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

Baghdad.

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+

Blog into the corners

Corners are NOT there to be cut when it comes to copywriting.  Different clients will pay different amounts for different contracts but one thing that should always remain the same is the quality of the content.

All good writers share the same obsessive habits when it comes to producing anything, from prose to web snippets:

Spell Checking

WordPress has a spell-checking facility similar to MS Word – use it but do not rely on it.  Like any automatic spell-checker, certain stealthy mistakes will bypass the spelling radar, most commonly, words like ‘from’ spelt as ‘form’ will go un-highlighted.

Developing a subconscious editor within yourself will come with experience but eventually, you will be spotting, deleting and/or repairing mistakes on the spot.  Still, an overall re-read (out loud) will smooth the cracks.

It’s like locking up before leaving the house – you’re careful to turn all the plugs off but always have to do one last run around to double-check.

Typing

One of the most important trade skills again, comes with experience – touch-typing.  Some contracts involve comprehensive, word-heavy articles.  Generating five or six of these in a day will inevitably sharpen your typing ability.

There are certain practice programmes designed to improve your touch-typing but nothing can motivate you more than a client deadline.  Once mastered, touch-typing will cut your editing times in half and as a result you can take on a lot more work.

Research

Good researching habits will produce good writing.  Get to know all the best websites for quick bites of information but do not rely solely on the internet. Libraries are there to be used if you need to – if you have to, visit a library outside of work hours to boost your knowledge.

Going that extra mile will pay dividends in the long run and besides, if you’re a copywriter you should enjoy the writing of others anyway.

Still, the best articles often come from your own knowledge, use the internet/libraries to back up your own thoughts.  This also speeds up the process, freeing up more time for more jobs/research.

Consistency

The most important thing for a writer to do is write.  Always write.  If you have no contracts this week, then write some blogs on your own website, start your novel or Tweet until your followers get sick of you.

Your writing hand is like a car battery, if it’s neglected it will cease to function and need a jump start to get going again.

No writer in the world should begrudge their job.  If you’re cheating clients then you’re cheating yourself as a writer.

Duty

Copywriters have a duty to produce unblemished content on behalf of all their clients.  Sloppy errors will result in a sloppy reputation and careers, not corners, will be cut short.