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|Your Opening Sentence is a matter of Life or Death||
How far someone reads down your blog post greatly depends on the power of your first sentence.
|Start with a question||Ideally, the question should communicate the subject matter of your article in a way that makes them want to find out the answer.|
|A compelling quote
(plus a picture)
|A fascinating story||There are no rules when it comes to your opening story, but you may want to keep it short. Relatively short depending on the size of your blog; most preferably not more than a paragraph or two. It can be real or fictional; it all comes down to you. Starting your blog with a story generates curiosity and promotes engagement. One compelling story can turn a boring post into an exciting post.|
|Open with an attention-grabbing statistic||If you are not sure of the exact number, use adverbs like “nearly,” “more than,” “less than,” “approximately” and so on.|
|Say something surprising||Saying something unexpected at the beginning of your post that grabs the reader’s attention by disrupting their way of thinking. A surprise makes the reader curious and hungry for more. You don’t have to quote a fun fact, like in this case. You can opt to tell your readers something about your personal life or career—something that no one was looking for.|
|Shock and Awe the Reader||Shock them with something out of the ordinary so readers are kept off balance, jolted awake, and re-energized with your blog.|
|Offer a promise or claim||When you make a promise in your introduction, some of your readers will continue reading, hoping to gain what you promised. Others will continue reading out of curiosity. I am now 172 pounds (lost 60 pounds); I worked hard to get where I am right now, but technology also played a big role in my efforts, and in this post I’ll explain how I did it|
|Make a controversial statement||Go hard on a person, a product or a company, and you will have readers glued to your blog. State your opinion, even when you know some folks are going to get mad.|
|Describe a vivid scene||Describing a vivid scene paints a mental picture to your readers, thereby evoking some form of emotion. when you paint a vivid scene, be aware you’re not writing a novel. Don’t invest in too many words for a vivid description at the expense of your blog post.|
|Use a powerful photo||You can hire someone to create compelling illustrations for your blog through a website called Fiverr. You can get an original illustration for $5 (or $10 if you want it in color.)|
|Set A Goal||What do you want to achieve with your post ? What lesson do you want to teach? What point do you want to drive home ?|
|Develop the goal||Have I addressed my reader’s needs? Have I exhausted the topic I was covering? Do I need to write a sequel? What can be expressed in a better way?|
|Keep the Reader Interested|
|Add your opinion||If you’re not accustomed to sharing your opinions, you should consider doing so in your blogging at least now and then. Preferably more. Why? That is what makes you interesting, for one thing. Everyone has an opinion on things…some people are just quicker at sharing them than others. If you’re not accustomed to sharing your opinions, you should consider doing so in your blogging at least now and then. Preferably more. Why? That is what makes you interesting, for one thing.|
|Suggest further reading||Further reading articles can be anything from your previous posts to external links to posts written by other bloggers. Trust me—not everybody loves to read, so recommend further reading sparingly, only if it adds value to your post and if you know your audience values it.|
|Add reader comments/tweets||These techniques are meant to show your readers you notice them. To give them a few seconds of fame. It entails using reader comments and tweets as part of your blog. Trust me, in the comment section lies a treasure of Wisdom Make sure you mention the reader and if possible, send him/her an email or tweet to let them know.|
|Ask readers a question in a post. Here you’ll need to think two steps ahead. Ask your readers a question in a post and use their answers on your next post.|
|Do a call for comments on social media or email. When writing a post, you can ask your loyal followers on Twitter or Facebook for their comment on your writing topic. You can later use the tweets or comments to build up your post.|
|Use quotes||In the words of Miguel de Cervantes, quotes are “Short sentences drawn from long experience.” Quotes assert authority in your blog post while giving a respectful nod to the author.|
|So when “recruiting,” ask for comments, take a poll or survey, invite readers to blog about the topic on their own blog… these are just a few ways of getting your readers involved and making them part of your blog. It not only promotes a loyal following but also helps readers understand your topic more.|
|Use Bullets in the Battle for Your Reader’s Attention||140-character limit This is the kind of digital world we are living in. Nobody on the Internet has time for paragraphs.|
|Eye-Catching Bullets||Bullets stop people from getting bored with big chunks of text. They are like eye candy to the scanning online reader who’s looking for an excuse to leave your web page.|
|Bullets are mini-headlines. They are like bait for the skimming reader. It encourages the skimmers to go ahead with the call to action or read the lengthy narrative. They’re easier on the eyes, and online readers appreciate that. Bullets offer clarity. Readers hate confusion, so they are for the 21st century reader (everyone on the Internet). They summarize. Whoever discovered bullets must have hated long narratives. Bullets highlight only the important points.|
|Using subheads||The subhead essentially does what the main headline is supposed to do—hook, entertain, shock, and above all, create curiosity. It’s top purpose is to get the reader to keep going down the page.|
|To make an impact on the reader, your subheads should at least contain:
|Express a clear and complete benefit||This is where it’s good to have your subheads form some sort of pattern. Like, they all start with the letter “P,” or they all mention a Prince song. Whatever fits with your topic, having a uniformity with your subheads actually pleases the eyes, making people want to read more. One good example of parallelism is having your subheads all start with a verb.|
|Try writing your subheads first||This helps for reference and aids you to optimally structure your content.|
|The Close (Wrap Up, Ending, Whatever You Choose to Call It)|
|Summarize||Tell your readers what you’re going to tell them; tell them; then tell them what you told them.|
|They will most likely remember the first and last items|
|Call to action||The CTA (call to action) is the pay check of copywriters. It is the single most important aspect of a post (to the blogger). What do you want your readers to do? Do you want them to vote for you, buy your product, like your page or download your eBook? I am partial to the CTA of some sort, even if it’s to leave comments. Your call to action should be straight forward. Don’t “beat around the bush” and let the readers figure it out by themselves. Be bold; ask them what you want them to do.|
|Inspire||Unlike a call to action, inspiring readers is more about convincing them than asking them what to do. In such a scenario, you must be artistic enough to evoke soul-searching feelings onto your readers. Tie your conclusion back to your opening, but don’t spell everything out for the reader. Rather, let the reader unfold your story on their own.|
|Postscript||The P.S. can entice readers to read other related articles or a build-up of articles|
|Cliff hanger||A good close should compel the reader to stay tuned for the next installation. It should have them bookmarking your blog and creating calendar events for your next article. The first impression is a lasting impression. In blogging though, the last impression is the lasting impression. Endings are crucial for two reasons: They contain the call to action. They foreshadow the next article.|
|Why Matthew Writes the Headline Last||Only 20% of the people who read your headline will read your article|
|In just a few words, you will need to fascinate, yet give answers. Feed the search engine spiders, yet write a headline that connects with actual human beings.|
|Ways to Make Your Headline Intriguing|
|Give numbers, digits, and lists||Having a number at the start of your headline makes it standout|
|Examples||Who are the 10 Richest Soccer Players on the Planet? 15 facts You Did Not Know About the White House5 Ways to Ensure Your Family Has Health Coverage|
|Consider using these practical words for headlines:
|Preach misgivings||6 Things Your Microwave Manufacturer Didn’t Tell You
Your Kid Doesn’t Need Methylphenidate After All
Sunscreen Could Be Harming Your Skin
|The same stories can benefit from more cynical headlines:||6 Lies Microwave Manufacturers Try to Tell You
Is Your Pediatrician Wrongfully Prescribing Methylphenidate to Your Kid?
Sunburns Hurt, but Sunscreen Will Kill Your Skin
|Keep headlines under 70 characters||Headlines that are over 70 characters are cut off in Google search results.|
|Define what the article is about||Clear, Concise, and Compelling|
|Your headline should excite the reader|
|Train your readers|
|Testing 1, 2, 3…||If you are undecided on the impact of multiple headlines, you can always try posting the stories with the different headlines in order to evaluate which gets the highest number of clicks.|
|Create an eye-catching title
|The customer is always right||Understanding your readers enables you to create some smart, strategic headlines that capitalize on their wishes or fears.|
|Remember the 5W’s||
Who – What – When – Where – Why
How many of these answers can you put into a headline?
|Use the second-person pronoun
Writing prose in second person comes out awkwardly, but it has proven useful for headline writing. It achieves two things: first, it grabs the attention of the readers. Secondly, it calls them out. Check some examples of this form of headline:
So You Think You Can Dance? Check Out this Video of the Hottest Dance Crew in London.
5 Things You Should Buy Before Going Hiking.
3 Questions You Should Ask Your Insurance Broker.
Studies show readers like being told what they’re going to feel by a headline. Consider the following headlines:
Five Facts About Tattoos That Will Make You Regret Having One.
A Child Survives School Shooting. Her Interview Will Touch Your Heart.
|Create a curiosity gap||
Again, this is a technique that has been driving crazy traffic to tabloids and gossip columns. This technique creates an urge that readers cannot resist. Consider this headline:
You Will Never Believe What Beckham Ate While in Africa
The headlines tell people something that will make them curious but holds back just enough to make them click on the link to find out.
|No Click bait||Sometimes you will be tempted to write headlines that will drive more traffic to your website even if they don’t exactly provide what the reader expected. That is something you don’t want to do. Trust is important. You want readers to trust your headlines. If they don’t, they won’t come back.|