Become a Top Blogger By Mary Jaksch Imagine you’ve been invited to a party where you don’t know anyone. You’ve come through the door, grab a drink, and stand there feeling like a pony with five legs. Nobody seems to pay any attention to you. After a while, you start sidling to the door in order to escape. Or maybe you tough it out and start making conversation. This scenario isn’t much fun. Here’s another scenario: You go to the same party, but this time, the host spots you hovering on the doorstep, guides you into the room, hands you a drink and shows you around, introducing you to the other guests. That would feel a lot better, right? The difference lies in the introduction. In the first scenario, you didn’t feel welcome. Whereas in the second scenario, your host connected with you. When you think of visiting a blog and reading a post, the experience is quite similar. If there is no introduction to the post you’re about to read, you may feel unwelcome and leave. Why? Because the headline promised a wonderful experience, but the start of the post didn’t match up. How to Start a Blog Post: 10 Ways to Draw Readers In 1. Invite the reader. The reader will feel at home if he or she feels that their concerns will be met. And that your blog is a friendly place to visit. One way is to address the reader directly. Example Intro #1: Do you feel insecure, anxious, and doubtful about your writing? Example Intro #2: Does it ever seem like you have more adversity in your life than other people do? As if everyone around you is having an easier time of things than you are? You begin to feel sorry for yourself and think, “Why does this stuff always happen to ME?” From: How to Overcome Adversity and Steal Its Power | RebootAuthentic 2. State a commonality. When you state something that you have in common with your readers, you create an immediate bond. Example 1 We all seem to be getting more self-obsessed by the day. Turn on your TV or open a web browser, and narcissism hits you smack in the face — everything screams ME! ME! ME! From: How To Teach Your Kids To Be Compassionate |MindBodyGreen Example 2 Everyone agrees that fitness is good. It boosts your health, brightens your soul, calms your mind, and allows you to do more with your life. From: Want to Be Fit – or Even Ultra-Fit? |Goodlife ZEN 3. Be personal. Address your reader like a friend. A great way to do this is to tell a personal story. Example 1 “Just one big idea. One big idea, and we can change the world.” I made the mistake of uttering those words in the back seat of a car many years ago in the company of some older, wiser colleagues. 4 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me in My Twenties |Relevant Magazine Example 2 I’m a big subscriber to using whatever you can find to work out: pullups on trees, throw big boulders, flip logs or big tires, jump over things, sprint up hills. From: Minimalist Gym| Zen Habits Example 3 Blogging has been very good to me over the last twelve and a half years, but it’s come at a personal cost that I’m sure many can relate to. From: Hey Bloggers! Is it Time to Focus a little Less on Your Blog and A Little More on YOU? |Problogger 4. Be exciting. Create a mystery in your introduction that then unfolds in the main part. When you use this strategy, you create a bridge from the headline (which should offer a promise) to the middle part – which delivers the promise. The key is to intimate to your readers in the introduction what are you going to reveal to them in the rest of the article. Example 1 I’m a psychiatrist… in training at least. The stories I have heard within these walls could fill a book, but there is one particular case that has caused me to lose sleep. This story has plagued my mind for far too long. Typing this out is my feeble attempt to make sense of something my rational mind refuses to comprehend. From: My Creepy Psychiatric Patient Practiced Voodoo, Here’s What Happened To Me When I Investigated Her |ThoughtCatalog Example 2 Your headline is the first impression you make on a prospective reader. Without a compelling promise that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist. So, from a copywriting and content marketing standpoint, writing great headlines is a critical skill. Here are some interesting statistics … From: How to Write Magnetic Headlines | CopyBlogger 5. Offer the “why” of your post. Write about what triggered this topic in your mind, or in your life. Example When I started the 8-Week Fitness Challenge, I had no idea what the response might be. I was amazed when about 100 people joined the Challenge! It seems that there is a quiet revolution in progress. From: Fitness: 5 Things that Make Exercise Enjoyable| Goodlife ZEN 6. Lead with a story. A personal story can be a great way to draw your readers into a post. Of course the personal story needs to focus on the key issue of your post. Example 1 Naked emotions? Like I felt when I finally gave up screaming for help. When I sank to my knees and wept by the side of the stream, watching my horse about to drown–and unable to rescue her. From: How to Write Better: 3 Secrets of Transmitting Naked Emotions |WritetoDone Example 2 When a young Turkish boy named Celal Kapan first began to speak, almost the first thing he said was: “What am I doing here? I was at the port.” Later he told his parents that he had been a dockworker who had fallen asleep in the hold of a ship when a heavy oil drum fell on him and killed him instantly. Was he remembering a previous life? From: Is there Life After Death?| Goodlife ZEN 7. Ask questions. A question that is unanswered feels incomplete. Questions intensify the reader’s curiosity. The key is to ask questions that the reader can’t answer without further information. Example 1 Why is your prospect on the fence? From: Deadly Conversion Busters: Turning ‘Yeah, But’ Into ‘Yes, Please’| Copyblogger Example 2 Could it really be possible that almost everything you are doing to promote your website is a waste of time? From: 11 Traffic Techniques That Are a Waste of Time for Beginners |BoostBlogTraffic 8. State facts. Details increase the value of your post and boost your credibility. Use exact numbers if you can. Readers tend to trust numbers. Example 1 In 1995, authors, experts and influencers sold $10 million worth of eBooks through Amazon. 18 years later that number has grown to $1.6 billion. Despite the growth, something is changing… From: New Facebook Tool: How To Use It To Convert Comments Into Sales |JeffBullas Example 2 Sex may be a common topic in the US, but there are some facts about sex that most of the American population is unaware of. For instance, cold feet is probably the reason for a lack of orgasm. A UK study found that 80% of couples wearing socks during intercourse were able to reach orgasm, but only 50% of those who were sockless were able to reach orgasm. 9. Use quotes. Quotes are a great way to lead into your post. Everyone loves quotes. They are usually by well-known authors and through using their quotes, you are borrowing their authority. If you use quotes supporting the main points of your post, this will increase the reader’s trust in you. Example What unites us as human beings is an urge for happiness which at heart is a yearning for union. ~ Sharon Salzberg From: Unraveled? Here’s How to Knit Yourself and the World Together| Zen Habits 10. Anecdotes. If you can find good anecdotes, the introduction is a great place to place them. Anecdotes are short, punchy stories. Speech writers often lead in with an anecdote because it help the audience to pay attention. Example: Google just introduced customizable background images on their site. Here’s what happened: “I need to search for someth…. wait, huh? What is Google celebrating today, the guy who invented transparency? A background image, oh weird, it’s like a mountain view. Oh I get it… Mountain View! I wonder who that woman on the dock is? Not a huge fan of big, busy images… too distracting. What other pictures are there? Yuck. Yuck. Nice for a photo album, but too busy for this page. Meh, the colored background is ok, red… no, gray, yeah, gray. Actually, maybe I want—Wait, I was supposed to be searching, how do I turn this off? Wait, why does clicking remove background image just return the original picture of the woman on the dock, I just want nothing to be there. Argh!” From: A Google Background Image Anecdote| Plastic Mind Conclusion The introduction is a crucial part of a blog post. It’s a chance to connect with readers and encourage them to read your post. You may think that it’s common knowledge how to write a good introduction, but about 60% of all guest posts that land on my desk lack an introduction. It’s not a difficult skill to learn; it just takes practice. A great way to learn how to write good intros is to try out all of the ten ways above in turn.