How to Write Better Blog Intros & Engage Readers ASAP (With Examples!)
Kyjean Tomboc finished nursing school but found joy in plucking and stringing words to create value-driven content for brands in the health, life sciences, and lean startup niches. She loves everything strategic in creating content -- from CRO to SEO to SMM to UX (the Internet sure loves acronyms!). Her current obsessions include the human gut microbiome, A/B testing, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Kyjean is also a seasoned trekker.
While I’m writing this introductory sentence, there are already over 3 million blog posts being published.
The number may sound crazy - but it’s increasing even before I finish typing this second sentence.
Not convinced? See for yourself at this live counter site.
With the huge number of blog posts published every day, it’s no wonder that people aren’t actually reading. It also means you’re competing with hordes of shiny new blog posts every day.
When web analytics company Chartbeat analyzed the reader behavior of Slate Magazine’s website content, they found that 38 percent of readers who landed on their page simply left and didn’t even bother to read the intro. What’s more interesting is that those who decided to stay on the page scrolled only about 50 to 60 percent of the page.
What Makes a Powerful Blog Post Intro Anyway?
You can write helpful, entertaining, or data-packed blog posts; but without an intro to pull the reader in, the idea you’re conveying will be missed.
Remember in Alice in Wonderland when the white rabbit, with a waistcoat pocket and watch, ran past bored Alice and scurried down the rabbit hole?
You blog post opening should be the white rabbit. It should be something so interesting, so unexpected, that your reader can't help but follow you down the rabbit hole to keep reading.
How do you create an engaging blog intro?
Next time you're stuck, try one of our 10 blog post intro hacks - they might just unleash the inspiration you need to create your intro masterpiece.
10 Blog Post Intro Hacks to Engage Readers
1. Brevity Goes a Long Way
In a growing culture of impatience, no one wants to read a long-winded intro of paragraphs.
If you keep your readers waiting for long, they’re likely to go somewhere else. The best way to keep your readers’ attention is to keep phrasing short and concise.
Digital Marketer accomplishes this beautifully in one of their posts:
In just 3 sentences, the reader is propelled to find out the "how." The tips aren't hidden below 4 paragraphs of introduction - they practically are the introduction.
2. Begin with a Bang
For blog post intros that hook, begin with a bang not a whimper.
You can accomplish this by surprising your readers with an interesting fact.
Obscure (yet useful) bits of information will do the trick. Take care not to start with facts that are either overused or too predictable in your niche.
Here’s a good example by CoSchedule’s Julie Neidlinger:
Be creative in presenting facts by giving a new perspective. This will not only help build credibility, but also urge your readers to read further.
3. Entice Readers with an Interesting Conclusion
Opening a blog post with an interesting conclusion is a unique way to entice readers to continue reading. By doing so, you’ve already given your readers an idea of what to expect. The shorter the conclusion, the better.
In the example below, Social Media Examiner writes an effective hook by using an interesting conclusion in the form of a question:
4. Empathize with Your Audiences
Curious how the best copywriters and bloggers compel people to read their content?
It boils down to empathy - and science agrees.
By starting your blog post with a deeply rooted pain point, or a specific struggle experienced by your audience, you’ll gain their attention.
Take it from from Enchanting Marketing’s Henneke Duistermaat. Most, if not all, of her blog posts always start with sentences indicating that she understands what her target audience is going through.
Here's one example:
When you successfully put your readers’ struggles into words, it clues them in that you will take them on a journey to finding a solution. For this reason, it’s extremely important to build your ideal customer persona by asking the right questions.
5. Keep Things Interesting with an Anecdote
Opening your blog post with an anecdote is like initiating small talk.
Think of your blog post intro as a chance to connect with someone you just met.
When you find out about someone’s interest through small talk, it's easier to transition to a smooth, flowing conversation.
Whether it’s your own personal story or some story that happened to someone else, anecdotes that hook are often riddled with a strong feeling or emotion. It’s no secret that great writing is like an emotional magnet — it pulls your readers into what you have to say.
No matter how dry or technical the subject, there will always be something about the subject where you can tap your audiences’ attention through an interesting anecdote.
In the example below, Michelle Lin of Content Marketing Institute flawlessly illustrates how a good story can keep your audiences interested.
6. Ask Away!
Questions are interactive.
A question enables your reader to relate to a problem. It lures them in to scroll down further and find out about the solution you’re offering in the meat of your post.
Take a look at this example by CoSchedule’s Nathan Ellering:
Be wary with rhetorical questions. While they can give that certain drama and flair to your intro, rhetorical questions may sound condescending for some readers. Use rhetorics wisely.
7. Be Controversial
Want to entice your readers further to your blog post?
Start with a controversial statement, and do it with the right mix of clever and finesse.
Take care not to write controversial statements that will most likely offend your readers. Be controversial enough to capture a few seconds of their attention, but make sure you’re using credible sources to back up your statement and not pushing too far.
Need help finding a controversial subject to use? Check out this list of 50 Controversial Topics.
8. Start with Why
If your first sentence fails to keep your readers interested and wanting for more, you’ve lost them.
You can stop this from happening by writing an intro that answers this question — Why should I read this.
By doing so, you’ll be able to set the the tone of what your readers should expect, and whether or not it’s worth their time to scroll down.
In the example below, Digital Marketer’s Andrea Fryrear answers the reader’s why — you should read her blog post because you’re struggling to keep up with the demand for content.
9. Harness the power of the Greased Chute
Coined by master copywriter John Sugarman, the greased chute (also known as the slippery slide) is a sales copy technique.
In Sugarman’s The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful, he writes about the greased chute as Copywriting Axiom #6:
“Your readers should be so compelled to read your copy that they cannot stop reading until they read all of it as if sliding down a slippery slide.”
When used in writing blog post intros, you hook your readers with the first sentence, lure with the second, and so on. This way, your readers slide from one sentence to the next with ease.
Check out how Copybot’s Demian Farnworth subtly employs the greased chute technique in this blog post intro:
10. Delay with Style
A delayed transition uses a word or a paragraph to start a sentence instead of a usual function of joining two sentence fragments.
By starting a sentence with a conjunction, or a colloquial phrase like but, and, or, of course, or well, your reader is pushed to keep reading.
Let's look at this example from Copyblogger.
Besides putting emphasis on one of the reader’s pain points, using but in one of the introductory sentences gives readers the impression that they’re plowing through the blog post quickly. Delayed transition words and phrases also serve as good stimuli for the reader to pay more attention.
Putting it All Together
Whether a one-liner or an entire paragraph, it pays to put some thought time into creating compelling blog post intros.
Now that you're ready to write killer blog post intros, it's time to check out how to start writing better blog posts!