As a writer, you spend hours and hours creating valuable content. You dwell over your every sentence, making sure that each is a mini literary masterpiece. You give information and address your audience’s pain points. You have done everything by the book.
You feel proud; you pat yourself on the shoulder, you hit publish, and you wait for your well-crafted copy to receive the accolades it deserves. But you know what? Nothing happens. No drumrolls, no shares, no likes. And off you bid your painstaking efforts goodbye as you see your article get ignored.
This scenario gives you the chills, I know. It’s a writer’s worst nightmare, but it is every bit as real. A recent statistic shows that less than 60% of readers who land on your article will actually read past the first few lines. This brings us to our point: how do you hook your readers from the first few lines to ensure they follow through till the end?
1. Keep It Short
Keep your first few lines short. Do not get caught up in creating stunning introductions similar to those of a Ph.D. dissertation thesis. If you try too hard, your first lines will seem forced and garbled and will not flow seamlessly. This, in turn, will cause your readers to work hard to understand what you are saying. Nobody likes to work hard unless some form of monetary compensation is due. So, unless you want to pay people to read your content, keep your first lines sweet and short and hook them from the get-go.
2. Keep It Simple
In your attempt to transcend over the liminal of other writers and embrace verisimilitude, you run the risk of obfuscating things and being incongruous, creating instead an anathema rather than building rapport that will force your readers to circumvent your article and search for heterogeneous context elsewhere.
See what I just did here? I made these lines so hard to read that you can almost feel a throb in your head. (Worry not. I had to look up half of these words myself.) The point being, keep it simple. If you try to use complex language and academic jargon, you will only succeed in giving your readers a headache similar to the one I just gave you.
3. Make It Personal
Use storytelling to make your first lines personal. Address your readers’ pain points. Show them that you are on the same team. Show them that you share their worries and their anxieties, and you know firsthand what they experience. This will build trust and will hook them to read beyond your introduction. If you are one of their kind and belong in the same pack, surely what you have to say must be valuable, right?
4. Use The Word “You”
Make sure your reader knows that you are writing about them by using the word “you” at least once in your opening lines. Include powerful CTAs using ‘You’ to prompt your readers into action. “You” is a powerful word and shows that you are writing with your individual reader in mind. As I do now. Because I know that you want to hook your readers and that you want to create powerful content that will increase your leads and convert, so you should keep this list of ideas somewhere handy and refer to it from time to time.
5. Clearly State The Scope Of Your Article
People like to know what to expect. Unless you are planning a birthday surprise party for them, people are not usually keen on surprises. Knowing what to expect and what comes next offers us a sense of stability, control, and safety. Humans are creatures of habit, and predictability is part of our habit. So tell them what to expect. Clearly state the scope of your article in your first few lines. Tell them what it’s about and make sure that you stick to your ‘thesis’ and not run off on various tangents.
6. Do Not Repeat Your Title
Do not waste your first few precious words by repeating your title. I will take my chances and risk saying that your readers must have read your title before reading your introduction. So do not repeat yourself, and do not use your title as your opening line.
7. Use Humor
Humor can get you a long way. In fact, humor is one of our most excellent survival tools and one of our most attractive qualities. Put a smile on your readers’ faces, and they will read beyond the introduction. Make them laugh, and you will have loyal followers begging for more. In the stressful times we are living in; we could all use a little laughter. Use humor, and your readers will be more than happy to hop on board whatever it is you are selling.
8. Use Statistics Or Facts
Give your readers an eye-catching fact or interesting statistic to bait them. It is easier to pull in more readers and persuade them of your argument when you offer them a piece of information that is not only relevant to them but makes your article valuable because of this statistic. Remember what I did at the very beginning? By telling you that less than 60% of readers finish reading the entire article you write, I show you why my piece is essential and bait you into reading through till the end.
Some Closing Remarks On Your Opening Lines
Your first few lines will make or break your article. They will set the tone for your entire writing and will show your reader whether your piece is worthy of their valuable 10 minutes. Your article will not fare very well if your opening lines are drubbing and boring, long and incoherent, irrelevant and repetitive. Try instead to follow this list of ideas and see your leads and conversions increase. Do you have any other ideas to add to this list? Please do so in the comments below.