You have mere seconds to grab your visitor’s attention before they click away for greener pastures.
Consequently, your titles and opening paragraphs are to of the most crucial elements of every blog post or article.
We’ve talked about what makes a good opening paragraph quite a few times.
So this time, let’s take a look at some techniques you can use to quickly hook your readers.
1. Ask your readers a question
Asking a question makes your reader curious and causes him to pause and contemplate the answer, all of which constitutes “engagement.”
Once your reader is engaged he’s likely to stick around and read the rest of your article.
2. Share an amusing story or quote
There’s a reason public speakers always start with “A funny thing happened on my way here tonight.”
An amusing story or quote, relevant to the topic of your article, puts your reader in a happy mood.
They forget they’re in a hurry to get somewhere else, stress is eliminated and they’re open and ready to hear new ideas.
3. Picture this…
What happens when someone tells you “Picture this…” or “Imagine this…”?
You immediately stop whatever you’re doing, you listen a little closer and you actually start picturing images in your mind.
You’re engaged and you want to hear the rest of the story.
Another similar hook is to tell your readers you’re going to share a secret.
Nothing makes an audience move to the edge of their seats like the words, “Come closer and I’ll tell you a little secret about my…”
4. Analogies, metaphors and similes
Skim through my posts here at Dukeo and you’ll see I use this technique quite a bit.
In fact, in the opening paragraph for this article I mention greener pastures as a metaphor for blogs which are more engaging.
Anyone can relay facts but it usually makes for pretty dry content.
I could have said, “blogs with more engaging content” but I’ve probably already said that a million times on this blog.
This way, you get the message but it’s more colorful and fresh and makes a bigger impression.
Use analogies, metaphors and similes to add some color and texture to your writing and suddenly those boring facts look pretty interesting.
5. Surprisingly and Shockingly
Present a unique or obscure fact or some piece of shocking news and you’ll instantly hook your readers.
Especially if you use words like “Surprisingly” and “Shockingly.”
Keep your exclamation points to a minimum, though.
More than one and you look unprofessional.
While these are all great examples of hooks you can use to snag your readers’ attention, they’ll only work if your opening paragraphs are relevant to your article title.
For example, it doesn’t matter how shocking the news is about that rescued golden retriever if your article title promises information about training your poodle.
The first thing the reader sees is your title.
Next, they scan your opening paragraph.
And if the two messages don’t jive then they’re not going to stick around.