Want to know once and for all how to craft opening lines that engage readers and also support your SEO efforts?
A blog introduction carries quite a bit of responsibility. These couple of lines of copy must intrigue the person enough that they’ll gladly devote their attention to the rest of the page.
The blog intro must also reassure readers that they’ll find what they’re looking for on the page. What’s more, it should help Google understand what the page is about.
And all of that is quite a challenge, isn’t it? Particularly when you consider that you have to achieve it all in just a few short paragraphs.
Here, you’ll find seven simple ways to write awesome blog introductions quickly, hook readers from the opening line, and support your SEO goals in the process.
Why You Have to Start a Blog Post With a Bang (and Why It’s Good for Your SEO, Too)
The meat of your content — the information the person is searching for — lies far beyond the introduction.
It’s that list of tips that they want. Or the in-depth explanation of whatever issue they’re facing.
Or perhaps it’s the walkthrough showing a person how to complete a particular task that they’ve been searching Google for.
But it’s hard to imagine that readers would come to the content for the introduction.
Then why do the first sentences you use at the start of your blog post matter so much?
Why is there so much fuss about blog introductions (and why are they so difficult to write)?
For one, the introduction is what makes the rest of your content work.
Let’s Look at Blog Introductions From a Copywriting Point of View
Copywriters know the power of the opening lines. Whether it’s an ad, product overview, webpage copy, or content marketing asset, they know that the first lines they write will make or break the copy.
A Captivating Opening Invites Readers to Stay on the Page
A good introduction draws a person in and entices them to continue reading.
By the way, this statement is equally true for all kinds of writing – from fiction, sales copy to creating marketing-driven content.
The introduction’s job is to intrigue a reader enough so they will want to continue reading. It also needs to set the tone for the content to come and communicate that the page contains the information they’ve been looking for.
It Connects the Reader With You
Blog opening works much like the start of a conversation. The opening paragraph can also show your personality and helps you connect with the reader on an emotional level.
I often open blog posts by stating the common woes with the problem I’m writing about. For example, I opened a post about A/B testing with these words:
You’ve promised to increase that new landing page’s conversions and now everyone’s watching your hands.
The idea seemed so simple, at the time, didn’t it? You just needed to replicate A/B tests that worked for others and voila… more conversions guaranteed.
But it didn’t work, did it?
Implemented one by one, other people’s split tests brought no result whatsoever…”
A Good Blog Introduction Makes a Promise
It talks about the benefits of reading the content and excites the reader to do it.
You see this aspect of good introductions often, actually. Every time someone ends the introductions with a statement like “In this post, you’ll discover…”, they make a promise and entice a reader to stay on the page.
Then There’s SEO…
Granted, optimization has little significance when you’re writing the ad copy. But when it comes to content marketing, most of what we write must also rank well in Google.
This means that we have to:
- Communicate the topic of the content clearly from the start.
- Ensure that Google understands it and indexes the post correctly.
A strong blog opening can help with the above.
First of all, you can (and absolutely should) include the target keyword or its variation in the opening lines.
This way, you will communicate the topic to Google and reassure the search engine that this content is about what the headline claims it to be.
Plus, you can weave relevant keywords in the introduction to provide additional context to explain the page’s topic even better.
But there’s something else — something you may not realize about introductions and their effect on SEO.
A good introduction will convince someone to keep reading. That’s a great benefit in itself because it means that the person will see and possibly enjoy the content you’ve written.
That one thing alone can lead to some amazing business results:
- The person might sign up for your email list, after all. Sure, conversions to a newsletter are low, typically. But if you add a lead magnet to your post, your chances of getting new signup can grow exponentially.
- The person might also go check out your product. They might, possibly, sign up for a demo, make a purchase, you name it. But, again, direct conversions from blog content aren’t spectacularly high. Having said that, many strategies can help convert blog traffic into sales.
Even the simplest outcome of them reading your copy – gaining awareness about your brand – is a fantastic result of them reading the copy.
But there is an SEO benefit of having users stay on a page – sending strong user engagement signals.
To explain this, we must change our perspective a little and look at the issue from Google’s perspective. The search engine’s objective is clear: To provide searchers with the most relevant and useful information.
Google (and other search engines, too) want to rank the most useful content first and use the user engagement as a way to establish that usefulness.
Having readers stay longer on a page will increase your engagement metrics and will positively affect the SEO.
And that’s something a captivating blog introduction can help you with as well.
Here’s how to write blog introductions that achieve all those benefits and more.
7 Ways to Start a Blog Post to Captivate Readers and Boost SEO
1. Start with an Interesting Statistic
Maybe you prefer to use statistics somewhere in the copy, not in its opening sentence. And it makes sense.
Stats are convincing information that can be used to convince a reader and back up any arguments a writer is making.
But stats can also spike a reader’s interest and capture their attention. This is particularly true if a fact or stat you use is shocking or presents an unexpected take on something the reader knows about.
Here’s another example from a post I wrote a couple of years ago:
“Intimidating, isn’t it?
Last year, 16% of marketers said they publish content every day and 26% admitted doing it a couple of times a week. Another 17% confirmed to be firing up new stuff to the blog at least once a week.
And this year, 76% of them admitted that they plan to increase their efforts!”
2. Ask the Reader a Direct Question About the Problem the Post is Addressing
Asking a question is the simplest way to start a blog post, engage a reader, and weave keywords in the introduction.
And you can do this in multiple ways:
- Ask directly whether a person struggles with the problem you’re trying to help them solve in the content: “Are you struggling with writing blog introductions?” With certain problems, it can pack a serious punch.
- Paint a picture of the person’s current situation: “Are you trying to improve your organic traffic with other departments still undermining your efforts?”
- Ask users whether they want the solution you offer: “Do you want to start writing better introductions almost instantly?”
3. Tell Readers How You’ve Solved the Problem
You can make this type of blog introduction sound like a short tale or a testimonial.
“In 2019, our agency nearly failed because of [PROBLEM].
Today, our revenue is X times higher than ever before, and [OTHER BENEFITS]. And that’s all because we did one thing right – [SOLUTION]”
It’s a relatively simple opening. But because it references the problem and what happened after implementing the solution, it can spike a reader’s interest and convince them to read more.
What’s more, by referencing both the problem and solution, you provide all the information to Google to know exactly what the page is about.
4. Paint a Picture in the Reader’s Mind
Your readers come to your content for something. They have a problem, and they see you as someone who might help.
You can play on their needs in the introduction. It’s one way to make the opening more relevant and engaging.
Pose a question about something your reader may want or need; for example:
“What if I told you that to rank your content well, you don’t have to rely on luck or Google’s mood on the day?”
Or tell their story and present the situation from the reader’s perspective:
“Oh, I bet you know the feeling so well.
You slaved over that new piece of content. Hit the keys so hard that your fingers nearly started to bleed.
Finally, you hit publish, and…
… there’s nothing.
Well, the next days brought a trickle of traffic. But that breakthrough you were hoping for didn’t happen.
5. Confront Their Mistakes
This is a slight variation of the blog introduction above.
Sometimes, you just have to tell the person what they did wrong (or even that they have made a mistake, actually). You have to encourage them to confront their mistakes.
I don’t mean insulting your reader.
But a gentle confrontation can grab a reader’s attention, convince them that you know what you’re talking about, and get them to read the rest of the copy.
An added SEO bonus is that you’ll most likely also reveal the page’s topic quite clearly by referencing their mistake.
6. State the Topic of the Post
Look, this isn’t a strategy you want to overuse. But it can help if you’re stuck with writing that blog intro.
It’s the simplest way to start a blog post, actually, where you simply tell a reader what the content is all about.
“This post is about generating leads with live chat. Discover the best practices for using live chat for lead generation and learn how to convert more website visitors into leads.”
As said, it’s not a blog opening you should be using often.
It’s boring, after all. It’s not going to make your blog look particularly exciting, especially to someone who’s going to view more than that article.
But it’s perfect if you’re feeling stuck and need to write that opening fast.
7. List All the Questions a Reader Might Have About the Problem
When readers begin searching for advice, they, typically, have experienced the problem for some time already. As a result, they may have a whole bunch of questions about it.
They might want to know more generic information about it or think of a particular use case that they want to investigate further, and so on.
Listing all those questions in the opening not only will make the introduction more relevant, but it will also cover a whole range of relevant keywords.
A strong blog opening can engage readers and convince them to keep reading.
It will also reassure them about the content’s relevance to their problem.
Finally, a good blog introduction will also assist your SEO efforts in two ways:
- It will help Google understand the topic of the page and index it correctly.
- By enticing readers to stay on the page longer, the blog intro will also help boost user engagement and send quality signals to Google.
- 25+ Unique Blog Post Ideas to Engage Your Readers
- 20 Places You Should Be Sharing Your Content
- Content Marketing: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
All screenshots taken by author, June 2021