The best way to write a blog post introduction is to get straight to the point.
Everything else is a waste of time.
We’ll go over examples of what not to do, why they’re bad, and offer best practices.
Finally, we’ll discuss how to use writing tools like ChatGPT to improve your blog introductions.
Why you should get straight to the point
There are two main reasons for a short blog introduction:
- It’s good for UX
- It’s good for SEO
Firstly, answering the reader’s question immediately isn’t just courteous; it’s effective.
People landed on your blog post for a reason, and if you give them what they’re looking for right away, you’ve won half the battle.
Secondly, being direct and to the point helps your article rank better in search engine results.
Google’s algorithm can extract the answer to a query and display it in search results, with a link to the original blog article.
A good introduction with relevant keywords increases your chances of ranking high in the SERPs.
Why you shouldn’t waste time with a long blog introduction
A blog post with a long intro isn’t just annoying; it’s counterproductive. It makes readers question the quality of the content that follows.
If you can’t get to the point in the first few lines, why should anyone read the next thousand words?
It makes you look like you don’t care about your reader’s time, which is a surefire way to lose their attention.
Similarly, blog posts that start by stating the obvious (“Marketing is…“) punish advanced readers for wanting to learn more from you.
It makes them think “This will be basic, generic stuff” and causes them to click away, which increases your bounce rates (bad for SEO).
Plus, if your intro is full of fluff, people might think you used a writing bot to churn out generic content. This harms your credibility.
Bad blog introduction examples
Avoid these opening lines in your content marketing as much as possible:
- “In the fast paced world of [x]”: We know the world is fast-paced; don’t state the obvious.
- “In this dynamic and ever-changing world”: This isn’t just obvious; it’s also repetitive.
- “In these unprecedented times”: A common content cancer in 2020, this line is now overused. All times are unprecedented by definition; nobody knows what tomorrow brings.
- “In today’s digital landscape”: This might have been a compelling intro in 2003, but not in 2023. ‘Digital’ is everywhere — there’s no need to single it out.
- Basic definitions: Adding these to your blog article *may* be useful for uncommon or complex topics, but try and keep them out of your opening paragraph.
As a writer, your only call to action is for the reader to keep reading. A great blog post intro accomplishes this.
By contrast, a blog post with a long intro creates friction for the reader, making it harder for them to get what they came for.
While a long blog intro may pad your word count (good for SEO), it ruins the reading experience (bad UX).
Always optimize for the reader first.
8 best practices for a good blog post introduction
A good blog introduction chains one or more of the following formats:
- Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): This article’s introduction is one such example. Declare your point of view in the first line and expand upon it throughout the article.
- Continue the sentence “I never thought it possible, but…”: Say that line in your head, then continue the thought on paper. It makes for a more compelling introduction. For example: “[I never thought it possible, but] Starting with the bottom line up front makes for a great blog intro.“
- Start with a TL;DR: Assume the reader will read nothing but this line, and summarize your key points concisely. See the end of this article for an example.
- Start with a story: A short story can hook readers into reading the rest of the piece, but resist the urge to drone on for too long.
- Start with a question: Questions hijack the brain. Use them strategically to pique your reader’s curiosity with an open loop. For example: “What do the President and a Moroccan priest have in common? To answer this, let’s travel back 30 years…“
- Start with a compelling stat: A big, shocking number is a great way to grab the reader’s attention and keep them reading. For example, in this article, I started with a big number — $3 billion dollars — and a story to illustrate the penalty of setting unrealistic sales quotas.
- Start with a scenario (“Imagine…”): Used sparingly, scenarios can help a reader see themselves in a specific situation, especially when paired with a question. For example, in an article about setting your content marketing strategy, you could begin with: “Imagine receiving an email from the CEO asking your team to generate 25% more revenue through content this quarter. Where would you start? After talking to 23 leaders in similar positions…“
- Tell them what they’ll learn: If nothing else, simply tell the reader what they’ll learn. At the very least, it sets expectations on both sides.
You’ll eventually settle on a go-to blogging intro as you grow into your writing style.
And if you must have an introduction, write it last so you know exactly what points you’re introducing. Keep it as short as possible.
Using AI writing tools
An AI writing tool can be your personal blog introduction generator.
With a writing tool like ChatGPT, you can extract the subheadings from your draft and compress them into a compelling blog introduction.
Here’s an example:
If you’re using Chatty or another AI writing tool to generate content from a blog post outline, you can ask it to skip the intro altogether and dive straight into your main point.
Lastly, you can compress your entire draft into a summary that serves as a useful TL;DR for your readers.
Be direct in blog intros for better SEO and reader engagement, avoid common intro mistakes, and use writing tools to streamline the process.