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Sunday, December 18, 2016

 

How to Write the First Paragraph of Your Blog Post

Blog posts are important when used as marketing tools, freelance income, and editorial expression. To reach your audience online, connect with them, and get them to read an entire blog post, you have to begin with an opening that either gets right to the point (like this one), makes them laugh out loud (not like this one), or reaches them on an emotional level. This is not much different from what you've learned about article writing. However, with a blog post, you have a fewer number of words to catch your readers' attention because they're probably in skimming mode, until something catches their eye. (Have you seen the way people scroll through social media apps on their phones at top speed?)

Here are some beginnings that work well and why:

  • We all know life as a parent (single or not) is NOT easy. If you think it is and you are doing a good job, then you should write a book or bottle your mojo because you’ll make a fortune. For the rest of us, and I know I’m not alone, despite what Facebook says, I have thought of 3 very simple ways to make your life easier as a parent. (by me, on my blog--margoldill.com)

This beginning has humor and gets to the point in a few sentences. When reading this, you know the tone of the piece, and you know there are going to be three ways given to make your life easier as a parent. If you are looking for ways to make your life easier as a dog trainer or wanting to read a serious piece on parenting, you know to skip this article because thanks to my beginning, I spell out what readers should expect while waiting in the carpool line or riding the train on the way home from work.

  • There might not be a cure for the summertime blues, but there are a few things that might help with the creativity blues. You know, those dry spells you encounter when you can’t think of anything to write, or when everything you write seems awful? Yes, we’ve all been there! But creativity is the drive behind art, so when it dries out, we’ve got to tend it, help it bloom again. (From Wow! Women On Writing, Friday Speak Out author Erin Liles)
This beginning is also nice and short and immediately connects with the author's audience because it was published on The Muffin. All of us reading this blog have most likely suffered from the creativity blues. We've all probably felt the desperation that comes from it; and as she states easily in her beginning, we must get over it. Her promise in these few short sentences is that this blog posts is going to help us figure out how to get past writer's block, a creativity black hole. 

  • So far in this blog series, I’ve covered the importance of a website and a blog in your overall marketing strategy. Now we move into the ever-changing and exciting world of social media. (From The Lit Ladies, Camille Faye, author of Voodoo Butterfly)
This is a perfect blog post opening because readers know that 1) this is a series about marketing strategies; and if they like this post, they should look up the other two  2) this author has a humorous tone and knows that social media marketing is not the easiest for writers, but important 3) it's short. 

Don't panic. I've written plenty of blog opening paragraphs that are not perfect and do not cover the strategies I've listed here. But I really believe that you have only a few seconds to catch a reader's attention. Consider this also: a few places where you post your blog link sometimes show the first sentence or two of your post, so make it count. Try different beginnings based on the type of post you are writing, and most importantly, connect with your audience from the first line. 

Margo L. Dill is an author, editor, writer and teacher, living in St. Louis, MO. Read her blog at margoldill.com or sign up for her novel writing course in the WOW! classroom. To read her post about how to create good blog titles, check it out here

computer photo by orangeacid on Flickr.com











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7 Comments:

Blogger Sioux said...

Great post, Margo. Do you do the same thing I do when contemplating buying a book? I read the first few lines. If it doesn't grab me, I usually put it down.

As you say, posts have even less time to grab us. Thanks for the reminder.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

I do that with books--but it's mostly to get a feel for the writing. I am a chronic skimmer (I need to change this), so I think this is why this first blog paragraph thing is so relevant in my mind.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

These are great examples, Margo! For me, coming up with beginnings is easy, but the endings are a little harder. I always wonder if I should end with a call to action, a question to encourage comments, a summary, or just wrap up with a profound thought. Maybe that's a good one to cover on your next post? ;)

11:06 AM  
Blogger MP said...

Love this post! Including helpful examples always works for me.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

Hey Ang:
That is a great idea for my last blog post in December. Thanks! :)

Marcia: I love examples too. I think it is the best way to learn.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Patricia McGoldrick said...

Great tips!

10:13 AM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

Thanks for checking it out, Patricia! :)

12:54 PM  

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