Think back to the last time you were at an event where speakers gave presentations.
Typically, some sessions fly by and others quickly make you think:
“Now’s a good time to go to the bathroom and get a snack.”
While a number of factors cause those two scenarios, a common reason for the Bathroom-Snack train of thought is that the speaker didn’t make their presentation audience-focused.
The words they chose to lead with may have been relevant and informative, but they didn’t stir up the desire to keep listening.
Content is also a presentation. And how you shape that presentation determines whether someone wants to learn from you … or from someone else.
“Action” in our content introductions can take a variety of forms, but they all stir up the desire to keep reading.
Let’s look at three of these “Action Types.”
Action Type #1: An unusual point of view
I’m the first to admit that “being outrageous for the sake of being outrageous” is tiring.
So, the “unusual point of view” I’m referring to is one that takes advantage of your creativity and research skills; it’s not just a wild statement.
It could be:
- A comparison your reader hasn’t heard before
- A little-known statistic you’re going to analyze
- An unpopular stance you want to support with a strong argument
It’s about being genuinely bold.
Which inspires curiosity.
Action Type #2: Next-level benefits
Your article may be very similar to others on the same topic.
How do you get someone to choose yours?
Tell your ideal reader exactly what she wants and needs to hear in both your headline and introduction.
You can uncover these “next-level benefits” with a technique I call Extreme Brainstorming.
Challenge yourself to get more clear about who you’re talking to and the transformation they hope to achieve.
Write down all the different ways you could state the most compelling benefits of your article, narrow down your top choices, and then select the strongest one.
For example, your article won’t have a general headline like:
How to Wake Up at 5AM
It’ll have more details:
How to Wake Up at 5AM Every Day, Even When You’re Not a Morning Person
Readers choose the articles that most closely relate to their specific struggles.
Of course, your content must deliver on your headline’s promise.
Action Type #3: Reader participation
That’s how I started this article.
I asked you to “Think back to the last time …,” which invites you to explore today’s topic with me.
You can encourage a reader to:
- Forget about [a popular notion]
- Set a timer to do an exercise or game
When your introduction only explains information, you don’t show your reader that you have something to offer that they won’t find anywhere else. Here’s a straightforward way to engage while you explain.
Try combining this Action Type with Action Type #1 and Action Type #2 above to introduce that unique point of view you have or next-level benefits you want to immediately communicate.
Readers should feel confident about choosing your article — which will increase the chances that they’ll want to check out your content again in the future.
Make a great first impression to grow your audience
We all love something new.
Something we haven’t seen before.
Something that makes us think, “Damn. I wish I wrote that.”
That’s why compelling introductions are directly related to growing your audience. That first impression is your opportunity to persuade. Show a new reader that you’re not like everyone else.
How much time do you spend on your introductions? Do you have any favorite techniques that help you stand out?
Share in the comments below.