How do you bore your audience quickly? By using any of the following tactics to open your blog post.
1. General comments
These are observations like, “Technology is increasingly faster now than ever before,” or “The world has never before been this complex.” These general statements are not only hyperboles, but I’ve been reading them for years now. When will we not be in a faster or more complex world? After Armageddon?
The point of an opening statement is to garner interest. It doesn’t have to be the most creative opening statement you’ve ever written, it just has to attract your reader. You do that by starting your blog that immediately grabs your reader’s interest and tells them what the post is about.
In addition, unless you take time to create metadata for each post, including the post summary, your search engine listing summary will begin with “Technology is increasingly faster now than ever before. Companies today are having a hard time keeping up.” If you leave the actual explanation about your post until the end of that paragraph, people searching for the information you’re offering may skip over you and go to someone else.
2. Opening blog posts with questions
Opening your blog post with a question doesn’t automatically awaken a reader’s interest. It can, but it’s not a guarantee. For example, “Do you need a company that will help you with your accounting?” isn’t the most creative sentence in the world. However, if a reader stumbles upon your blog post and that’s exactly what they’re looking for, then yes, they will probably keep reading.
But “Did you know that accountants need certification?” is neither relevant to an audience looking for an accountant nor will it encourage them to read further. There’s one simple reason: Those looking for an accountant know what one is, and the question makes it sound like the blog post is for people who didn’t know that accountants are certified. Those who do know will move on to the next listing.
Just because you open up your blog post with a question doesn’t mean it’s a question that will grab readers’ attention. Use one if you have to, but really ask yourself if potential readers will actually click on your post to read it.
3. Using “hip” or “cool” language because you think it’s hip or cool
Every once in awhile, a new trend in language comes through. It’s fresh, full of life, and excites people. However, over time, other companies begin to copy this trend. Opening your blog post (and continuing it) with language that’s trendy but doesn’t fit your company image will leave a disconnect with your audience. Think Aunt Millie talking like a California surfer boy.
Your blog should reflect you and your company. If a younger crowd is your target market, then you’re right on the button. But if your crowd is more mature, then write in a tone and style that reflects how they speak and think.
(But still skip over the long words you think help you look smart. That style of writing is long gone, at least in copywriting.)
The Grain of Salt
Of course, there are always times to break the rules, and being a strong writer means you know—or at least are intentional about—when you do it. So, as with anything else I write, take these tips with a grain of salt. But generally speaking, avoid opening your blog post with these tactics. You’ll strengthen your copy before you’ve even tackled the bigger points, and you’re one step further away from hiring a freelancer to do the work for you.