3 Simple Tricks to Hook in Readers

Two men reeling in a large fish

I stare at the blank page, my mind buzzing with possibilities. I take a deep breath, put pen to paper… and write.

Catchy first paragraph, isn’t it?

There’s no time like the present

I’ll admit that some people may think that the present tense introduction is rather gimmicky, but use it well and your reader will instantly be transported into your story.

That’s because this simple technique creates a sense of intrigue. You can’t help but want to know how the writer found themselves in that situation. Before you know it, you’ve carried on reading.

I find that the simplest way to implement this is to write your article or blog post, pick out the most exciting bit, then put it into the present tense and stick it at the top. Voila!

What will you do for them?

Before you write your blog post or article, have a think about what people will get from reading it. Maybe they’ll learn a new skill, discover facts that will make their jaw drop or simply have a giggle.

Whatever it is you think they’ll bring away from your writing tell them about it. Be sure to mention the skill they’ll learn or the emotion that your writing will convey. This doesn’t have to veer into the dreaded realms of clickbait (e.g.’OMG You’ll Never Believe What This Soccer Mom’s Hilarious Kitten Did’), just play about and be inventive. If you would rather have a more creative or punny headline, use your introduction to give a sense of what’s in store.

For example, a funky little museum decides to hold a cartoon exhibition and showcase some of the images on its blog. Rather than go for the bog standard title ’20th Century Cartoons’, they could decide to use something along the lines of ‘discover a funnier side to politics’ or ‘what can political cartoons tell us about the Cold War?’ The first implies an emotion and the second promises to supply the reader with fresh knowledge.

Keep it snappy

Stick to the point. Deviating from the core message of your piece or padding it out too much (a common pitfall in print journalism) will make your readers switch off… and possibly head elsewhere.

Like my blog? You can follow me on Twitter at @jrcopywriting

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