Do your blog posts keep the attention of your readers? In last’s week’s post, I shared a few tricks for capturing the attention of your customers with a great title. Then what? This week, I share a little about some methods I use to write powerful business blog post introductions:
Tell a true story.
Human beings are hard-wired to respond to stories. Add a bit of the unexpected and you have a recipe for arousing curiosity. This week, CNBC ran a story with a curiosity-arousing introduction:
“A jolt of electricity is delivered to a body with bolts attaching its head to its neck. It’s a scene straight out of a horror movie, but it is eerily close to Italian neurosurgeon and Chinese surgeon Xiaoping Ren’s plan to transplant a human head – down to the neck bolts and electricity.”
Tell a made-up story.
Mike Metzger of the Clapham Institute used this technique to arouse curiosity in a presentation:
“You meet four kinds of people on the ocean of life. Those who drift just go with the flow. Those who surf are always riding a wave. Those who drown seem to stay at the center of the storm. Those who sail are navigating toward a fixed point.” Notice the way that he uses the second person, “you,” to involve readers more directly.
Lead with a surprising fact or statistic.
Here’s another powerful lead from Rachel Emma Silverman writing for the Wall Street Journal. In a post about unspent vacation days, she wrote: “Americans are throwing away $52.4 billion every year because they won’t take time off from work.” She could have perhaps done even better at reeling readers in by individualizing the number by dividing it by the number of workers in the American workforce.
Lead with a question the post answers.
The New York Times uses this technique in a column about whether to get MS Office as a subscription or to purchase it outright. Sometimes the intro can be as simple as “Q:____?”
Unlock the power of simile, metaphor or analogy.
Another fun way to introduce a post is by using an unexpected simile, metaphor or analogy. Here is an example from the intro of an NPR story about redrawing districts: “Take a look at a congressional district map and it sort of looks like a madman’s jigsaw puzzle.”
If you need help creating a content plan for your business blog, start a conversation. I’d love to talk with you.