By now, we have made it very clear that the online reader has zero tolerance to bluffing. In addition, the online reader’s attention span is very low when it comes to reading lengthy passages. Unless and until you get your opening sentences right, the reader will quickly click on the favorite shoes advertisements or the diaper sale available on the webpage. You can only sit and wonder why there is no visible effect for your cleverly crafted sentences by the middle of the article. The truth is, if your opening lines are not arresting enough to hold the reader’s attention, chances are that the reader never even got until reading your perfectly written phrases and arguments.
You have the first few seconds right after the reader has opened the webpage to grab the attention. There are a million ways to get the attention of the reader with the help of opening lines. However, there are these three ways that we find quite effective. We are happy to share our wisdom with you so that you can now sit down and redraft your opening paragraph.
1. The personal touch
Start with a story or a personal experience. This is by far the most successful opening statements of any kind of writing. Experience has some value attached to it. People would definitely want to listen to you if they get the idea that you are telling them something that actually happened and not offering them a piece of your imaginative mind.
Tell your story, or tell someone else’s story. Share your observations. Tell your reader what all you learned from the experience. Now when we tell you to tell a story, do not tell a random story just for the sake of it. Make sure that the story you tell has a connection to the theme. Load up the emotions in the story. Make the reader feel that you feel for the reader. Also make the reader feel for you, your pain, your agony or your happiness. When you are telling a story, do not give away the suspense in the beginning itself.
If you are writing a life style blog and want to write a dramatic opening for a beauty product, starting with a bad hair day or a pimple laden day can be helpful. If you say in the beginning itself that xyz product helped vanish all your pimples in ten minutes, there is no build up in the story. You should be starting with the day being a significant one in your life and you wake up to see disastrous pimples or bad hair or some similar mishap. You should build the tension in by adding dialogue and feel to the story. And eventually you tell the reader how xyz product miraculously fixed the scene. With a personal approach like that, you will grab the attention of any reader who has ever had a bad hair day or a pimple day
2. Throwing the powerful question method
Another sure fire way to grab attention in the beginning itself is to throw a very powerful question at the reader. Even though there are many kind of questions, the most effective ones would be the Why’s and the How’s. Everybody wants to engage with a Why or a How of anything and everything. Curiosity is the main success ingredient in the question method of opening a paragraph. Think if you can initiate a Why question. If you think that the why is already understood, you should probably go into the ‘How’.
In this method too, you should make sure that the question you asks makes sense with the general theme. You can now start teasing the reader with a question while also holding the attention.
3.The shocking statement
The third most effective way to engage an online reader is to introduce the idea with a shocking statement. If you can successfully shake the reader out of her comfort zone by listing a shocking statistics or a change in plan from the conventional stream of thought, you have the undivided attention of the reader. If you share some shocking information or statement, people would definitely want to know the why and how and when and where of the statement. Without you or them taking an extra effort, they would have finished the entire article.