Writing a Strong Introduction

 

hand holding pen writing

Don’t agonize over writing a strong introduction. Begin by writing your conclusion first. If you are clear where you want readers to end up then charting the course to get them there becomes easier.

© All Rights Reserved – Any content reblogged from one cool site must adhere to the terms of © Copyright

You can use “strategic listening” via online tools to listen what’s being said about any topic before you write about it and publish,  but how you say what you have to say makes a big difference when it comes to getting your posts read.

Powerful writing is readable, focused, concrete and well-suited for its audience. Powerful writing is  compelling and passionate.   Powerful writing develops gracefully. Powerful writing flows.– 8 Qualities of Powerful Writing

The more you write, the more powerful and persuasive your writing will become and the larger your audience will grow.

Once your targeted post title has piqued reader interest, your first sentence must be a strong one that “hooks” readers into reading on. So sitting down to write by creating a strong introduction right off the top can be intimidating. I prefer to create an outline and use it as a map but the parts I complete aren’t always done 1-2-3 order. When I bog down I refresh my intention and  remind myself of my target audience, what I have to say and my desired outcome.

If you have been bogged down trying to create a strong introduction then try focusing on drafting a conclusion that sums up what you want to communicate and what you expect from your readers in response.  It works for me and for others too because conclusions often mirror introductory paragraphs.

Once you have a draft conclusion (first drafts are inevitably awful), edit it and in doing so you may find you have more than enough of what it takes to create a winsome introductory paragraph too.

Here is some advice about creating a strong introduction.

  1. Readers skim read so use targeted keywords and keep your introduction simple and use as few words as possible.
  2. Lead with a compelling opening statement, an interesting quotation or a provocative question.
  3. Provide enough background to set the stage for the featured content.
  4. Craft your penultimate sentence to create a smooth transition between your lead and content.
  5. Make your thesis statement or take your stand on your topic in the final sentence of your introduction.

For six tried and true strategies for creating an attention getting introduction read Writing a Blog Post.

Discussions

Do you agonize over introductions?

Have you tried putting the cart before the horse as I described in my post?

Related posts found in this blog:
Top 5 Informative Writing Tips for Bloggers
Better Blogging: Powerful, Persuasive Writing

40 thoughts on “Writing a Strong Introduction

  1. Excellent advice. Couldn’t agree more that a strong opening “hook” is crucial.

    I usually try to write a post straight thru, then preview and edit it, and then repeat that process a dozen times or more. Shortening a post almost always makes it stronger. It’s the nature of the beast.

    1. Hi Mark,
      You are so right about shortening a post. Short meaty posts get more attention than longer ones and when we make our points concise and precise they are more memorable. Merry Christmas!

  2. When I did the travel writing course, one of the first things I learned was to know what the hook of the story was going to be. I find if I decide on the hook before I start writing it’s much easier to get going. And I do like to finish with a reference back to the introduction to tie the story together.

    1. I’m with you on that but there have been times when I could not decide on what the hook would be. Those are the times that I write the conclusion first, then the body content and lastly, the introduction and title.

        1. I`m glad to hear that. If you discover any new strategies for coming up with a strong introduction when you get stuck please return and post them here.

  3. Damned thieves! So sorry to hear of your hard work being pilfered TiTi, obviously some people have no problems with the blank page. Seasons greetings and all best to you for the new year!

    1. Hi Patti,
      All the best of the seaon to you as well.

      P.S. The content thief’s site contains tutorials and I am not convinced that a single one is under the copyright of the site holder. I think this is a typical snatch content artist who will no doubt monetize the site and use the sotlen content to make money. If every make money bullshitter blogger were wiped off the planet I would host the celebration party.

  4. Thanks for the helpful information. I never really thought about writing my blog posts that way. Usually I see something interesting online, do a ‘press this’ and then the link to the original article shows up as a title to my blog post. Then I write my post commenting with whatever I feel like saying about the article. I haven’t really been doing this very long and I’ve been pretty busy with other things since I started. I had hoped to write more of my own (without linking and commenting on other peoples articles) but I’ve found some of the most interesting things and just felt like sharing. Is that so bad?????
    I would really like to learn how to write better, your post will help (I hope) ;-)

  5. For my personal blog since I tend to write more from my heart (or at least part of it), I agonize less over intros. Usually I try to pull in the reader in a more relaxed manner, sometimes with a surprising line or 2. But that doesn’t happen much. I try to make the intro unique to my experience…

    1. Hi Jean,
      I may agonize less over intros in my personal blog but I still agonize. That’s why I try everything in the book to cut down the anxiety and make the hook come clear to me ASAP.

    1. I refuse to let a thief steal my happiness as well as my blog post. I’m just about ready to head off to our Winter Solstice party. Merry Christmas. Wishing all the best for you and all my readers during this holiday season.

  6. I am so sorry to hear about the theft of your post. How low can a person go? Thank you for all your lovely posts during the year and for your help in the forums.I will reblog it on my blog and hopefully that will send more people your way so that you get more traffic.
    I hope you and your loved ones will have a very Happy Christmas and New Year. :)

    1. Hello there Judy,
      Dealing with content theft is an aggravation no one needs. Thanks so much for the offer and also for the kind words. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours too. :)

  7. I dread the introduction. No matter how much I outline, the intro never comes easy. But that’s a good thing as well. It forces me to think hard about what the piece is about, what I want to say, and how the piece is ultimately shaped.

    I do like the suggestion of flipping introduction and conclusion around. Maybe I’ll try that.

  8. I’m so sorry to hear about your post being stolen TT. As one who’s been helped more times than I can count – both here and in the forums – I think that’s such a terrible shame. This post is an example of the kind of stuff that helps make blogging better for us all. Please keep up the good work! :D

  9. As this post has been stolen and republished on a splog I’d appreciate it if my readers would please click the share links at the bottom of the post so my post gets the traffic rather than that splog.

  10. It’s critical to grab the writer immediately – and it’s difficult. Writing backwards often works…or throw stuff on the page as a draft, then once done sometimes you look back and go, “Oh, this is the way it needs to start” – and then it fits perfect. The brain sometimes needs a bit of time to sort and simmer before distilling the beginning.

    1. Captnmike is right about the dreaded blank page. It’s my first barrier to writing. I start typing anything no matter how bad it is even if I’ll delete it all later just to get going. Once I’m under way then I can relax a bit and start struggling with concepts, their development and ordering, grammar, etc. For me editing never ends. I guess linking to earlier posts is a good thing as I find posts I published ages ago that I thought were error free but they aren’t so months or even years later I’m editing them.

      P.S. We have snow this morning and I am still sending Kupa healing thoughts.

  11. Totally agree on the reading things out loud. What I find hardest is I sometimes come up with some lovely ideas in the first draft that don’t make the final post, because they just don’t ‘fit’. I find it quite hard to delete them because I like them as standalone thoughts. I end up cutting and pasting these to a blank doc in case I can use them on a different post.

    1. Hi Abby,
      I also read what I write out loud and I’m glad Captnmike brought that up because it’s really helpful to do so. Like you I copy and paste good stuff that doesn’t fit into what I’m writing into a draft post. Eventually I have enough to work with to make it into a post or I add them into another one.

      P.S. I love your Blogging in a Blogging Wonderland

  12. I struggle with the writing, my first task is to get something down. The first intro usually sucks, but I don’t over edit the first draft. Then I go back and start smoothing thing out. Read the whole Post from the start and fix as I go through. Usually I identify wording that is awkward to go back and smooth out..

    Once I get the body of the Post fixed I start back on the intro. I will work on the intro as that is what my readers and subscribers see, and the intro needs to hook people along with the title. Bad news, a good “hook” is not always the best for SEO at times.

    If I am struggling with part of a Post I will read it out loud to myself. Amazing how much junk jumps out with the read out loud thing.

    I try and let a new Post “age” for a while (over night or at least a few hours) before hitting publish, and even then I will find a few things shortly after I publish that I will go back and fix.

    Looks like you have some good guides that I will go back and review.

    The biggest thing for me it to get the words down in the first place. Editing can fix most everything but a blank page!!

    thanks

    1. Hi there,
      I hear you. Staring at a blank page can be paralyzing and second guessing your topic can send you into a tailspin. Getting something ie. anything down no matter how awful is a starting point. I type a draft title and then just hammer away on the keys until something sensible surfaces. It will take several editing sessions until there is something that can be referred to as a working draft. I usually do the conclusion before the introduction but that’s not always true as sometimes everything flows beautifully from beginning to end. Like you I do read everything out loud and more than once too. I also read from end to beginning and uncover errors by doing that. The last two things I do are the introduction and replacing the working title with the actual title. Sometimes I switch the conclusion and introduction around.

Comments are closed.