Creating an attractive and original introduction is a real challenge. But it’s worth setting aside a special time in your writing for this group of paragraphs because if they fail to arouse the reader’s interest beforehand, the chances are great that they won’t make it to the end of the text.
The introduction is the reader’s first contact with the body of your text, so it must be seductive!
Before the introduction, the only thing the reader knows is the title, that is, the promise that your content can teach him something.
For this reason, the introduction is essential to ensure that your text is read to the end. If you cannot captivate the reader with the first few sentences, he will leave and hardly return.
In Content Marketing, for example, the introduction plays the role of leading the user through the text to reach the end and click on another blog article or download an e-book, extending his time spent on the pages.
The web is a paradise of distractions, and your reader’s finger will always be ready to click “back” or simply close the browser.
Remember: the goal of the first paragraph is to make the reader want to read the rest of the text. To make that happen, there are a few strategies we can teach you.
What is an introduction?
For an essay, book, research, or Internet content, an introduction is the beginning of the text. It has the function of familiarizing the reader with a topic, giving him/her a context, and telling him/her what will be exposed throughout a certain piece of writing.
Likewise, it serves to justify the reading and works as an opener not only of what the text contains but also of what it will conclude.
The introduction is a key moment in content since it is possible to captivate a reader and make him/her keep willing to continue reading the article.
To make an introduction, it is necessary to explore that well-known expression, “the first impression is the one that counts,” because it becomes the opportunity to make your reader identify with your tone, message and, above all, get interested in the content.
How to make an introduction?
- Answer the reader’s possible questions
Talking about text structure leads you to think about how you will make the introduction.
For this text stage to be really attractive, you must answer certain questions. When talking about questions, we can say that starting this article period with a question is a very smart strategy.
By writing an introduction with a question, you make it possible for the reader to identify with what you have to tell him.
When the text offers the possibility for the target audience to interact with you, a relationship of trust is generated from the beginning of the text.
About the type of questions that an introduction should answer when it is written, we have some like:
“What?”: the introduction should tell the reader what the general topic is about;
“What for?” Indicates the importance of the article to the reader’s life;
“What will you find?” The promises of information the reader will gain from the text;
“How?” The way the text will be approached, i.e., under what examples or optics of knowledge.
- Be clear about the topic
To start writing without being sure of what you are saying or how you will conclude it is the number one mistake. It is very useful to make mind maps, for example, breaking down the different aspects covered by a topic.
You can prepare and organize the information before you face the terrifying blank page so that you have the topic clear in your mind.
In fact, some people advise leaving the introduction for the end since the text may “evolve” in a different way than planned as you write it. But you can choose the one that is most connected to your style.
- Imagine who your ideal reader is
Who will your article be written for, what are their goals, interests, and needs when reading the text? Think about what kind of person your target audience is, and then try to imagine what matters to them. To do this, just answer a few questions:
What is the reader’s biggest concern? What is he or she afraid of?
What are the goals my reader wants to achieve? What is his ambition?
In other words, show them a problem and prove that you have the solution! Create your first paragraph showing how your content can help the reader avoid what he fears or, in other words, conquer what he wants to achieve.
- Find out what your reader’s tone of speech is
It is important to know the right tone to communicate with your reader. The right tone creates a more personal and, therefore, more engaging communication.
For example, talking to a teenage girl about fashion is different from talking to a lawyer about the real estate market.
Each of these types of readers requires a different conversational tone. This can be exploited through colloquial expressions, more formal texts, and even more technical vocabulary.
- Understand the Buyer Persona concept
All these aspects (tone of speech, type of problem, possible solution, etc.) depend a lot on the person you are writing for.
Much more than simply redirecting a text thinking about a target audience, it is important to know how to recognize the Buyer Persona of your text and your reader’s general profile (habits, behavior, interests, among other characteristics).
In this way, you will have an easier time understanding your reader’s main pains and difficulties, and you will also know how to create a text introduction to solve their problems.
- Go from the general to the particular
Once you have created your mind map, structure the information using the “inverted pyramid” technique. It consists of formulating the main topic in the introduction and developing it through secondary ideas in the body of the text.
I know it sounds a bit obvious, but there is a fact behind this, and it is that we practically do not “read” on the Internet, but “scan” in an F-shape: we go first to the title, then to the introduction, and finally we take a quick look at the subtitles and bold text.
Add to this the fact that 51.3% of people access the internet from mobile devices, which have quite small screens.
So if we are looking for something on the Internet and we come to an article in any type of text, the introduction will be the place to identify if the publication really responds to our search.
That is why it is also important to mention the keyword (or at least a synonym) there or in the title if possible.
- Keep it short but striking
The introduction plays the role of an “opener”: it should leave you wanting more. So don’t spend too much time explaining from the beginning; just summarize the topic without going into details.
In general, the introduction should correspond to a maximum of ⅕ of the total of the article. In other words, if your article is 1,000 words long, the introduction should have a maximum of 200 words.
- Create a USP for your article
A USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is a marketing tactic to create a simple to understand and communicate phrase representing a product’s differentiating aspect. In just one sentence, it summarizes the value of your article and presents it clearly to the reader.
- Use other content formats
A striking image, a video, an infographic, or an audio piece that accompanies your content can help you illustrate your point in a simpler way. If possible, place it at the top near the introduction to capture the reader’s attention immediately.
Remember to use simple, concrete language throughout the text. After all, you are helping your reader answer a question. Oh, and keep that question in mind!
- Be extremely sincere
Yes, it may sound absurd, but sincerity is not exactly the most common thing on the Internet today. The tone of many texts is childish and condescending.
By being completely frank with the reader, you establish an immediate relationship of trust with them. From that information, in the initial introduction, the reader knows that he can trust the following paragraphs.
An example of this characteristic can be found in argumentative texts, in which ideas are presented to persuade the reader.
- Promises to reveal a secret
People love secrets because they immediately arouse their curiosity. Promise to reveal the secrets of successful people, and you will get your reader’s interest. Create expectations and don’t reveal your ace up your sleeve at the beginning of the article.
You need to create curiosity first, talking about the world of possibilities that will open up for the reader after the secret is revealed. In other words, make a chain of ideas and advantages during the reading. The anticipation of this learning is a strong motivator for reading.
- Tell the beginning of a story
Telling a story to the reader is to bring him/her closer to the text’s theme. For example: “Before my exams, I was very stressed and managed to fall asleep. In my dream a wizard came to me and said he could write my essay for me for free and left. In the morning I solved my problem, so…” and further down the text, for example, you can insert a link to your web resource.
It is possible to give examples of the topic you are going to deal with at the beginning of a text so that the reader is curious or identifies with the situation you have exposed. Thus, there is more commitment and willingness to discover what will be the outcome of that situation.
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13. Show him that he’s doing everything wrong
The possibility of doing something important wrong is often enough to get people’s attention. We all want to do our best in our daily activities, and we don’t want to waste our efforts.
Generally, imagining that we may not get the results we want after a lot of effort is quite disturbing.
Therefore, this can be a valuable technique to use as bait in the introductions of your texts.
- Ask rhetorical questions
When you converse with the reader by means of rhetorical questions, you are obviously not expecting him to respond to the text.
However, the first reaction during the reading is to respond to these questions, even if unconsciously.
By asking these questions, you stimulate the reader’s reflection and make him perceive the relevance of the topic he is reading about.
Often the first impression is the only chance you will have, so make the most of it, write intriguing introductions and watch the engagement of your content increase immediately!
- Provide interesting facts
Sometimes you just need a surprising fact that will get your readers excited. Research before writing if there are statistics or facts related to the topic you’re going to cover and identify one that strikes you.
- Mention recognized authors
Lean on the experience of those who know. Quoting Famous people, authors, or even other bloggers with authority on the subject will increase the credibility of what you are saying.
- Apply metaphors and analogies
You can use metaphors throughout the text or in some parts. In the case of this article, I used one about magic in the title: “Magic words: how to write an introduction that charms.”
Most of the metaphors have to do with sports (scoring goals, being the winning team, etc.) or cooking (recipes, ingredients, etc.).
Each piece of content you develop will require its own guidelines. As long as you are clear about the topic, the main thing is to start writing without thinking about it too much, even if you have to correct it later. Start with that sentence that you have in your head, and you will see how the rest will happen by itself.