Writing the introduction to a post about writing introductions should be the easiest thing in the world, right?

Sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s actually not

Ideally, I’d illustrate some of the points I am about to delve into with my own introductory remarks (and you can tell me later if I’ve made a success of it). However, that seems to be harder than it appears.

Whether or not you believe in the importance of a good intro and however small you consider the chances of someone actually reading it, if you would prefer to err on the side of caution, consider some of these tips when composing yours. 

Provide a Preview 

The introduction you write should also serve as a bit of a preview. Don’t give everything away all at once, but do give a glimpse into what is to be expected in the rest of the post. 

Keep the tone uniform, keep the style as similar as possible, and, well – there’s no other way to word it – introduce the rest of the article.

This post on memory foam mattresses does a good job of that. It could certainly benefit from a more emotional and engaging language, but it does a great job of offering a reliable preview. The reader knows exactly what to expect afterward.

Don’t Bury the Lede

Failing to get to the point and state what the article is about is simply poor manners. The more you go on and on about something that is not at all relevant to the article, no matter how interesting or funny it may be, it won’t be making the article any more appealing, nor will it make for a very good introduction. 

You want to be very clear about the purpose and the topic of your writing. You don’t need to spell it out in as many words, but you do need to highlight it at least. 

Don’t Confuse Your Readers 

You also don’t want to be at all confusing. Clear and precise introductions can be just as funny and enjoyable to read as the more straightforward kind. Confusing introductions, on the other hand, are never anything other than just confusing. 

Identify the main message you want your audience to take away from the intro, and focus on delivering that in as few words (within reason) as you need. 

Don’t Be Boring 

While this sounds harsh, it’s probably the most important piece of advice I can give you when it comes to introductions. 

Don’t feel the need to define terms and issues your audience is already familiar with. For example, if you are writing about managing arthritis while hiking, don’t feel the need to define what arthritis is. Your audience already knows that – and they are looking for solutions, not recaps of already familiar information.

Get to the Point as Soon as Possible 

Every article (and its introduction) should begin with the consideration of search intent and what it is a reader wants to know. In the example about arthritis and hiking I’ve mentioned, the reader clearly wants to know if it’s safe to hike with the condition, and if so, how they can minimize pain and injury. 

With this in mind, your task should be to get to the point and highlight the reader’s needs in as few words as possible. The longer you keep going on and on about anything beside the point, the faster they are going to lose interest, click back, and read a different article.

Try to Spark Emotions 

One of the best ways to get your audience interested in reading more than your introduction is to make it emotional. Not in the soppy and boo-hoo kind of way, of course, but in the make them feel something kind of way. 

You can spark emotions of happiness, curiosity, fear, relief – as long as they are in line with the message you’re sending and the purpose of your article, they are meant to hook your readers early on. 

You can see an example of that in this post. The introduction highlights possible fears a reader might have about technology failing their elderly loved ones and assuages those fears at the same time. This kind of introduction is very likely to hold on to a reader’s attention.

Use a Format 

To write the best possible introduction, sometimes, all you need to do is stick to a formula that works. Luckily, the field of copywriting is home to a whole lot of them – and while they can’t make your words sound any nicer and more engaging, they are a very good place to start. 

Here are several you can consider:

Tell a Story 

Storytelling works for a reason – stories are what connects us to each other, what sets us apart as human beings. As such, they are an excellent way to garner attention and interest in your introductions. 

The story you tell can be a personal one or a completely fictional one. You can paraphrase something you’ve heard or read about somewhere. The main criteria is, of course, whether the story will appeal to your audience and help spark the emotions you’re going for.

Share an Interesting Quote 

Quotes are another good way to introduce a topic. Often, they can sum up your thoughts and evoke the right emotions in much more of a nutshell. 

Look for the most famous quotes of well-known men and women, lesser-known quotes from individuals in your industry, or even slightly misquote someone (and highlight this fact, of course) if it will help you make your point more forceful.

Share a Statistic 

Stats are great opening hooks too. The more shocking, interesting, surprising, or unexpected, the better an effect they will have. 

This is an often-used formula, though, so make sure you don’t fall into the trap of sounding like a cookie-cutter writer. Give it your own spin. 

Tell a Joke 

If you’re good at telling jokes, especially at making them up based on the article and the scenarios that are likely to arise from it, by all means, add it to the intro. It will lift the mood and set just the right tone. 

On the other hand, if a joke is very stereotypical, it might be better to refrain from it. 

Paint a Picture 

Another great option is to illustrate for the reader what it is they are facing. For instance, in the above example about the medical alerts guide, the writer has played on the emotions and real-life situations their readers have likely found themselves in. These are the situations that have prompted them to look for the product in the first place.

By reminding the reader of the reality of their issue, you can connect with them instantly. 

Bear in mind, however, what we’ve discussed in the section about being boring. Don’t fall into the trap of recapping facts they already know. You’re trying to paint a vibrant picture, not tell them something they already know. 

Ask a Question 

Finally, another great way to spark a conversation is to ask a question. It can be baffling, it can be intriguing, it can be rather obvious – whatever works in the given context. The question will lead to curiosity, which will then again lead to the desire to find the answer, or at least your take on it.

Naturally, you don’t want to forget to provide the actual answer. If you do forget, your readers might end up feeling just a little bit cheated.

Final Thoughts 

Have you found these tips and writing formulas useful? Can you see them helping you create better introductions? 

And, just as importantly – how would you rate my introduction? Have I managed to live up to my own advice?