A reader has clicked into your article… now what? The hook or introduction is the most crucial part of any article. If it’s not compelling and well-written, there’s no chance the reader will stick around for the remainder of the article. In fact, a Slate study done in conjunction with Chartbeat states that 10% of the people who have landed on this article won’t scroll to see the rest of the content. Are you one of the 90% dedicated to learning how to craft a killer introduction?
There are many strategies for creating a title or introduction that will engage readers from the beginning. This article will cover five top tips and unique tactics for ensuring that your readers stick around after the first paragraph.
Ask a Question
In a world full of clickbait, we know the power of a headline that asks a question. Who hasn’t clicked on an intriguing headline promising to reveal weight loss secrets or celebrity drama?
Asking a question in an introduction reveals the topic of your article and adds an element of mystery that will keep curious readers scrolling. When Neil Patel, digital marketing expert, analysed 11,541 viral articles from 2016, he did a specific study on word pairings found in the titles of these articles. He found that the phrases “do you,” “can you,” and “is the” were in the top 12 two-word pairings and “do you agree” was in the top 20 three-word pairings found in viral articles’ titles. When you ask and promise to answer a reader’s question, you’re sure to see them stick around until the end.
Be Descriptive and Paint a Vivid Picture
Picture your reader. Perhaps she’s sitting at her desk, listening to the birds chirp, hidden among the leaves of the majestic oak tree outside her window, hoping for inspiration to hit with her next big idea. Or maybe he’s on the Tube, scrolling through his phone to avoid eye contact with others on his morning commute. Include your reader in the story by making them feel as if they’re there with you.
Take some time in the introduction to set the scene. Once you paint a picture in a reader’s mind with descriptive language, they’re more likely to be invested in whatever you have to say next. To do this, it’s important to first visualise what you’re attempting to convey. Only then can you accurately describe the scene to another person.
Create a Mysterious Situation
A BuzzSumo study of 100 million articles in 2017 show that social sharing has decreased by half since 2015. With an increase in competition and private sharing and changes to the Facebook algorithm, it’s more difficult than ever to be found.
When a question is asked in the title or introduction, you’ll attract readers who seek the answer. When a mysterious situation is created through the art of storytelling, readers who may have never considered the issue become invested and want to know how the situation turns out in the end.
Startle the Reader with a Fact
Upworthy shared that a good headline can make a difference of 500% engagement and require their writers to craft 25 headlines for one piece, testing to find the one that will elicit the best engagement. Upworthy consistently produces viral content, so they must be on to something.
An article by Copyblogger states that only 20% of readers who click into a piece will finish it. Since 10% never scroll and you may lose up to 80% of your readers by the end of the article, it’s important to hook them with an interesting fact from the very beginning.
Start with a Quote
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. —F. Scott Fitzgerald
While beginning with a quote isn't always advisable, if you can find a quote that is both relevant and leaves the reader wanting more, a quote can be a powerful way to begin. The first words of The Great Gatsby leave the reader wanting to know more. When you find the right quote to begin your article, it’s sure to have the same effect for you.
With these five tips, you are ready to get started writing titles and introductions that will attract readers and keep them interested throughout the entire article.