Published on January 3rd, 2014
One of your co-workers has invited you to their friend's house warming party this Friday. Chances are you won't know anyone, but you're willing to partake in a little small talk in exchange for free drinks and appetizers. Why not, right?
The truth is, their party can pan out in one of two ways.
Either the other guests will welcome you with open arms, or you'll get stuck twiddling your thumbs in the corner waiting for your ride home to quit being such a social butterfly.
The outcome is heavily reliant on the introduction. Are you inviting your blog subscribers to take off their coat and stay awhile, or are they left plotting their escape from the first sentence?
The unfortunate reality is, most of your blog subscribers aren't willing to forgive a mediocre introduction. If you miss your opportunity to prove your worth, you can forget the rest.
We've come up with a handful of tips to help you map out focused blog introductions that entice your readers to commit.
Tell a Story
We're not talking about a grandfather inspired "I walked 50 miles to school barefoot" style story, but rather something a bit more relevant.
What life experiences do you have that you can tie into your professional experiences?
Check it out:
"My mom lives out on a big piece of land in the sticks. I’m no fisherman, but from time to time we take our little tin row boat out into the middle of her pond and drop a line. I’ve come to realize that the only thing worse than not getting a bite, is losing the tug of war between one that you’ve got hooked. Losing a good catch is a lot like losing a valuable website visitor. It’s not uncommon for someone to visit your site, browse one page, and then bounce."
Metaphorically connecting your topic to a morsel of personality makes it easy for you to appeal to your audience.
You know when you meet a new person and they tell you they're from New York City and you start rambling off every person you've ever known that lives there in an attempt to make a mutual connection?
Six degrees of separation aside, did you really think they we're going to recognize the name of your college roommate's cousin's sister? There are over 8 MILLION people living in NYC.
The fact of the matter is we love to seek out commonalities because it makes us feel more comfortable.
Starting your blog article with a reference to a good old #marketingproblem is a highly effective way to catch your readers attention.
Your readers want to be reassured that they aren't the only one struggling with creating landing pages, increasing Twitter engagement, or migrating their blog. A simple allusion to your shared struggle will ease their woes and encourage them to read on for a solution.
When we launched our new website, we wanted the accompanying blog post to lend itself well to our audience.
"For any marketer aspiring to do an entire website redesign/rebrand simultaneously, you'll need three things to get started: 1. A unique story that resonates with your buyer personas. 2. A concrete strategy for telling it both through. 3. A freakin' CT scan."
Anyone in the process of a website redesign or rebrand who reads that introduction can relate.
Once you've established common ground between you and your reader they will be more willing to carry on with your article, as it affirms their experiences.
Do you struggle with content creation? Do you often find that there is simply not enough time in the day?
Questions serve as great attention grabbers. If you pose an interesting or related question right off the bat, you are seizing an opportunity to get your readers thinking.
In a blog article regarding Twitter engagment, we posed this question to start:
"Without Twitter engagement, what do your tweets have to live for?"
This question, and questions like it increase your reader's level of curiosity, which in turn will prompt them to read more to feed their interest.
Don't be afraid to incorporate an emotional factor if it's appropriate. An emotionally-charged question will help you set the tone for your article, and often bring to light a point that is difficult to ignore.
Incorporating questions into the body of your introduction will create a sense of a dialogue, a one-on-one approach to content creation that does more than just scratch the surface.
Call Upon Interesting Facts
78% of chief marketing officers think custom content is the future of marketing. (Source: Hanley-Wood Business Media)
37% of marketers say blogs are the most valuable type of content marketing.(Source: Content Plus)
80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)
Facts serve as a helping hand to inbound marketers. Why? They contribute to their credibility, and allow them to more clearly drive their message home.
Not only are they attention grabbing, but they introduce a level of expertise that your knowledge base alone may not have been able to achieve. Serving as evidence to support your claims, facts increase the value of your article as a resource making note of.
"The average consumer needs an average of 10.4 pieces of content in order to make a purchase decision." (Source: Google)
10.4 pieces of content? Who knew?
All it takes it one powerful reference to convince your readers to act on the remainder of your article. After all, the CTA often appears at the bottom of each of your posts. If you want your audience to convert, you have to get them to read the whole way through!