Your article’s introduction will make or break you. It is what determines whether the rest of the article gets read or not. A weak introduction will ruin the success of an otherwise excellent piece of writing.
Your introduction needs to make the aspect of reading the remaining article an exciting adventure. If your words entertain or intrigue them during the opening paragraph, you won’t need to worry about getting readers.
Understanding their wants and needs
Before you begin crafting your powerful introductions, it will pay huge dividends to know your readers. Having a good grasp of your reader demographics will help you big time in doing this.
Understanding means empathizing and building rapport. When you conjure these two states of mind with your audience, then you are more than halfway home—knowing who they are means that you can speak their language.
Creating awesome introductions
Never forget that after all the hoopla, writing is still just a craft and a skill. Therefore, you can polish that skill and get better with practice. So you need to practice writing introductions.
However, before you begin doing this, let us examine four ways to make your introductory paragraphs more powerful and compelling. This way, as you practice writing them, you develop strong writing habits until they become a part of your natural writing style.
Develop an intriguing hook
You must begin by understanding the purpose of a hook when writing your article. In most cases, it won’t stand up and identify itself; you’ll have to create one.
A hook is that one line or statement that grabs the attention of a reader. In sales, they call it a unique selling proposition (USP). It’s why a reader should read your content instead of someone else’s.
An interesting detail or two, a vivid description, or a thought-provoking question are great hook examples. Your hook will likely need adjectives and need to trigger an emotion from those who see them. Look for a fascinating part of your article and build your hook around that.
Set your tone
An essential but subtle part of your introduction is its tone. Your rhetoric in this critical first paragraph is setting the tone for the rest of your article.
The tone is essential and must be consistent throughout – unless you specify otherwise and have a good reason for switching. Understand that tone comes in many shapes and forms. You can be intense, humorous, or upbeat. And you can express your words casually or formally, or in the past, present, or future tense.
There’s no right or wrong answer for which tone to use –just be consistent in which one you go with.
Specify the what and why
In the end, your introduction has one primary goal – tell them what and why. You can include all sorts of clever verbiage in that opening paragraph, you can make them laugh or cry, but that goal remains the same for all your articles.
Your introduction has to include your purpose and why that purpose is essential. Without those things, you reader has no vested interest in reading your words. Your writing style alone will have to keep their attention.
It’s like watching a movie at the theater that is jammed full of big stars, and you find yourself getting bored for some reason. About that time, some drama takes place – a person gets shot or beat up, or a disaster takes place – and now you get interested and are ready to watch the movie. Even with all those great stars, the story still needed drama to spark your interest.
Treat your introductions as promises
Treating your openings as promises ought to be easy – because that’s precisely what they are. Think of that promise as a contract between you and the reader.
This means you must be completely aware of your promise and how it will be fulfilled. After this contract is signed – meaning your reader decides to read your article – then you need to do your best to complete your part of this agreement.
Now granted, you and the reader may have very different opinions on whether that was done, but if you were sincere in your effort, don’t worry about it. The world would be great if everyone loved our writing, but this never happens – even to the greatest writers in the world.
I hope you found this article about writing powerful introductions helpful. Hopefully, you will begin to pay more attention to your openings as you write them. These are very important to the success of a writer. This is especially true for those of us who write short pieces of content.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of practice. If you are not writing anything for hire, I recommend finding an online platform to begin writing on a regular basis. If you don’t have one in mind, then I would suggest writing on Medium. If you become a member there and publish enough content, you could earn some decent money from your writing.