Ever talk with someone that rambles on and never really seems to get to the point? It can be a frustrating experience. We need things summarized for us early on so that we know the path we’re heading down and what to expect. The fact of the matter is that too many blog posts violate this principle. That’s why it’s critical in developing a new blog post to summarize the key point, theme or subject in the first or lead paragraph.
Once the lead is completed, the rest of the blog post should be devoted to expanding on and supporting the main point. Making the reader labor through an entire post without knowing the overall point, especially if it’s a long post, increases the likelihood that he or she will bail in the middle.
A strong lead hooks the reader and lets them know what to watch for. It’s just as important as writing a strong and descriptive blog post headline.
To write a great lead, follow this simple outline: Hook, Reason and Thesis.
Hook: Use your first sentence to grab attention. A common way to do this is to ask a question. You can also write something unexpected or intriguing. Sharing little known or interesting information is also a great hook. Humor works as well (but make sure it’s funny).
Reason: Write a sentence or two about why the topic is important, its relevance or how it will help the reader or improve the world around them. Basically, you’re answering the question: Why should I care about this?
Thesis: Close your lead with your main point, one or two sentences about what you will be writing about in the remainder of the post. This helps the reader to have a better understanding of all the information you will be providing and will help keep them motivated to read the entire post, assuming they like or agree with your thesis.
Following the hook, reason and thesis outline is useful for many types of writing, not just blog posts. The great thing is, with more practice the easier this process becomes.
How do you approach developing blog post leads? What would you add to create a great lead?
Author: Steve Sonn
Steve Sonn is the Principal of S2 Marketing Communications. He has more than 25 years of healthcare copywriting and marketing experience.