A blog post about blog post introductions! I thought this was an SEO company!
Well, we are fond of the 1996 quote from Bill Gates that states it pretty clearly and concisely:
Content is king.
So it’s time to slay some posts, but we’re fairly sure you already knew that.
Blog Post Introductions
Dread writing the blog post introduction? Since people often read as little as 18% of your blog post, making sure they’re immediately engaged is essential, especially if your content is long-form and detailed about your topic.
If you fear writing the blog post introduction, know you’re not alone. Many writers actually write that top bit last. Writing a blog post introduction puts on the pressure. You know, first impressions and that. Are you going to like us? Do you really want to read our content, or did you just click on the link to be nice? That kind of thing.
We like to follow through. Prepare to be (be)dazzled: here are a dozen actionable steps for you to take to craft a worthy, formidable, and even snazzy blog post intro.
1 – Centralize Your Idea
Your blog post introduction needs to centralize your idea. Provide a succinct roadmap towards your solution, with the understanding that you’ll expand upon each point in detail throughout the rest of the blog post. Your centralization language is a promise—showing that you’ll stick to the nugget of the idea while providing thorough information or solutions to your readers.
2 – Include Your Keyword
Keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO) dramatically increase the value of your content. Aside from generally being more readable for your audience, it’ll rank higher in search engine results. Doing a bit of keyword research and including your keyword as early as naturally possible can certainly help with your ranking efforts—plus, a significant part of SEO is making natural, readable copy.
One of Yoast SEO’s main optimization factors is whether your keyword appears in your introductory paragraph—because it’s that essential when it comes to ranking and clarity for your readers. This is especially important if you’re trying to rank for a long-tail keyword.
It’s a useful SEO habit to check your title against your first two sentences to ensure you’ve included that keyword in your blog post introduction.
3 – Hook the Reader in Your Blog Post Introduction
Drop some facts, storytelling insights, or pieces of other information that will immediately hook the reader. Get that rod out, we’re crackin’ open some beers and fishing for readers. What you use has to be different from what they can get anywhere else, and entwined with your tone and voice of choice (see further points below), you can feed your readers tidbits of information so they’ll be enthralled and eager to read further.
4 – Throw Some Questions Around
How can you really get your readers engaged in your content? Toss them a question like we just did (See what we did there? And here?). It could be a rhetorical question, or it might be a question people commonly search for. Regardless, ask something meaningful–a question that gets them thinking about the topic. When we ask about reader engagement, you’re likely waiting expectantly for an answer—or you’re coming up with your own responses to see how they measure up.
This mirrors the Socratic method, and it’s an excellent, conversational way to get readers to internalize your content from the start—and keep reading well past that introductory section.
5 – Tease Your Readers Mercilessly
Let’s just say it: good content includes some sexy verbal foreplay.
Hooking your readers is one thing, but truly engaging them is another. Drop a bit of a hint about what’s to come next. If you’re writing a blog about a recipe, for example, mention some secret ingredients you won’t disclose above the fold. That way, they’ll know it’s not some random recipe you’ve copypasta’d, but a bespoke piece of content allowing them to obtain and use your special recipe. It benefits them; it wows their family and friends. But they won’t get there if you don’t tease them into following.
6 – Summarize Your Topic
Your audience should be able to determine the subject matter of your blog post by the end of your blog post introduction. That’s not only important for reader clarity and attention, but search engine ranking. Although your reader hasn’t consumed the detailed information you’ll present later in your blog post, they should have a good idea about whether they’ll want to continue reading what you’ve presented based upon that first paragraph.
Need a test? Hand your blog post intro paragraph to someone who doesn’t really know much about your blog post topic. Don’t show them the rest of the post. Ask them to read it and then have them describe what they’d expect to see in the rest of the blog post. Did it match up? Why or why not?
This exercise can show you how you might need to improve.
It’s also worth noting that blog post introduction length can vary based upon the complexity of the topic and the length of the blog post, but in all cases, your first few sentences should offer a cohesive clue about the entire post to come.
7 – Go for the Gold: The Precious Featured Snippet
If you conquer those first six tips handily, you may have a chance at ranking for a featured snippet. Using keyword research, you should find some featured snippet opportunities, which means your answer may show up in a fancy featured box on Google, positioning you as a definitive authority on your subject matter. In addition to other ranking signals on your site, Google looks for a concise, accurate, authoritative, and informative definition of a term to rank it as a featured snippet.
If you’ve looked up one of your subjects or products and find no featured snippet listed for it, you may have an opportunity to rank. Give it a try. Even if you fail, your quality SEO will help you rank a little higher in the search results.
8 – Save the Kitchen Sink
While your introduction needs to broadly introduce the rest of your post, it doesn’t need to be the size of Mt. Everest. Instead, build a little hill to stand on: one that’s clear and concise about your topic. Do you want to say more?
Add it to your outline as you go: that’s what it’s there for.
9 – Showcase Your Voice
Your blog post introduction sets your tone for not only the rest of the piece, but also your entire brand and how you represent it. Your voice contains your passion, personality, and your brand’s story. Around here, we go for a snarky and sincere voice, because we know the struggle of dealing with BS marketers, and we don’t want to play you like that. Just not our style.
Your introduction should display your voice, and your voice should allow you to level with your audience.
10 – Lift Some Word Weights: Write Ledes
Yes, a lede. Not lead, but lede.
Your introduction needs to be strong. While your tone (especially for a blog post) may not be journalistic or objective in nature, you can learn a lot from how journalists hone their craft to focus on essential facts in the introduction of their news stories. A journalist’s lede packs a punch, delivering essential information in the beginning of the story, with a promise to detail or extrapolate further information as the story continues.A solid lede is about 40 characters long and answers the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” about the story—all in that short space. Click To Tweet
Impressive, right? Definitely.
You can practice writing ledes after journaling (seemingly mundane) events in your day. Did your dog have indigestion? What caused it, and what was the result? It might seem like a silly topic, but you can use it formulate a lede and solidify your skills.
This level of summarization is also vital because readers often only see the first sentence or two of a blog post, whether it’s displayed on their Facebook feed, on Google, or even as a preview on your website itself. You really need to define your topic and get that essential info in there.
Good ledes aren’t easy, and there are multiple types of ledes which can help you tease out an ideal introduction for your blog post. From the sensational zinger to observations and hard facts, ledes are among the most valuable things bloggers should adopt from journalism.
11 – Write Your Blog Post Introduction Last
Guess what part of this lengthy blog post we wrote last? The introduction. Our process looked like this:
- Keyword research
- Write Call to Action\
- Write entire article, bottom to top
- Write intro
- Revise introduction
That’s right—of all the pieces involved, the only major revision was to the introduction. That’s because the focus of the intro is intensely important.
Additionally, you’ll think of many other points while you’re writing your post. Instead of curbing your creativity to conform to a pre-fabricated introduction, write your heart out. As long as the information is substantial, it’ll add value to your post.
This also allows you the freedom to change tack. You might come up with a unique angle or a new idea while you’re writing, and unless you’re writing a post on assignment for someone, it’s better to change your post topic slightly to match the content. Go where it takes you and follow your instincts: don’t get married to a blog post intro. Spare yourself the divorce. Date a few topics. Take a few home. You can always edit later, and polish that intro last. Don’t worry: we won’t judge you. We’ll love you for it.
12 – Write Your Call to Action (CTA) First
Guess what part of this lengthy blog post I wrote first? The below call to action. That’s because it’s important to know how the topic of the blog post relates to our site and services, and where we want to send people when we finish here. We don’t just want to sell you stuff; we want to be of use to you. Writing the CTA first helps us stay on track.
BONUS – 13 – Want Expert Blog Posts? Have someone else write ’em!
From introduction to call to action, Dominate With SEO is ready to provide useful information to your customers, help you rank on the SERPs (search engine results pages) and turn your readers into fans and customers. Give us a call today or fill out our discovery form. We’ll take a look at the best options for your business and budget. Let’s dominate your competition.