Why Your Opening Needs to Be Strong & How to Do It
An 800-word article will take a reader somewhere between 2.7 to 3 minutes to go through – slightly more if they’re slow readers. Out of those few minutes, you have just a couple of seconds to make your mark. And that is where a strong introduction comes into play.
Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter every year because of the fast-paced world internet has created today. This has meant that one of the most important aspects of any piece of content, be it written or spoken, is the introduction.
No matter how well you structure your content, the opening line is what matters most. Unfortunately, even the best opening line cannot guarantee 100% readability. Content is subjective, so it is fine if your sentence doesn’t appeal to 8-10% of readers.
But larger bounce rates might mean that you may have done something wrong and it’s time to reconsider your introduction. Here are some reasons why your opening needs to be strong, followed by how to write an introduction that hooks your readers.
Why a Strong Introduction is Necessary
Sparks Attention & Interest
Perhaps the most prevalent benefit of a strong introduction is that it hooks your audience to read through by piquing their interest and grabbing their attention. If you touch a sensitive point of the reader with your introduction, it builds a certain rapport that builds a foundation of trust throughout the article.
Gives Readers an Overview of What They’re About to Get
Apart from hooking the audience, an introduction also serves to hint the reader about what they’re about to get. Look at our introduction, for example. If you look at it alone (without the body supporting it), you’ll see that we’re talking about a strong introduction.
Not only does it speak to the conscious mind but to the unconscious mind as well, introducing it to your point.
When consuming any form of content, be it a video, speech article, or even a social media post, one of the first things people look for is credibility. If your introduction is poorly written, it doesn’t matter if you have a PhD in your field, no one will listen.
You need to showcase your ingenuity and knowledge about the subject matter without directly jumping onto it. Think of it as ‘something relevant, yet not exactly what readers are looking for.’ You also need to tell readers why you are the one they should listen to.
Okay, this is a longshot and not every strong introduction needs to or can do that, but a well-written introduction promotes trustworthiness as well. This is an indirect influence that is a result of nothing more than being ‘relatable.’
If you write something relatable, people will want to read on to learn how you tackled said problem and how they can do the same. And the relatability gives them an idea that this person is going through the same problems I am, hence reinforcing trust.
Explains Why They Should Read On
A strong introduction establishes a link between you and the reader. If they are on your article or guide, you can be sure that they have already identified a need and have given you a chance to satiate that need.
Looking at article reading trends, there are two things people look at before deciding whether they need to read the piece or not; the outline and introduction. Too long, and they’ll run away. Too short, and it will seem rushed. Keep it balanced and give the readers an ‘abstract’ answer, as we did above.
How to Write an Introduction
Understanding why a strong introduction is necessary is one thing, writing it is entirely another. Here is a quick guide on how to write the perfect introduction to set you on your way:
- Keep it simple, keep it short. Leave the long introductions for research papers and your thesis. Use short words and avoid using jargon. Keep the first sentence short.
- Keep it fresh. Do NOT repeat the title at this point. You can do it later on, but repeating it in the introduction is just lazy writing. Unless you can get away with it, that is, and conditions warrant it.
- Keep it personal. By personal, we don’t mean you start attacking the readers, but use ‘you’ instead of a generic term. Try addressing the reader directly at least once.
- Explain the main idea of your article. Don’t lay it all out there, but don’t talk about completely irrelevant stuff either.
- Keep it relatable. Include a concern or problem to make it more relatable. Make them feel like the article was written for them.
- Use statistics, facts or quotes. Use something that you think would show the importance of what you’re trying to say. Remember to link it and to take the fact/stat from a reputable source.
With so much to keep in mind, it is no wonder that writing an original article takes a lot of time. However, the end-product is always worth the efforts. If done right, a strong introduction or opening sentence will drive the reader not only through your article but also towards your products via your CTAs!