How to Begin and End your Articles for Maximum Dazzle

    begin and end your articles - man writing

    I don’t know if you’ve ever tried eating a one-slice sandwich.

    Yeah, one slice.

    Put one slice down. Then pile the slice with chicken, mayonnaise,
    pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and sauces.

    Now eat the slice of bread, will ya?
    Ummm…I’d rather not, you say

    Because even a dumbo knows that a one-slice sandwich is a recipe for disaster. The chicken pieces will drop; mayonnaise will ooze; pickles will pop and your clothes will be a sea of green lettuce.

    Come to think of it, there’s no such thing as a one-slice sandwich!

    There’s no such thing as a one-slice article either!

    Your first fifty words of your article are the top slice.
    The last fifty words are your bottom slice.

    Ever noticed the difference between slices of bread?

    There is no difference. They look the same. They’re the same colour, the same tone. In any normal sandwich, two slices of bread are mirror images of each other. And the sandwiching effect is what keeps the stuffing together.

    Why on earth would you bother with sandwiching?

    In one word: Closure.

    Every showbiz person cringes at the curse of a bad ending. They know fully well, that a great presentation would crumble like a week-old cookie, if the ending wasn’t dramatic enough.
    You don’t have, or need, the whiz-bang of show-biz

    You don’t need the 70 piece orchestra. You can create a great crescendo by simply sandwiching your article.
    Tah, dah…Live examples of sandwiching in action

    The first example/article below starts with Sarah and her testimonial. It starts with the problem of Sarah not being around to give a live testimonial. The article ends with Sarah and her testimonial.

    The second article starts with the Olympics and deadlines. The article ends with Olympics and deadlines. And it gives you the solution, by recommending external deadlines. Read the articles below to see exactly how the opening and closing paragraphs are mirrors of each other.

    Example No.1:

    Opening paragraphs:
    You’re at a live speaking event and you sure miss Sarah.

    You see at your last event Sarah stood up and told the audience how wonderful you were. She told the audience how reluctant she was before buying your consulting services, and investing in your product. Then Sarah revealed her trump card. As a result of working with you, she now earns over $50,000 more than she did last year. She told the audience how much more confidence she has. How clients are flocking to her like they’ve never done before. How she took her first vacation in years.

    And darn, Sarah’s not around at this event. And no one’s around to take Sarah’s place. Darn, darn, darn.

    Closing Paragraphs:
    A written testimonial doesn’t allow for description of a customer. If you described a customer, you could at best talk about their occupation/post and designation. You could have a photo. Any other description would seem like overkill.In a real life situation, you have no such restrictions. You can paint a powerful picture by simply describing the customer in great detail.And then it will seem like Sarah’s around — At every event!

    Example No.2:

    Opening Paragraph:
    Ever seen an Olympics opening ceremony postponed because they needed to push the deadline just a little further? Have you ever seen an Olympics abandoned because some one was ill or feeling lazy? So how come your tiny marketing project runs into so much trouble, time after time?
    I call it the curse of internal marketing deadlines.

    Closing Paragraph:
    Get yourself a whole bunch of external deadlines
    Take the client’s money in advance. Then see how your you-know-what will be on fire. Your Olympics will loom up and you’ll have no choice but to deliver.
    Internal deadlines are a curse. Go for external deadlines. They give you focus.

    The Psychology Behind Sandwiching

    The biggest reason your customer started reading the article, is because they snuggled up to your first fifty words. When you use ‘sandwiching’ in your copywriting, you close with the same thought that attracted your customer in the first place.

    You didn’t have to create a whole lot of whiz-bang to end on a crescendo. All you had to do was mirror your ending paragraphs with the opening paragraphs. And yipee-yahooey, you have a powerful closure.

    Ahem, remember one more thing

    You noticed that the articles started with a problem, and ended with a solution, didn’t you? Starting with the problem gets your customer’s attention, and closing with the solution, creates a parallel form of closure. In all your copy, look to create drama when opening your copy and create closure when closing your copy.

     

    Don’t let the draught in.. .

    The ending of your copy needs closure. Don’t leave the door on your article open.

    Stop for a second, and look at the article you’re writing today

    Do the opening and ending paragraphs nicely hold the contents of your article/copy together? Does your article have a top and bottom slice?

    Or are you still taking a gamble on a one-slice sandwich?

     

    image courtesy of Pixabay

    About the author

      Sean D'Souza

      Sean D'Souza is a writer, marketing guru and expert on sales psychology. Read more by Sean on Psychotactics.com

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    • Bill says:

      Just a piece of pedantry. The sandwich was invented as I understand it by..

      “Lord Sandwich (who) was fond of this form of food because it allowed him to continue playing cards, particularly cribbage, while eating without getting his cards greasy from eating meat with his bare hands… (Wikipedia)

      The importance of this article is also illustrated by George Lucas, movie producer who said something like:
      “The secret of movie making is to have a hot opening, hot close, and don’t screw up the middle:

    • Hi Sean, I’ve just put your suggestions into action in my new article Can Meditation Heal?

      A question that came up is: how thin or thick should the slices be?
      Mine are thin. Too thin??

    • Hello Sean.

      Great analogy. In fact it is the closing that finally closes the deal most of the times. This happens in great books too. It is the last page that makes you feel that you are going to miss reading this book.

    • I’m with Mary on this one. Quite literally my latest post just didn’t “feel right”. I knew it was the way I had ended it but had no idea how to remedy it. I just went back and “closed” it with the proverbial piece of bread and it now tastes so much better!

      I bet I could do the same with my other posts as well. Thank you Sean

    • Hning says:

      This has been a helluva clear-cut-carat article. Thank you for finishing 5-6 of my open ended drafts for me. You can now visit and approve the immediate application to your suggestion here. Anchored, tying problem with solution, for your convenience.

    • Interesting analogy Sean. Great post. I’ll get cracking on this immediately.

    • I like this analogy better than the bookend idea we usually hear; the result if you don’t follow it sounds more messy!

      This is similar to what Dale Carnegie taught about public speaking. Tell them what you’re going to talk about, talk about it, then tell them what you talked about. It works!

      Thanks for a great post.

    • Jesse says:

      My entries always read more like personal journal entries…but then that’s how I’ve always treated my blogs, I’m not out to make money, just share stories and advise from my own life experiences.

      That said, I’m totally going to go back over old posts and see what’s going on…

    • I recognise there is a one-sided sandwich (I’ve even seen it and taken a photo of it).

      However I get your point. 🙂 It’s important not to distract the reader with something that can easily be avoided.

    • Hi Joe, the original Lord Sandwich would not have recognized the one-platform thing as a real and proper sandwich! As far as I know, he created the sandwich to be eaten at picnics – where knives and forks aren’t readily available. He was the first fast-food fanatic 🙂

      Personally, I like the idea of creating articles with a (double-faced) sandwich in mind. After reading Sean’s article, I looked back at some of my articles at GoodlifeZEN that I wasn’t quite satisfied with. Now I know why – the energy of some of my articles leaked out at the end, instead of being contained through that second slice of bread.

      Thanks for a useful article, Sean!

    • Chase says:

      i like how you format your posts. a lot of bloggers try to do this – bold some sentences, italicize others, indents, font size changes, etc – but it almost always looks forced. Yours seems natural and actually draws my interest in.

      anyway, good post! nice introduction!

    • Joe says:

      It’s called an open face sandwich. You use a knife and fork. Or not even that if you toast the bread first.

      By which I mean to say, choose your metaphors with care.


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