Master copywriter Eugene Schwartz often spent an entire week on the first 50 words of a sales piece — the headline and the opening paragraph.
A great headline mixed with a weak opening is like inviting someone into your house, only to slam the door in their face as they approach.
So, here are five ways to open your post that will capture the reader’s imagination and pull them deeper into your content.
1. Ask a question
Opening your post with a question is a rhetorical device (hence, the “rhetorical question”) that creates curiosity and gets the reader thinking.
Thinking equals active engagement with your writing, and that’s a very good thing.
2. Share an anecdote or a quote
A relevant quote from a recognizable authority can also work wonders when holding attention in those crucial opening seconds.
3. Invoke the mind’s eye
Producing a mental image in a reader’s mind is one of the most powerful things you can ever do as a writer, so expressly engaging the imagination is a powerful opening technique.
Activate the mind’s eye of the reader by using words like “imagine,” “picture this,” “do you remember when,” etc.
4. Use an analogy, a metaphor, or a simile
Analogies, metaphors, and similes are some of the most powerful devices available when it comes to telling a story in a single sentence.
This is a great way to capture a reader’s attention and also acts to provoke mental imagery that allows readers to tell a story to themselves.
5. Cite a persuasive statistic
Starting off with an interesting factoid that the reader just can’t ignore is also a great technique.
People love discovering new data, but only if it is unique, startling, or even shocking. The statistic should also be directly relevant to the point of your post as well.
The third most important part of your blog post is the closing. A smart way to close is to tie back into your opening.
So, take a few minutes to review this post for which of the five techniques I didn’t use in the opening.