Last Updated on December 13, 2019 by Michael Brockbank
You have 15 seconds to capture the reader’s attention. That’s how long it takes on average before someone decides to leave your content behind. And it’s one of the most important reasons why writing a good introduction is vital.
Whether it’s for a blog or a paying client on Textbroker, it’s all about keeping eyes on the article. And today, I’m going to show you how to write an introduction paragraph.
Why is a Good Introduction Vital?
If the intro is weak or uninteresting, the reader will simply move on. And since there are millions upon millions of blogs out there in the wild, it’s likely the reader will find the same information elsewhere.
Every second someone isn’t reading yours or a client’s content is one he or she is spending on a competitor’s website. If you’re selling something, then this is a vastly important aspect.
From a freelance writer’s perspective, a good introduction may also play into whether a client will use you again in the future.
The introduction sets the tone and flow of the entire article. It needs to convince someone that your piece has the information he or she is looking for.
Think of it this way; within the first few seconds of a song, you’ll know if you want to listen to it or not based on the beat and tune. It’s a similar situation when it comes to reading online content.
How Long is a Good Introduction?
For the most part, you’d want to keep your introductions to perhaps one or two paragraphs at around two to three sentences each. Then again, the length is also dependant on the target audience.
The last thing you want, though, is a 300-word intro that is full of words and phrases that really have no impact on the article itself.
You want to entice a reader, not bore them to tears.
8 Ways to Write a Good Introduction
A good introduction can mean the difference between a zero-second on-page time in Analytics and someone spending more than 20 minutes reading the post. Remember, you have 15-seconds to connect with the audience.
Here are eight ways you can write a good introduction and keep them reading the entire post.
1. Don’t Simply Repeat the Blog’s Title
You don’t want to repeat the context of the title. Visitors are already on the page, which is the job of the title and description.
You’ll still want the keyphrase in the intro, but go into further detail about why someone clicked the title from a search result. The intro is an extension of the title.
2. Be True to the Article Itself
The intro lays the groundwork for the article. If you make claims in the beginning that the content can’t support, then you’ll lose the audience. It may even damage your online reputation.
This kind of goes along the lines with negative click-bait. In fact, I’ve come across a few articles that were upsetting because authors didn’t live up to the expectations offered in the intro.
And I never went back to those sites.
3. Address the “What” and “Why”
A good introduction breaks down what the article is about and why the reader should pay attention. You have a few different ways you can do this.
- State a problem the article can help visitors fix.
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- Ask a question to the visitor regarding the topic.
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- Add a personal story connected to the content.
I once had to write an essay on Ancient Egyptian art in college. What I discovered was simply amazing.
- Include the reader into the story by using “you.”
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Of course, the introduction examples I gave above are incredibly short. But you can see how I am addressing the what and why of each article.
Take a look at the intro to this article. It’s simply a two-short-paragraph-statement telling you how intros are important and how I’m going to help.
4. Explain How the Article Benefits the Reader
Along the lines of what I just mentioned above, a good introduction explains how the content benefits the reader. Now this will depend on the type of material you’re creating.
If it’s a tutorial, you want to explain how you can show the reader a solution. A more newsy-type piece would have a brief breakdown of the content.
Ask yourself, “Why would someone want to read this article?”
5. Add Authority with a Fact
A great way to capture the attention of the reader is to deliver a fact or statistic within the intro.
For example, I stated how the average blog reader has a 15-second attention span. Then, I linked to the source of that information. Citing claims and statistics goes a long way to build authority.
For one thing, you’re demonstrating your commitment to facts and solid information. Not to mention how external links to cite your work helps your appearance in search engines.
6. Be Personable (Sometimes)
It’s OK to involve yourself within the article. In fact, a lot of readers find content more interesting if you do. It adds a personal touch that helps readers relate to the author.
However, a lot of clients don’t like the idea of writing an introduction in first-person. This is especially true when using content mills such as Textbroker.
Before adding that personal touch, make sure it’s OK for the client or the target audience. Not all situations will call for personal involvement.
7. Be Succinct and without Filler
Never try to force an intro. It should be short and sweet in most cases. Remember, you want to engage the reader about why he or she wants to read the content.
A good introduction is often short, to the point, and effective at keeping the reader’s attention. Too much filler just to make it seem important is a good way to prompt the visitor to hit the “back” button.
8. Examine the Work of Others
And lastly, there’s nothing wrong with taking a look at the success of others. It’s OK to emulate other creators when writing introductions. Just make sure you add a personal style.
Do a search on Google for any topic you like. Then, take a look at the intro of the article. Does it help you understand the what and why of the piece? If so, how?
Most importantly, if it’s a topic you want to write about, what can you do to make the intro better?
What Really Makes a Good Introduction?
In the end, writing an introduction that impresses readers is up to you. Following this guide, taking the advice of other writers…it helps. But in reality, you are the one who has to put it together.
Keep practicing, and don’t be afraid to experiment. You might find something that works great with your target audience.
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