There’s no coming back from a badly-written introduction. If you haven’t grabbed your reader’s attention by the first or second sentence, chances are you’ve already lost them.
So, what’s the purpose of an intro? Isn’t it better to jump straight to the juicy bits and cut the small talk? After all, 55% of readers spend less than 15 seconds on your online article.
Well, there’s nothing more dull than a long-winded intro. But it is actually good to write a few opening paragraphs to outline and set up what’s to come. So make sure what you’re writing is truly captivating – here are five hacks to hook your reader and keep them interested.
Our 15 seconds are up. Are you still with us?
Keep your first sentence short
Snappy and punchy, yes please. If sentences are overly long and indigestible, readers won’t want to go beyond the first line.
Remember there’s a lot of value in a short opening sentence. Not to blow our own trumpet, but look again to our opening one. It’s simple and straightforward – readers don’t have to work too hard.
Hook them with a problem
People want to gain things from the content they read online. Yours should be valuable and the intro needs to explain how you’re going to help them. Use a common pain point problem to show that you’re empathetic and equipped to make their lives better.
Provide valuable context
Your introduction is also an opportunity to provide useful context. Draw your readers in by setting up the backstory of why the subject is so important to talk about.
This context may come in the form of quotes, statistical figures, or a personal story that’s relevant and relatable. It’s all about sparking curiosity.
Don’t over explain
Although you’ll want to summarise the subject at hand, you also don’t want to over-explain. Leave the nitty-gritty details for later.
Let the readers know what they’re in for, by dedicating just one or two sentences for explanations. No more details are needed at this point.
Don’t just repeat the title
Your intro should be eye-catching and unexpected – be unusually creative in the ways you introduce the topic. Think outside of the ordinary, with an interesting point of view – giving readers a valid reason to keep going.
With that said, the number one rule is to not repeat the title. Your readers already know what they’re in for, so give them something else to think about.
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We hope that these hacks will come in handy when the dreaded writer’s block next hits.
If you do end up stuck staring at a blinking cursor with no introductory words to say, just skip for now and come back with fresh eyes – or give this another read!