The introduction is the gateway to any piece of content, whether you’re writing blogs, lead magnet copy, or even online journalism.
In fact, the introduction is what actually hooks your readers and encourages them to keep reading your posts. Without a strong introduction, users jump off the page, and you lose the opportunity to convert them to paying customers.
So, how do you prevent that from happening? In this guide to writing an introduction, we’ll walk you through what you need to know to create successful content.
Common Pitfalls When Writing an Introduction
Before we jump right into creating introductions, let’s talk about common pitfalls that people typically fall into.
These pitfalls are important to keep in the back of your mind as we go through how to create introductions because they’re what will help make these tips relevant.
Let’s check out a few common ones.
Not Getting Attention
For one thing, many people fail to grab the attention of readers in their introduction. They tend to make vague or mundane sentences to get the article started.
In many cases, this stems from a lack of interest in creating the introduction. The author views the introduction as a waste of space and wants to get right into the introduction.
Instead of creating an engaging introduction, they say nothing or provide generalities. This opens up the text in a way that’s boring, and that causes readers to start losing interest before they even begin reading!
Using Too Many Words
Sometimes, people get carried away with their introduction and write paragraphs and paragraphs of text.
The trouble here is that when introductions drone on, they tend to lose the reader’s interest, even if they’d previously hooked it. The reader doesn’t want an endless introduction; they want valuable content.
Remember that introductions are just that—introductions. They’re a brief presentation of your topic and a chance to establish credibility before moving on to the actual topic.
Using Too Few Words
On the other end of the spectrum, there are lots of people that create one-line introductions or skip the introductions altogether.
The problem with this is that it can make the topic abrupt. That’s especially true for someone who isn’t very familiar with what you’ll be talking about.
Although you don’t want your introduction to go on for pages and pages, you do need to present what you’ll be covering. And, you need to establish credibility.
The AIDA Method
So, how exactly do you create introductions that actually work? Through the AIDA method.
The AIDA method is a well-known formula in marketing and sales as well as for writing in general. It’s a way to capture the reader’s attention, generate interest and a desire to read and inspire the reader to take action at the end of the text.
As you might have already guessed, AIDA is an acronym. The letters stand for:
Let’s take a closer look at each of these formulas for creating a strong introduction.
Attention refers to the hook or what’s going to capture your reader’s attention in order to keep them engaged in the text.
This should go right at the beginning of the introduction and should highlight the most relevant information that is going to be dealt with in the body of the text.
There are a couple of ways to grab your reader’s attention, which we’ll talk about in-depth a little later on. For now, a few ways you can do so include:
- Rhetorical questions
Interest corresponds to the build-up after you’ve gained the reader’s attention.
Through interest, you continue to keep readers engaged and make a transition to the initial theme of the content.
In this part of the introduction, you need to focus on what the reader is looking for, what matters to him, what he would like to know, and what his interests are.
This helps keep the reader interested in what you have to say so that he or she will continue into the body of the text.
This next part of the introduction is all about making the reader desire to learn more from your content.
You want to show the reader that you have something they’re looking for—answers. This is what will ultimately convince the reader to keep going and that they need to get past your intro to really get to the meat and potatoes of their queries.
The last part of the introduction is to encourage the reader to take an action. In this case, it’s going to be reading all the way to the end.
This is a good place to put a teaser of what comes next or a general overview of what they’ll get out of the content.
You want to show the reader that the next step is to read your article so that they can get what they came there for in the first place.
What to Put in an Introduction
We already know about using the AIDA method. But, what does that actually look like, and what else should you include in your introductions?
There are actually a few different ways to go about the AIDA method. While you shouldn’t use all of these tips together, the following are a few ways to grab your audience’s attention.
Let’s take a look.
An article draws attention from the outset when it offers statistics or relevant data confirmed by credible sources.
Not only do statistics tend to have some shock value, but they also add credibility to your article.
When you can show readers that you’ve thoroughly researched the topic and come up with relevant statistics, it shows that you have the knowledge needed to provide real insight on a topic.
In other words, statistics help establish authority by showing you’ve taken the time to understand and research the topic you’re writing about fully.
Another option to initiate and capture full attention is to pose a rhetorical question to the reader. This generates rapport with the person and invites them to come up with questions of their own.
Asking questions is important because it sets the stage for what you’ll be talking about in the article and generates interest in continuing to read the guide.
The questions create doubts in a reader’s mind that encourage them to read the article in order to get the answers they’re looking for.
Just avoid overusing these tools. Rhetorical questions work best when they spark interest and engage the reader, rather than when they simply exist for the sake of squeezing a question into the text.
Pose a Problem
Posing a problem can actually be used in conjunction with rhetorical questions and statistics.
Posing a problem looks like making a bold statement about a current issue and providing speculation about the subject.
The reason this is such an effective way of adding an introduction to your content and opening up the floor for the problem you’ll be addressing throughout the text.
Another important aspect of your introduction is the keywords. Keywords aren’t directly related to the reader in the sense that readers are actively looking for them.
But, adding a keyword to the first 100 words of your introduction is a great way to get search engines to pick up your content.
Businesses that are looking to start a blog need to focus on keywords in the earlier parts of their text in order to get their content crawled and seen by search engines. This is what will ultimately lead to success in driving traffic to the site.
Remember, the keywords in the introduction of your text should be those with the highest number of searches. The earlier on in your text these types of keywords are, the bigger impact they’ll have in terms of driving organic traffic to your site.
What to Avoid in an Introduction
Part of creating winning introductions is knowing what to avoid.
Knowing what to leave out of your text helps you keep it engaging and avoid falling into some of the common pitfalls we mentioned earlier.
So, what do you avoid? Let’s take a look.
For one thing, steer clear of banal statements that don’t actually provide anything of value. You want to make sure that the content you create actually engages the reader and gives them something to take away.
When you make statements with no value, you show that you:
- Lack credibility
- Can’t provide the reader with the answers they’re looking for
These are surefire ways not only to lose readers from a particular post but also to lose return users to your blog in general.
Spelling and Grammatical Errors
Another thing to avoid is spelling errors. Even if your keywords lack stop words or have spelling or grammatical errors, you need to fix them.
Having words and phrases with spelling and grammatical errors in them is a major turn-off. It makes your company look unprofessional, and it can cause people to believe you don’t have the credibility you claim to have.
The good news is that if you’re working with keywords that are misspelled or use poor grammar, Google is smart enough to know what’s going on. If you correct the keyword, you’ll still show up for the keywords that were incorrectly written.
To get a better understanding of this topic, check out this guide to stop words.
Stick to the Point
This one goes hand in hand with fluff.
It’s easy, especially with blog posts, to meander around the topic or to give long anecdotes instead of getting to the point.
While it’s fine to have anecdotes from time to time, you want to avoid doing this too much.
Why? Because when you stray too far from the point, you lose the reader’s attention. And, you confuse them as to what it is you’re actually talking about.
Make your points clear and concise. This helps keep users on the page and prevents them from losing interest along the way.
Create Winning Content for Your Company
Writing an introduction isn’t easy, but with the right tools and tips, you can transform your website’s traffic into winning customers.
If you’re still struggling to create introductions that capture your audience’s attention, we can help. Get in touch with us to get started with game-changing content that propels your business forward.