How A Blog Post Introduction Can Make Your Readers Stay
It’s all very well writing an awesome headline to successfully capture your reader. You now need to keep them on your blog to get them to read the rest of the post.
Believe it or not, you have less than 3 seconds to make a good enough impression to get your readers to stay. Sometimes even less than that. So what you say next in your post is vital if you want to retain them.
You need a fantastic introduction to explain what’s happening, and offer a really good reason to prevent anybody from leaving. All within the first few words placed at the top of your post.
The Infographic below will explain how to write an incredible introduction that is immensely sticky for your blog’s readers:
Let’s get them hooked
A blog post requires two hooks. The awesome headline to hook in passing potential readers, and the fantastic introduction to keep them hooked inside the post.
Unfortunately this is necessary in today’s world. There is too much distracting content in the blogosphere, both good and bad. A blogger needs to work hard to convince visitors to read their post, and then make them realise it is worth reading.
To state the obvious, after the headline, the next (and also next most important) thing potential readers will see is the introduction. If this fails its purpose, your readers will move on, and likely never return.
Get them to carry on
Readers who prefer to scan posts are usually first attracted by the awesome headline. Its purpose is to help them make their first decision, as quite a lot of them will only read it and nothing else.
However, a clever introduction will lead the busy and time-poor reader from the headline onto the next stage. In other words, make them read a bit more. Therefore it needs to be incredibly compelling, as for many this will be like venturing into the unknown.
The headline is a large, safe and easily recognised environment. Whereas the post’s introduction demands a commitment from the reader, which is unnerving. The art is to make it as welcoming and accommodating as the headline, without driving your reader away.Use the introduction to clarify your post's headline. Ambiguity drives readers awayClick To Tweet
Is everything clear?
Both the headline and the introduction should avoid being ambiguous. Try not to lose your readers by failing to immediately explain the subject or the motive of the post.
If your headline requires clarifying, the post’s introduction should by ready to perform that role. Since it is the second thing your reader reads, it should explain exactly what’s going on, even if it is only to reassure them they are reading the right post.
Your readers require a complete understanding if you want to retain them. Not only about the subject, but whether they will benefit from it and how this affects them. And all this happens within a split second subconscious decision whether to continue reading or not.
Avoid wasting their time
Today’s reader is always time-poor. This seems to be the norm nowadays, especially since they are bombarded with too much information from every direction.
A successful introduction needs to play the convincing game. It should be succinct, devoid of clutter and waffle-free – anything that could put off a reader or prevent a decision. It needs to understand exactly where the pressure points are, to fire up the reader’s desire and make them read on.
Basically if you haven’t created a suitable impact within the first 100 words, you’re never going to. This isn’t easy, and I’m sure many of my posts fail at this. But it is worth noting these first few words certainly contribute towards making or breaking a post.Your post's introduction must create a persuasive impact within the first 100 words.Click To Tweet
Keep them informed
You need to cultivate a burning desire within your reader to make them want to read your post. Give them an extremely good reason they cannot ignore.
Let them know in advance exactly what they should expect from reading your post. Treat your introduction as if it was a film trailer. You only have a short time to reveal all the most important areas or exciting characteristics of your post, and much more.
You may think summarising your post will kill your reader’s expectations, but it won’t. The introduction is the perfect place for a summary. This strengthens the reason why the reader needs to continue reading. And shows them what they would miss out on if they didn’t.
Prepare them in advance
It’s important to reassure your reader about the post and the information it contains. This can have quite an impact on their decision making. A happy reader is much more likely to stop, sit down and read to the end.
Write a friendly introduction. Show the reader what they can benefit from by reading the rest of the content. Tell them how this will impact on their lives, and how this will gain some important knowledge they somehow hadn’t previously known. Or at least, greatly improve their knowledge on a particular subject!
Try and find a way to relate to your readers. Take time to truly understand your ideal reader and their motives for wanting to read on. And remember to use similar words that they would also use, so you pitch your introduction at their level.A post's introduction should quickly persuade skim readers to read onClick To Tweet
Accommodate skim readers
A phenomenal amount of blog posts are being churned out every day. As a result readers scan posts to instantly decide which content is worth reading or not, if the subject is suitable or interesting, and whether to read right now or bookmark for later.
This is why the post’s first paragraphs need to focus on skim-readers. It’s important to provide a correct impact from the beginning, without wasting time with chit-chat or irrelevant material. You may think this is being friendly, but it can be very irritating to a busy reader who doesn’t want to wade through all of this.
You need to consider how easy is it for a time-poor reader to make a decision regarding your post. If they scan the first few words within a second, how much information is available to them? Think about which special content could entice them to stay.
What impression do you give?
Every blogger wants to form a relationship with their readers as soon as they arrive on their post. Therefore with the extremely little time available to make a suitable impression, it is imperative how the post (and the blog) is portrayed to a new reader.
This is where a suitable introduction comes into play. If what it says matches their expectations, the reader will start to trust the writer and believe what they have to say.
Once a new reader is enticed across that hurdle, the chances are increased for the rest of the post being read properly.
Pick up the pace
I have mentioned several times there is an extremely short time to succeed in persuading your readers to read the rest of your post. It is much faster than you think, as the brain works at phenomenal speeds.
Therefore it’s important to write your introduction so it is fast reading as well. This time-constraint means you can’t be long-winded and convoluted, but instead short and concise.
Make your sentences equally short and snappy. Bombard your readers from the beginning and make them sit up and take notice. Focus on using the same words your ideal reader would use, to make them more relatable and easy to understand.Hint in your introduction that your post contains something readers need to learnClick To Tweet
Promise something at the end
If you want someone to do something, offer them an incentive. The majority of readers will require a really good reason to want to read all of your post.
Add a delectable and enticing hint within your introduction, telling your readers how they will benefit from the information your post contains. This is guaranteed to stimulate their desire to find out more. Hints could also be used instead of a summary if you don’t want to give everything away.
Use your introduction to encourage your readers to keep reading by alluding to a fantastic solution to a problem or the answer to a totally elusive question somewhere within the post. Then they have to read on to find it!
Now it’s your turn
Let me know what you think of this post in the comment box below. And share with us if you’ve been influenced by a good post introduction, and how you have reacted to it. Did it make a difference to how you considered the post? Or have you come across some terrible introductions, that have destroyed any incentive to carry on reading?
If you’d like to read other articles in this series:
Part 3: “How To Use Images Effectively To Attract Readers To Your Post” (You can click forward from there, as we publish more articles)
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