahead. Your reader won’t be able to resist taking the next step. And the good news is that there are some tried and true methods to help you open a blog post. I’ll offer a few suggestions to get you started.
Tell a story.
Everybody loves a story. Whether it’s funny, touching, or frustrating, a story draws the reader in and personalizes the point of your post. I mean, don’t you want to know about the frozen peas?*
Ask a question.
A well-crafted question will arouse curiosity and actively engage your reader.
“Why should your readers keep reading your blog posts?” could have kicked off this particular article.
The answer of course is that you have made that first sentence so darn interesting they can’t turn away.
Use a quote.
A quote from someone with authority on your topic can open a blog post with immediate credibility. The bonus here is that the person quoted has done all the work of sounding clever and pithy. Score! Be aware that this device can be (and is often) overused. Just choose wisely and make sure the quote is completely on topic. Do it well and you can make it work for you.
Share a shocking statistic or fun fact.
We all love these amusing little nuggets, and if you can catch your reader’s attention with one, you will probably have them hooked. Writing an article about UTIs? Your reader might like to know that 20 percent of people pee in the pool. (But since urine is normally sterile, it’s no biggie. Except ewww.)
Paint a picture.
If you can get your reader to imagine a scene or scenario with your first sentence, they are in it for the long haul. Consider starting your post with, “Imagine…” or “Can you remember a time…?”.
There are other great ways to open a blog post, of course. But next time you are stuck, give one of these a try. This will get you moving so you can get your great content out there and read.