Tips to Hook Your Readers in the First Paragraph
Is your goal to help clients make more sales? Want people to follow through on the desired call to action? If you have managed to pull your reader in with a great title the next important factor to whether they continue reading or not is the first paragraph. If that first paragraph is not engaging and does not make them believe that you have something worth reading to follow, they will leave very quickly.
A good starting paragraph will make readers excited to read more and it will make them look forward to the advice or information that is to follow. If you follow through, they will want more and come back to sign up for your newsletter or respond to your call to action.
Here are some ways to entice readers in your leading paragraph:
- Address a problem. Problems you have had in the past are likely similar to problems that you audience faces. Share your experiences. Share your failures and, more importantly, share your success. Let them know what has worked for you.
- Share mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes but few people admit to them – especially online. If you share your mistakes your readers will feel more connected to you and they will trust you. If you tell them where you made mistakes they can avoid doing the same thing.
- Use statistics. Statistics can demonstrate a point. They can shock and surprise. They make your readers want to know more about how such a statistic came to exist, especially if it applies to them personally. When you use statistics, share your source to give your words more validity.
- Use current news. The news is a great place to find ideas and by bringing them something new that applies to their business or their interests they will continue to look to you as a source for information. Using newsworthy items in your first paragraph can be good even if it is something they have heard before if you can apply it to your topic in a new way.
- Tell a story. A story that is brief and to the point can illustrate things in new ways. It can give your topic a fresh perspective that your readers have not considered before. While stories are very entertaining they can be great learning tools, as well. You can make your points throughout your writing point back at various facts of the story as well, to show relevance as your article continues.
- Show, don’t tell. Use imagery to show readers why they need to continue reading your blog post. You might use a statement like “Imagine yourself…” or “Picture your…” to help the reader get an image in their head of themselves in a specific situation. Once they have that image in their head they will want to know what comes next. They will want to know what it will take to get into that position or what got them into that spot.
Tweaking and refining your first paragraph isn’t only important to keep readers on the page. If your article is meant for the web, many times only the first few lines are displayed on other sites (as in widgets, aggregators or feeds) and a link to the remainder oft the article appears at the bottom of the text snippet. If those first few lines won’t hook your reader, they won’t bother clicking on the link to read the rest of your message.
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