If your readers decide that your title is interesting, they might read your opening lines. Once again, you need to make a good impression. Just because they’ve started reading your blog post, doesn’t mean that your readers will continue.
Some of the techniques for writing opening lines, like meeting a need and being shocking or controversial, are used in writing titles too. Other techniques are unique, so let’s look at those.
Questions engage your readers by making them think about answers. Some questions help readers buy in to your post:
Other questions leave readers wondering what the answer is:
Readers are human and they love seeing the personal and human side of writers. Sharing a story, whether it’s about you, someone else, or is completely fictional, creates a personal connection that attracts readers.
Example: I ran into a tree today. I’m not usually so klutzy, but I was on the verge of a eureka moment….
Example: “You will have an adventurous career”, the fortune teller told me. While I wouldn’t describe my office job as adventurous, today’s guest certainly has an adventurous life.
In the first example, the story continues, while in the second example the story is a single line.
Another way to create a personal connection with readers is by empathizing with them. Maybe you’ve identified a need in your title and now you can sympathize about that need.
Example: You’ve just started content writing and you aren’t getting any projects. Trust me, I know how depressing that time feels. But it get’s better.
Empathy makes your readers feel valued. Follow your first empathizing sentences with sentences that promise and reassure your readers so that they know how they’ll benefit from reading your article.
Instead of telling a story about yourself, tell one about your readers. Let them picture themselves in a certain situation, whether that scenario is something that they have experience with or not.
Example: You’ve just won the Nobel Prize for Physics. There’s only one problem: you’ve got lots of speeches and interviews scheduled, and you’re terrified of public speaking.
Example: You’ve done everything right. Your blog is scannable, has plenty of content, and is written by experienced writers. But almost no one is reading it. Why? Oh, I think I know what your problem is! What’s your SEO strategy?
Remember how popular numbered lists in titles are? Well, statistics are popular too.
Example: 75% of households in the United States have internet in the home
Quotes are another way of establishing authority.
Example: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” — Ernest Hemingway
When you use a statistic or quote as an opening line, make sure that you’re choosing it because it’s a good fit and not because you’re too lazy to think of your own opening line.