Introductory paragraphs are fishing trips ripe for disaster; launch yourself using the wrong hooks and lures, and you’ll lose all the fish before you get to the end paragraph.
Noted social media influencer Jeff Bullas had recently outlined several literary devices to enhance the enticement and engagement levels of a blog’s first paragraph. I, in turn, shared insights on three of them, based upon my own over 30 years of experience as a print & broadcast writer.
Why not start with a question?
- I’ve found asking a question to be among the most intriguing openings. By posing a question right away, you drive readers to start thinking; you challenge them to come up with an answer, an answer that lies beneath the waves of paragraphs to come.
Just the facts ma’am
- On the other hand, years of writing experience have led me to accept statistics and percentages as the most difficult hook, because if done improperly you turn off readers and they swim away. (Bullas dressed this up by suggesting you attribute the facts to a person, thus making the numbers come alive).
To “quote or not to quote”
- I’ve used quotes as teaser openers in my blogs, articles and columns many times over the years. Find something catchy that your interviewee recounted or advised that relates to your topic in such a way to set the mood, while at the same time “giving away” the sense of what story you are about to tell.
- This is an additional option I would suggest; in fact I employed it to kick off this blog. It is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
This option, as do all the others mentioned, set the readers off into a thinking mode, anxious to read on.
And that is the goal of the first paragraph, isn’t it?
(Anthony M. Scialis is a social media strategist focusing on blogging & tweeting as a two-step customer service effort in bridging the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)