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August 18, 2017

9 Tips for Writing Compelling Introductions

Photo Credit: Adikos via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

There are two ways article writers can grab the attention of a reader. One is an eye-catching headline and the other is a compelling introduction. Most writers and marketers know how to make headlines truly attention grabbing. What about the introduction? The short paragraph that kick starts your article should be as interesting as the rest of it. People start reading from the top; therefore, if the intro paragraph is so-so, they may not bother to read the rest. Here are several pointers that will help you write an introduction that entices the target audience to keep on reading:

1. Avoid Repeating the Title

The readers have already read the title. There’s no need to repeat it again in the article and risk appearing redundant.

2. Keep the Paragraph Short

While there is no rule to how long an introduction should be, it’s best to keep it short for an online audience. Slate, the magazine, ran a study that measured the attention span of the average online reader. It’s quite short, which may come as no surprise. Therefore, it’s necessary to keep the intro short and deliver the necessary information without beating around the bush.

3. Write a Short First Sentence

People can understand short sentences easily. This reason makes short sentences very popular among marketing content writers. Short sentences can deliver information quickly, and in an easily digestible manner regardless of the reading level of the user. If you want to engage a wide, generic, and probably reluctant online readership, deliver information in mini sentences. A punchy short sentence is a great start to an introduction.

4. Be Odd

The introduction is often regarded as the “hook” of the article that engages the reader. So how exactly can a writer create this hook? If you want an introduction to stand out, write something odd or unusual. Say something different from what users encounter on the Web almost every day. Then you’ll have a reader intrigued enough to keep reading.

5. Do Mention What the Article is about

Content writing should be creative, but never mysterious. You should tell the reader what the article is about in the introduction, if it’s not obvious from the headline. Then tells readers what to expect to get them interested. Think of this as providing a thesis for an academic paper. You lay out your intentions right away, but the reader has to keep reading to find out the full results.

6. Establish Relevance

You should tell readers what the article is about, as the above point shows. Then you should tell readers why that topic is important. For example, if you are writing an article about beekeeping, tell the readers that the article is about beekeeping. Soon afterwards, you should also mention why learning about beekeeping is important. You can say that bees are disappearing and ruining harvests. The readers need a reason to stay engaged. Relevance or the importance of the topic is a major reason why people continue to read.

7. Address a Problem

Addressing a problem that the target audience might have in your article is a good way to create a unique and engaging premise. Your target audience will definitely have problems that your article can raise awareness about. I’ve experienced the effectiveness of this strategy first-hand with our blog. The target audience for this blog is cash strapped buyers looking for cheaper alternatives to expensive products. Once we profiled the readers, we addressed their budget gadget issues directly. Then, we experienced a very significant rise in visitor engagement with the site. There’s no reason your blog or website cannot replicate this success.

8. Be Wary of Storytelling

Telling a story in the introduction is considered a good technique to engage the reader. Perhaps. You have to be careful when starting off your introduction with a story. You may think it’s interesting, but the reader may think it’s long-winded and irrelevant. If you have a story to tell, first make sure it’s a story that the reader can relate to. If the story illustrates a problem that the target audience might experience themselves, then mention it in the intro. Otherwise, avoid telling stories in the first paragraph.

9. Refer to the Reader as “You”

It’s recommended to use the word “you” at least once in the article. It appeals directly to the reader. The use of “you” makes the article more empathetic. Readers are more likely to stay engaged if the article appears to be written just for them. Don’t write impersonal articles. That perspective may work for newspapers, but the results are not so good for content marketing.

Use the above suggestions to make the intro paragraph of your articles interesting. Employing one or two of the above techniques will decrease the bounce rate for content on your blog or site.


Eduardo Bridges is a professional writer and a blogger who covers tech-related topics. He currently blogs about affordable tech gadgets for