So you’ve managed to keep them on the page by creating an engaging headline, now you need to set the tone for the rest of your blog and you got less than sixty words to make that happen.
The lead is as powerful as your headline so you might as well dedicate some time and intellectual pains to get it right. It would be a shame to have a blast of a headline but only a mediocre lead.
1. Surprise, Shock, Make them Wonder
Tell them something that will leave them in awe, something unexpected that will make them to emotionally react (whether positively or negatively is irrelevant).
You can open your post with a weird fact or a statistical figure that’s absurd or plain impossible. This will make your readers wonder about your intentions and in a sense force them to read further on to find out.
Open with a question, it might be logical or ridiculous, just as long as you manage to catch their attention,
“My desperation has hit a new high, had dog food for breakfast.”
The idea is to preserve or even intensify the momentum you’ve created in your headline.A killer lead will reassure the reader they made a good choice reading further into your post, so prove them right!
3. Engage their imagination
Use imagery and power words that can convey strong meanings and produce intense reactions in the reader.
Don’t go for obnoxious, mile-long words no one understands, rather opt for short but effective words that will incite your reader’s imagination and have them want more.
4. Encourage active participation
Readers love reading blogs with opening paragraphs that address them directly. A reader invests their time reading your writing, so they do deserve proper taking account of.
You need to address every single reader, to make them feel you’re talking to them and only them. They won’t bother reading something that might as well apply to a Martian.
However, if you acknowledge them they are encouraged to be involved, even if the most active thing they will do is read your post carefully.
5. Relate through an anecdote or a quote
Give them a piece of you, if possible, an honest such piece, but a made-up one will do. Share an anecdote, a funny or embarrassing story that will make your readers willing to know about it more.
If your blog doesn’t allow getting too personal (which is rather a contradiction in terms) you can address them as: “Remember when you” or “Back then we didn’t need to”.
Quotations from well-known figures is another way you can begin your posts as readers are usually drawn to reading those. Again, you can easily use a quote just to contradict it later on, which evidently comes across as more engaging than simply agreeing to it is.
6. Do it like the Pros
Every single ad is about a non-existing problem we somehow must solve at all costs. You can do the same with your lead paragraph, pose a problem or dilemma to your reader, make them feel there’s an issue requiring their attention. And (not at all) surprisingly, you will be the one catering to that need!
So your goal is to present a problem, the imperative need for fixing it and the promise to solve it further down your post. In a sense, the lead paragraph becomes the advertising segment of your post. Mischievous? Perhaps. Successful? Definitely.
7. Figures of Speech
Imagery is a powerful linguistic tool. Using it creatively will help you get your readers’ attention. Metaphors, similes and analogies are great tools for producing intense imagery. Why they work? Because they manage to convey whole events and complicated ideas in short sentences. “I was seeing pink elephants again yesterday. I feel an intervention is on its way.”
As you can see there are a lot of tools at your service for creating opening paragraphs that encourage your readers to stick with you. Taking your time to craft an effective lead will be rewarding in any way you see it.