Do you dread writing a blog post introduction? People often read as little as 18% of your blog post. Ensuring they’re immediately engaged is critical, especially if your content is long-form and detailed about your topic.
Many writers write their introductions last. Whatever order you write in, there are some solid tips you can rely on to help you craft an engaging introduction.
Here are a dozen actionable steps for you to take to craft a worthy, formidable, and even striking blog introduction.
1 – Centralize Your Idea
Your blog post introduction needs to centralize your idea.
Provide a concise roadmap towards your solution, with the understanding that you’ll expand upon each point in detail throughout the rest of the blog post. Your centralization language is a promise—showing that you’ll stick to the nugget of the idea while providing thorough information or solutions to your readers.
2 – Include Your Keyword
Keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO) dramatically increase the value of your content.
Aside from generally being more readable for your audience, it’ll rank higher in search engine results. Doing a bit of keyword research and including your keyword as early as naturally possible can certainly help with your ranking efforts. Plus, a significant part of SEO is making a natural, readable copy.
One of Yoast SEO’s main optimization factors is whether your keyword appears in your introductory paragraph. Doing this is essential when it comes to ranking. Creating clarity for your readers is especially important if you’re trying to rank for a long-tail keyword.
It’s a useful SEO habit to check your title against your first two sentences to ensure you’ve included that keyword in your blog post introduction.
3 – Hook the Reader in Your Blog Post Introduction
Drop some facts, storytelling insights, or pieces of other information that will immediately hook the reader.
What you use has to be different from what they can get anywhere else and should be entwined with your tone and voice of choice (see further points below). You can feed your readers tidbits of information so they’ll be enthralled and eager to read further.
4 – Throw Some Questions Around
How can you get your readers engaged in your content?
Ask them a question like we just did. It could be a rhetorical question, or it might be a question people commonly search for.
Regardless, ask something meaningful–a question that gets them thinking about the topic. When we ask about reader engagement, you’re likely waiting expectantly for an answer—or you’re coming up with your own responses to see how they measure up.
This mirrors the Socratic method, and it’s an excellent, conversational way to get readers to internalize your content from the start. And hopefully, it will keep them reading well past that introductory section.
5 – Tease Your Readers
Hooking your readers is one thing, but genuinely engaging them is another. Drop a bit of a hint about what’s to come next.
If you’re writing a blog about a recipe, for example, mention some secret ingredients you won’t disclose above the fold. That way, they’ll know it’s not some random recipe you’ve copypasta’d, but a bespoke piece of content allowing them to obtain and use your special recipe. It benefits them; it wows their family and friends. But they won’t get there if you don’t tease them into following.
6 – Summarize Your Topic
Your audience should be able to determine the subject matter of your blog post by the end of your blog post introduction.
That’s not only important for reader clarity and attention but search engine ranking. Although your reader hasn’t consumed the detailed information you’ll present later in your blog post, they should have a good idea about whether they’ll want to continue reading what you’ve presented based on the first paragraph.
Do you want to test if you have an effective introduction? Hand your blog post intro paragraph to someone who doesn’t know much about the topic.
Don’t show them the rest of the post and ask them to read it, and then have them describe what they’d expect to see in the rest of the blog post. If they didn’t guess correctly, it’s a good idea to do some revising.
This exercise can show you areas you might need to improve.
It’s also worth noting that blog post introduction length can vary based upon the complexity of the topic and the length of the blog post. But in all cases, your first few sentences should offer a cohesive clue about the entire post to come.
7 – Go for the Gold: The Precious Featured Snippet
If you conquer those first six tips handily, you may have a chance at ranking for a featured snippet.
Using keyword research, you should find some featured snippet opportunities, which means your answer may show up in a fancy featured box on Google. Appearing here positions you as a definitive authority on your subject matter. In addition to other ranking signals on your site, Google looks for a concise, accurate, authoritative, and informative definition of a term to rank it as a featured snippet.
If you’ve looked up one of your subjects or products and find no featured snippet listed for it, you may have an opportunity to rank. Give it a try. Even if you fail, your quality SEO will help you rank slightly higher in the search results.
Featured snippets help you get clicks, and Google increasingly implements them.
8 – Save the Kitchen Sink
While your introduction needs to broadly introduce the rest of your post, it doesn’t need to be the size of Mt. Everest. Instead, build a little hill to stand on that’s clear and concise about your topic. Do you want to say more?
Add it to your outline as you go: that’s what it’s there for.
9 – Showcase Your Voice
Your blog post introduction sets your tone for the rest of the piece and your entire brand and how you represent it. Your voice contains your passion, personality, and your brand’s story. We go for a straight-forward and authoritative voice. But, not every brand’s voice is the same.
For a good introduction, you should display your voice, and your voice should allow you to level with your audience.
10 – Lift Some Word Weights: Write Ledes
Your introduction needs to be strong. While your tone (especially for a blog post) may not be journalistic or objective in nature, you can learn a lot from how journalists hone their craft to focus on essential facts in the introduction of their news stories. A journalist’s lede packs a punch. It delivers vital information at the beginning of the story, promising to detail or extrapolate further information as the story continues.
You can practice writing ledes after journaling (seemingly mundane) events in your day. Did your dog have indigestion? What caused it, and what was the result? It might seem like a silly topic, but you can use it to formulate a lede and solidify your skills.
This level of summarization is also important because readers often only see the first sentence or two of a blog post.
You need to define your topic and get that essential info in there.
Good ledes aren’t easy, and there are multiple types that can help you tease out an ideal introduction for your blog post. From the sensational zinger to observations and hard facts, ledes are among the most valuable things bloggers should adopt from journalism.
11 – Write Your Blog Post Introduction Last
Guess what part of this lengthy blog post we wrote last? The introduction. Our process looked like this:
- Keyword research
- Write Call to Action
- Write entire article, bottom to top
- Write intro
- Revise the introduction
That’s right—of all the pieces involved, the only major revision was to the introduction. That’s because the focus of the intro is intensely important.
Additionally, you’ll think of many other points while you’re writing your post. Instead of curbing your creativity to conform to a prefabricated introduction, write your heart out. As long as the information is substantial, it’ll add value to your post.
This also allows you the freedom to change tack.
You might come up with a unique angle or a new idea while you’re writing, and unless you’re writing a post on assignment for someone, it’s better to change your post topic slightly to match the content.
Go where it takes you and follow your instincts: don’t get married to a blog post intro.
Spare yourself the divorce. Date a few topics and take a few home. You can always edit later and polish that intro last.
12 – Write Your Call to Action (CTA) First
Guess what part of this lengthy blog post I wrote first?
The below call to action. That’s because it’s important to know how the topic of the blog post relates to our site and services and where we want to send people when we finish here. We don’t just want to sell you stuff; we want to be of use to you. Writing the CTA first helps us stay on track.
Want Expert Blog Post Introductions? Have someone else write them
From introduction to call to action, Romain Berg is ready to provide useful information to your customers, help you rank on the SERPs (search engine results pages) and turn your readers into fans and customers. Give us a call today or fill out our contact form. We’ll take a look at the best options for your business and budget.