“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,…” The opening paragraph of “A Tale of Two Cities” is considered one of literature’s greatest openers. Back in 1859, in times when reading books was possibly one of the few indoor entertainment activities people engaged in, Charles Dickens had the skill to hook the reader right at the start. Of course, he also had the skill to finish with a flourish — “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” That closing line is among those most praised in literature.
Getting back to the point—you can transform every introduction into an irresistible hook that commands your audience's attention. Here are some ideas for creating an opening that will resonate with your audience and stay with them.
6 Proven Methods to Create Attention-Grabbing Intros
For your business, copywriting is an important component of effective marketing, and that’s why you do it. Your audience views it much differently. According to the Uses and Gratifications Theory (UGT), your audience is seeking a form of gratification. They may be looking for information or solutions, but they also want to be entertained during their quest. Writing that compelling introduction requires putting yourself in their shoes.
Here are some ways you can get them to start reading, and then keep reading to the end.
- Begin with a personal story – Draw the reader in with a funny anecdote or emotional story. Most humans love a good narrative, even a fictional one they can perhaps relate to, or can imagine as ‘real’. “Harry stares at a blank page while sipping his coffee. His rough draft is due tomorrow, and he doesn’t have a clue where to start.”
- Ask a question – Use the reader’s own pain points to make your content relevant. “Will writers be replaced by AI?” Burning question! Lots of opinions floating around, too.
- Use an interesting data point – Content use increased by 207% during the pandemic. “Are readers still interested in content?”
- Draw a mental picture – Visual imagery makes your audience want to use their imagination and engage deeper. Set the scene for your audience and don’t be shy to tell them what to do – “Imagine this …”
- Empathize with a problem – Communicate your awareness of your audience’s pain points. “Are you struggling to provide content to the tech industry?” Make sure to offer a solution to that problem.
- Throw in a teaser to show the benefit – Tell your reader what they’ll get from consuming your content. “You’ll learn what type of content is best for winning on the search results pages.”
Why Focus on the Introduction?
Since your audience already clicked on the headline, why bother with crafting a powerful introduction? Most people don’t ready anyway; they will just scan, so will they even read the intro? Both are valid questions. The truth is, yes, the headline is the 3-second hook. The next 10 seconds are even more critical to keeping the attention. Agreed, most of us just scan content online but the intro informs us about what follows in the rest of the content, so we can decide whether to `scan’ or ‘scat’.
What Motivates You to Keep Reading?
Got a short attention span? We all do. So here's the deal: when you're cooking up content, think about this – if your intro was a snack, would you devour it, or just give it the side-eye? If it's a side-eye situation, it’s time for a rewrite dance. And hey, if your content plan is feeling about as inspiring as a limp noodle, why not spice it up by joining forces with a content agency? They're like the cool chefs of the content world. MintCopy has a team of writers that will take your ideas to create content that your audience will want to read.