Techniques for Opening Lines on Blogs

Do you want to discover how to make opening lines effective? How does one craft an opening line to a post that effectively engages readers and stimulates enough interest to get them to read your blog post?

1. Identify a Need

Identifying a reader’s need and solving it is a key to writing successful blog posts. You don’t have to solve the need or problem in the opening line, but an effective way to get readers to read deep into your post where you do solve it is to tell them that you will in the opening line.

2. Ask a Question With Only One Answer

This is a technique that copywriters have been using for a long time and it works. To do it, ask a question in the opening of your post which leaves your reader little room to answer anything but ‘yes’. I did it in line three of this post (‘Do you want to discover how to make opening lines effective’) but it could also effectively be used as the very opening to this post.

Asking this type of question does a couple of things. For starters you’re communicating what the post is about and the need that it will fulfill in the reader – but secondly (and more importantly) you’re drawing out a response in your reader and one which puts the need that your post will solve squarely in their mind. Anyone reading and answering ‘yes’ to my question above enters into this post having just said that they want to discover how to write engaging opening lines – this ‘buy in’ helps in the communication process that follows.

Asking ‘yes’ questions can actually be something you use more than once in a post. Ask a series of them scattered through your post and you can actually take your reader on a journey that leads them to your call to action.

3. Ask an Intriguing Question

Another type of question that is effective at getting readers interested in reading further into a post is one that leaves them hanging and wanting to know the answer.

‘What does Bill Gates and Martha Stewart have in common?’ – ‘Is the Nikon D700 the best Digital SLR Camera Ever Invented?’

All of these questions will appeal differently to different audiences – but all leave readers wondering what the answer will be and give them a reason to read on further into a post.

4. Say Something Unexpected

Attempt to do something a little different or surprising to grab readers’ attention by sharing something personal and at a first glance off topic.

Of course – the unexpected opening line should relate to your post’s topic on some level.

5. Tell a Story or Share an Analogy

Building on my last point – I find that telling stories to open posts can be one way of snapping people out of their ho-hum, eyes glazed over state that many of us have while surfing the web.

This is particularly true on a blog that is more serious or formal in nature – to share a story means you’re switching genres for a moment or two, which can be enough to grab your reader’s attention.

Stories can be short (a one-liner like I did above) or longer (although you probably won’t want to go too long). They can be your own personal stories or stories of someone else. They can be true or even fiction.

6. Make a Claim or Promise

Sometimes a simple but bold claim is the most effective way to get people to read deeper into a post.

‘Today I will teach you how to give up smoking.’

‘In this post you’ll discover the secrets to taking the perfect portrait.’

These sorts of openings simply tell your reader what they’ll get if they read on. They are short, sharp, to the point and effective.

You’d better be able to back up the claim or promise in the post itself or you could have some angry readers on your hands.

7. Make a Controversial Statement

There’s nothing like the hint of controversy to grab people’s attention and cause them to stop in their tracks and take note of what’s going on.

Strongly state your opinion on a company, product or even another person and you’ll find people will want to read on to see why you’ve said it and to let you know if they agree.

8. Paint a Picture

This is a technique used a few times in public speaking that can translate across into writing effective blog posts. The basics of it are to get your reader using their imagination to picture some kind of scenario.

This can be used in both positive and negative ways:

  • Positive – get them to imagine a scenario when they achieve some success or overcome some problem.
  • Negative – alternatively get them to picture the consequences of a problem left unsolved or a failure that they might fear.

Engaging the imagination of your reader is a powerful thing which can evoke emotion, help them to get in touch with fear and feel needs but also give them real motivation to make change.

9. Use Statistics

Using a statistic that packs a punch can effectively communicate a need and grab attention.

Example –Opening Line – “Only 1 out of every 100 Readers Comment on your Blog”

10. Start with a Quotation

This is one that can be quite effective – if you use the right quotation of course.

Using the words of someone other than yourself can bring authority and credibility to your post. It can also grab attention if you choose the right person.

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Uniontown High School online school newspaper Tomahawk Talk

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