5 Simple Ways to Write an Explosive Blog Intro (and Avoid Publishing a Dud)


Several US riflemen have cordoned off the area.

The roadside bomb has been isolated.

And Sergeant J.T. Sanborn seems a little too relaxed, as he remotely controls the disposal robot.

This is the first two minutes we see in The Hurt Locker, a movie that went on to win six Academy Awards in 2010.

It’s opening scene is a prime example of irresistible storytelling – starting in the thickest of the action.

You’ve seen this approach a hundred times over …

Think of Troy, which starts with Achilles in a one-on-one battle. Gladiator, with Maximus leading the fight against a barbarian horde. Or 300, with its now infamous THIS IS SPARTA introduction (yes, I’ve got a tickle spot for swords and shields).

As viewers, we’re given a truckload of credit by the director – who knows we’ll build a fast story around the action in our heads.

Learn how to do this with your blog intros and you’ll become a more explosive writer over time. 

5 Dynamite Blog Intros You Can Try Right Now

Kathryn Bigelow had a camera and a professional film crew working with her on that explosive opening in The Hurt Locker.

When blogging, you just have a keyboard and your wits.

So, how do you kidnap attention in the same way?

You employ any (or a combination) of the below ‘tricks’:

Let’s talk on that last one for a second.

Picture this …

It’s bonfire night, and you can smell gunpowder in the air.

You light another firework on the lawn, only to watch this one fizzle and fail to launch. Your neighbour’s 12-year-old wants to help and starts running towards what she thinks is a dud.

The feeling you should have in your gut right now, has been created by the scene you just painted in your mind.

I didn’t paint it – I just handed you the brushes before my description by saying ‘Picture this …’

It works with lines like ‘Imagine this for a minute …’

Or even just ‘Imagine:’

And it’s one of my favourite copywriting tricks from the school of Demian Farnworth.

Your Only Formula for Writing a Good Blog Intro

I’m no Farnworth. And I’m no Kathryn Bigelow either.

Sometimes, there is no way I can replicate the calibre of intros I’ve admired down the years.

The only way for me to guarantee success is to keep trying … and use what works, more often.

One of the rising stars of online marketing, Ryan Hanley, has found his winning formula in the question-themed intro. Nine of his last 10 blog posts begin with a question – one that’s already in the mind of his audience.

It’s a smart way to light the fuse. And I reckon we’re all going to learn more from Mr. Hanley as time goes by.

If you find an intro (or anything) that works, go back to it and stitch it into something new.

It’s simple, but effective storytelling.

What About the Blog Writer in You?

I get it. As a writer, you’re likely grow tired of using the same approach over and over.

But as long as you’re not using the same ‘trick’ every time, then it’s rare for readers to even notice, let alone get itchy about it.

This mindset ripples down from the very beginning of the game – when Claude Hopkins was teaching the world how to approach advertising.

What’s working for you right now?

Share your best. I’m always looking to steal the next best method.


Image source: UXO Rachaf 
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en
Contrast edited by me using G+

How to Find Good Copywriting Blogs

Finding bloggers is easy. Finding the best bloggers takes a little bit of scouring – but not much.

Although I think Brian Clark would probably like to think of Copyblogger as an exclusive underground club for content – it has naturally developed into the copywriter’s Serengeti.

With the exception of a few weathered legends like Drayton Bird or John Carlton, every writer I followed in 2013 was found through Copyblogger.

Whether that’s because they guest-blogged an incredible 800-worder or posted a blinding comment – I caught wind of them somewhere on the savannas of Leave Lame Behind.

At face value, here’s what you’ll get from the average Copyblogger post:

  • Insight into something cool about content marketing
  • A valuable lesson delivered with precision
  • Another reason to sign up to Authority

But look beyond that and you’ll get so much more:

  • An author, who is real, proven, and probably has a personal blog
  • A reference to another remarkable writer within the copy
  • A list of comments from people just like you, the author and everyone else in between – all of who probably have blogs and/or recommendations

UPDATE (24 March 2014): Copyblogger actually went ahead and removed comments … meaning my final point can no longer be applied to that particular site. Still, the lessons here are transferable to other great websites. I highly recommend diving into the comments over at Blog Tyrant to find good copywriting blogs.

Look even further and you’ll never stop hunting down the advice you’re after – because all of these people share their insight on G+. And they’re all sound.

After taking this predatory approach to just a couple of posts, you’ll have a list of classy bloggers too big to follow properly –  which is why you need to set up a decent Digg reader.

What’s your approach to hunting down quality bloggers? Share your secrets in the comments.