5 Quick Tips to Capture Your Readers’ Attention in the First Paragraph

 

The First Paragraph

 

How should I start my first paragraph?

Where do I begin? And that’s the first tip I found to write the first paragraph of your blog….. ask a question!  Your introduction is where you are going to give your readers an outline of the problem you’re about to solve. It is really important if you want to capture your readers’ attention. My internet research suggests that the following structure will really work for your introduction:

  1. Present a problem
  2. Set up the solution – what your post will be about
  3. State why it’s important to get it right.

I found this great format for the first paragraph in an old HubSpot post, The Foolproof Formula for Writing a Solid Blog Post by Corey Eridon which makes it super simple!

Have you ever tried to ___________? If so, you’ll know that it’s difficult because ___________________________. So what do you do? Many people have found success by using ___________________. But there are a few things you should know before you buy and implement a ___________ to ensure ____________. This post will tell you what you need to know to make sure you select a ____________________ that will let you successfully ________________.

As Corey says, with a few tweaks this introduction could apply to any problem, product or service that you might discuss on your blog — whether it’s your specific solution or another company’s! While I certainly don’t recommend that you use this “out-of-the-box” solution word for word every time, it does serve as a framework to shape your thinking.

I then found the following quick tips from Brian Clark on Copyblogger:

  1. Ask a question
  2. Share an anecdote or quote
  3. Invoke the mind’s eye
  4. Use an analogy, metaphor or simile
  5. Cite a shocking statistic.

I thought I’d just expand on the list using Brian’s, and others, useful advice.

 

1.  Ask a Question

Asking a rhetorical question is designed to make someone curious and hopefully, encourage them to read on. The idea is to get your reader thinking and actively engaged with you so that they read to the end of your blog.

2.  Share an anecdote or quote

A quick short story or a recognisable quote or, as I used as a headline in one of my recent posts “To blog or not to blog? That is the question!“, a twist on a well-known quote will help capture attention.

3.  Invoke in the mind’s eye

Use words that create a picture which will draw them into the post with the power of their own imagination. Words like “imagine”, “think back” or “remember when”.

4.  Use an analogy, metaphor or simile

There was a famous English comedian, Max Bygraves for those old enough to remember, who started his jokes with “I want to tell you a story….” which had the effect of drawing you in and making you feel he was sharing his experiences with you. We are hardwired to listen to stories and they cross every culture.

5.  Cite a shocking statistic

In stark contrast to tip 4 as “facts tell, stories sell”, is that a fact can be fascinating to your audience provided you make it relevant and it’s interesting or unique.
These tips summarised the majority of the recommendations I found but it would be great to hear from you if you have other suggestions.
Kim

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