In the world of blogging, first impressions are crucial. The ability to write a blog intro that captivates your audience from the get-go can be the difference between a fleeting glance and a loyal reader. This isn’t just about penning a few catchy sentences; it’s about weaving a narrative that grips your readers and guides them seamlessly through your post.
It’s also one of the hardest things to master where blogging is concerned. There is so much conflicting advice and information on what constitutes a ‘good’ introduction. The answer also often depends on your audience and industry, meaning there is no clear cut blueprint you can follow. I’ve been a copywriter for over a decade and much of that time has been spent penning blog posts for clients.
And every intro is different. Not just because the topic of the blog is different and I (obviously) have a commitment to ensuring I’m crafting unique content for every client. But because the brand voice of each client is unique. There are a few blog posts I’ve rewritten multiple times over the years because I have clients in the same industry who needed or wanted posts on the same subject. And yet, my approach to each introduction was different.
Client audiences need different things. And certain clients have a very clear idea of what they want from an intro. Some prefer their blogs to start as succinctly as possible, with only a couple of lines that succinctly summarise what people can expect, then dive right in. Others prefer to summarise the key points of the whole blog at the start, before looking at them in detail.
If you read my blog regularly you’ve likely noticed I tend towards a more loquacious introduction. That’s my voice. My preference. And to some extent you, my audience. I’d never get away with writing so much in an intro for 80% of my clients.
But then at least 60% of my clients don’t use longform content marketing, and wouldn’t have the word count for such a long introduction.
So, if you struggle to get the intro to your posts right, don’t worry; it’s a minefield, and you’re not alone. To help you master this critical aspect of blog writing, I thought I’d do a deep dive into constructing a blog intro that resonates and effectively hooks your audience, carrying them through from start to finish.
The Crucial Role Of A Blog Intro
Before diving into the technicalities and techniques you can use to pen the perfect start to your post, it’s worth considering why it’s so important to get that intro right.
Consider your blog intro as the front door to your digital home. It’s the first thing visitors see when they land on your post, and it sets the tone for their entire visit. They may have read your meta description on SERPs, prompting them to click through in the first place, but that’s more like the address that drew them to your door. Your intro is the door itself.
A well-crafted intro does more than start a post; it promises value, intrigues with potential insights, and establishes a connection with the reader. In a world where attention spans are shrinking, and content is abundant, your intro is your chance to stand out. It’s not just about creating a good first impression but also about setting the stage for an immersive storytelling experience.
There’s a reason I write longer intros to my blogs than a lot of other writers or marketers; it tells you what to expect from me, in general. I’m a wordy girl. I create longform content that lets you deep-dive into subjects that will help you learn content marketing and refine your marketing campaigns. If you’re looking for a quick answer to a simple question, you’re at the wrong door. I’m here to share expertise, gathered over years of experience, to help you do what I do.
I like to demonstrate what I do at the start, while giving a taste of what to expect further in. That way, you know it’s worth paying attention to what I’m saying, but you also know it’s not going to be quick getting there.
Your expectations are set. And that’s important. I don’t want readers frustrated when they find themselves 500 words in and realise there’s another 2K to go before I’ve finished fully explaining what I’m discussing. Likewise, I don’t want to give them impression to those looking for serious, actionable information that my blog will be brief and largely unhelpful.
Statistics show that most readers decide within the first few sentences whether a blog is worth their time. This makes your intro not just the beginning of your post but a critical deciding factor in the reader’s journey. Incorporating storytelling into your intro can significantly enhance this decision-making process, as stories are naturally engaging and make content more relatable and memorable.
Elements Of A Effective Intro
When you sit down to write a blog intro, what elements should you include to ensure it’s effective? An engaging intro usually contains a hook, a brief overview of the topic, and a tone that aligns with the rest of your content. However, the secret ingredient is often a well-crafted story. This story doesn’t need to be long or complex, but it should be relevant and engaging.
A hook can be a surprising fact, a provocative question, or a relatable scenario. My hook in this blog was telling you’ve I’ve been writing blog intros professionally for over 10 years and, therefore, you can expect the following advice to be well worth your time.
The key is to make it interesting enough that your reader wants to continue. Remember, ‘interesting’ can mean many things depending on your topic. For a keyword that requires an informative answer (like this post) interest is usually piqued by expertise or presenting yourself as relatable to the situation of the reader. I could have led with ‘When I first started blogging, writing intros was one of the hardest things to do, until I discovered…’ This would also have been an effective hook.
When your keyword is a more entertainment driven question, your hook needs to be more intriguing than informative. If there’s a humorous element you’ll want to start out with a joke or funny anecdote. Tailoring your hook to the topic and type of keyword you’re optimising for is crucial.
After the hook, provide a brief overview of what the reader can expect from the blog. This overview should be like a roadmap, giving just enough information to orient the reader without giving away all the details. Finally, the tone of your intro should match the rest of your post, whether it’s conversational, informative, or persuasive. A you’re writing the rest of your blog post, maintaining consistency in tone helps maintain the reader’s trust and engagement.
The Art of Storytelling in Blogging
Storytelling is not just an ancient art form; it’s a powerful tool in the digital world of content creation. In blogging, a story can transform a simple message into an engaging journey for the reader. It personalises your content, making it more relatable and memorable. When you incorporate storytelling into your blog intro, you’re not just sharing information; you’re inviting the reader into a narrative. This narrative helps to build a connection and can significantly increase the time readers spend on your blog.
I started with a story about my work, different types of clients and their preferences. You’ll find a continuation of this theme throughout this post, as I offer more insights from personal experience, tell you how I do things and (in an impressive display of self-referential storytelling) use the story of how I constructed this blog post’s intro and told a story throughout.
When selecting a story for your intro, consider what will resonate with your audience. Is it a personal anecdote, a surprising fact, or a compelling case study? The story should align with your overall message and audience’s interests. Remember, the goal of storytelling in blogging is not just to entertain but to add depth and context to your content.
Balancing Story In Your Intro
How much story should you include in your intro, and what should you save for later? This balance is crucial. Your intro should contain enough of the story to intrigue the reader but not so much that it gives everything away. The key is to tease the story’s value and relevance, ensuring that the reader is compelled to continue reading for the full payoff.
Consider starting with a brief, compelling part of the story that raises questions or piques interest. Then, throughout your blog, gradually reveal more, maintaining the reader’s curiosity. The final piece of the story, which provides closure or a key takeaway, should come towards the end of your blog, ensuring that your readers stay engaged throughout.
Crafting a Narrative That Carries Through
An effective blog intro isn’t just about the opening paragraph; it’s about setting up the entire narrative of your blog. Your story should have a clear thread that runs from the beginning to the end. This narrative thread not only helps in maintaining consistency but also in ensuring that your blog delivers on the promises made in the intro.
When planning your blog, think about how your story unfolds. Does it build suspense? Does it offer insights or lessons along the way? The story should complement the informational content of your blog, adding a layer of depth that pure data or analysis cannot provide on its own.
Common Mistakes In Blog Intros And Storytelling
As you strive to perfect your blog intro, be mindful of common pitfalls. One of the most frequent mistakes is overloading the intro with too much information, overwhelming the reader. Remember, the intro is just the beginning; keep it concise and focused. Avoid unrelated tangents in your story – every element should serve the purpose of your overall message. Also, be wary of using a story that doesn’t resonate with your audience’s interests or experiences, as this can lead to disengagement.
SEO Integration with Storytelling
Incorporating SEO in your blog intro is vital, but how do you balance it with storytelling? The key is to seamlessly integrate your target keywords in a way that feels natural within your story. Start by identifying keywords that are relevant to your topic and audience. This will usually be one core keyword (for example, my core term for this blog is ‘write a blog intro’), as well as a range of related keywords, phrases and LSI terms. Get your core keyword in your intro front and centre – in your first paragraph if you can, but certainly before you hit your first heading and jump into the main body of your blog post.
If you go back to my intro on this blog you’ll find my core keyword in the second sentence. You’ll then notice a variation of it pops up (‘constructing a blog intro’), followed by a few related phrases. You do NOT want to stuff in your keyword as many times as possible. No. That is not how we optimise for search. It will, in fact, damage your post’s ability to rank. So resist the urge.
Then, weave these keywords into your narrative in a way that enhances rather than detracts from the story. For example, if your keyword is “effective writing techniques,” you could start your blog with a personal anecdote about a time when using these techniques made a significant difference in your writing. This approach ensures that your intro is both SEO-friendly and engaging.
If you find your intro includes your core keyword more than twice, you’re in serious trouble and need to switch things up with synonyms and similar phrases. If you have a relatively long intro – 3+ paragraphs – you may get away with having you core keyword twice. Once in your opening 1-2 sentences, and again right before your first header as you say something ‘So, here’s how to write a blog intro that resonates with your audience’. But even here, you can get away with modding it – I used ‘introduction’ rather than intro, and could have played around with word order as well if that had fitted better. ‘Writing an intro to your blog’, for example, is a keyword the Google gods are perfectly smart enough to recognise as having the same meaning.
So no stuffing. There’s no need.
Analysing Blog and Story Engagement
Understanding the impact of your storytelling in blog intros is crucial, and this is where analytics play a vital role. Here’s a breakdown of key metrics to consider:
- Time Spent on Page: This metric indicates how long readers stay on your blog post. A longer average time suggests that readers are engaged and likely reading through your content. If your blog intro is compelling and your story is engaging, readers are more likely to stick around. Compare the time spent on different posts to see which types of intros and stories keep readers engaged longer.
- Bounce Rate: Bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate could mean that your intro isn’t captivating enough to encourage further reading. Analysing this metric helps you understand whether your intro is effectively drawing readers into the rest of your content.
- Scroll Depth: This metric shows how far down the page readers are scrolling. It’s particularly useful for understanding how much of your post is being read. If readers are only making it through the intro and not much further, it’s a sign that your intro may not be effectively leading into the main content.
- Reader Comments: Comments can provide qualitative insights into how readers are responding to your story. Are they engaging with the narrative? Are they asking questions or sharing their own experiences related to your story? Positive and engaged comments often indicate a strong connection with your audience.
- Social Shares: If readers are sharing your post on social media, it’s a good sign that they found your intro (and the rest of your content) valuable and share-worthy. Tracking which posts get shared the most can help you understand what types of intros and stories resonate best with your audience.
- Conversion Rates: If your blog has a call-to-action (CTA), such as signing up for a newsletter or downloading a resource, the conversion rate can tell you how compelling your intro is. A high conversion rate may indicate that your intro effectively encourages readers to take the desired action.
- Heatmaps: Tools like heatmaps show where readers are clicking and how they navigate your page. They can reveal whether readers are engaging with elements introduced in your intro, like links or CTA buttons.
- Exit Rate: This metric differs from bounce rate as it shows the percentage of exits on a specific page regardless of whether it was the landing page. A high exit rate on your blog post might indicate that readers are losing interest before finishing the article.
By closely examining these metrics, you can gain insights into how effective your blog intros are at capturing and maintaining reader interest. Adjusting your storytelling techniques based on this data can lead to more engaging and successful blog posts.
Drafting And Refining Your Blog Intro
A common strategy among seasoned bloggers is to draft the intro after completing the body of the blog. This approach allows you to ensure that your intro accurately reflects the content and narrative of your entire post. Once you’ve completed the first draft of your blog post, revisit your intro. Does it set the right tone? Does it hint at the story that unfolds throughout the blog? Adjust your intro as needed to ensure it effectively captures the essence of your post and entices readers to continue reading.
The Power Of Emotional Impact And Takeaway Value
Choosing stories that provide emotional impact or actionable takeaways is crucial in blogging. Your intro should not only hook readers but also promise them value, whether that’s an emotional connection or practical advice. Consider what emotion or action you want to evoke in your readers and select a story that aligns with this goal. For example, if you want to inspire, a personal success story can be effective. If you aim to educate, a case study or a surprising fact can work well. The key is to select stories that will carry your readers through the entire blog, compelling them to read to the end.
Pirates, Shoes And Rubber Ducks
The introduction of a blog post is much more than just a doorway; it’s a welcoming mat, an intriguing preview, and the first step of a journey you’re inviting your readers to join. From understanding the nuances of your audience’s needs to integrating SEO without sacrificing your story, every aspect of an intro plays a crucial role in setting the stage for your blog.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 12+ years of blogging it’s that getting the intro to a blog right is actually the toughest part of penning the whole piece. There have been days I’ve written a whole blog, start to finish, in twenty minutes or so, only to spend an hour trying to get the intro right and weave a compelling narrative through the piece to the end.
Case in point; this blog took me about half an hour to write in terms of the practical advice and logistics of writing a blog intro. It took me considerably longer, however, to settle on the right story, the right hook, the right intro. I had a whole other narrative going on at one point involving a shoe and a rubber duck, but it wasn’t quite right for the topic at hand. I then switched to a whole pirate theme and a story about the time a guy in a tricorn hat tried to steal Dexter. That’s a very funny story, but despite the obvious pirate/hook element wasn’t as relevant as I wanted.
Hopefully, I nailed it with the real-world examples of life as a copywriter and you’re still here reading at the end. Along you way you should have gained insights into not just how to write a blog intro but how to make it resonate with your readers. Remember, a successful intro balances brevity with engagement, information with intrigue, and SEO with storytelling. It’s about striking the right chord that resonates with your reader’s curiosity, encouraging them to delve deeper into your content.
As you apply these tips to your own blogging journey, keep in mind that the power of a blog intro lies in its ability to connect, inform, and inspire. It’s not just about attracting readers; it’s about creating an experience that stays with them. So, take the time to draft, refine, and perfect your intros. Ditch the superfluous shoes, detrimental rubber ducks, and perfunctory pirates. Analyse their impact, learn from your audience’s feedback, and continually evolve your style.
And if you want to learn more about my blogging journey, as well as how I leverage blog posts into successful content marketing strategies for myself and my clients, sign up below. You’ll get the first chapter of my book, Divine Blogging, delivered to your inbox completely free of charge…