The introduction is an essential part of any content piece, because it will encourage the reader to keep going. It is important that the introduction is very well-written and engaging, so that the reader remains focused until the end.
Let’s face it: writing is far from easy for everyone.
While many people have a natural ability, most agree that the hardest part of writing is getting started.
And when it comes to content marketing, writing is an almost daily task.
After all, you need to nurture your audience with relevant, well-written, and cohesive content, so that it guides your audience through each stage of the funnel.
In this respect, introductions are a fundamental part of this process. After the headline, it is the first contact that may (or may not) lead your audience to continue reading your content.
If the introduction isn’t memorable or has nothing to do with the topic, the reader may not continue. If it’s long-winded, tiresome, and not at all objective, then… goodbye, reader.
Let’s look at the necessary steps in creating introductions. Follow them, and you’ll be able to keep your reader engaged until the very end.
It is important to remember that all of these considerations apply to written pieces as well as video scripts, lectures, or conversations.
Conversational rules should of course consider different contexts, but we’ll talk about that in a moment.
What is an introduction?
An introduction, as its name implies, is the part of the text that introduces the subject that will be addressed. It may seem obvious, but in practice it is often not. Want to see?
Let’s list what is not an introduction.
- A summary of the text. After all, you want the reader to go all the way. If everything a person needs to know is in the introduction, why would he keep reading the text?
- A portrait of humanity. Unless your text is about the origin of human beings, you don’t have to start with “From the beginning…”.
- A mere repetition of the title. The person has read the title. He wants to know more about it.
- “Once upon a time…” An introduction is definitely not a place for you to tell a gigantic, context-free story.
Now let’s think about what you should do in your introduction:
- Provide context: After all, from the same title you can take several approaches to a subject. Therefore, the introduction is a great place to provide context to the reader about which path you intend to follow throughout the text.
- Bring some relevant information: After all, you want that text to bring value to your reader.
- Instigate: But, as stated earlier, you don’t want your reader to read the introduction and be content with that. So pique his curiosity by posing a question or a promise (which of course must be kept in the text).
- Be brief: If your introduction has 5 paragraphs of 12 lines, you’ll lose your audience right away.
- Reveal the benefits of reading on: When reading a text, people want to know what they get out of it, or why learning about it is important. This information is great for a good introduction.
- Make the text scannable: That is, allow the reader to read dynamically, and to become interested in the content. This can be done by bolding the most important information or by bringing in relevant links.
You might be thinking, “How am I going to do it all in a short 2-3 paragraph text?” Don’t worry—there’s a way!
How to write a great introduction
While there is no formula for writing a good introduction, there are some points to keep in mind when starting your content piece.
All text is written for someone. In this case, your persona.
So who is your persona and what are their goals? What problem does your persona expect to solve by reading this content?
The problem you are trying to solve should be highlighted in the introduction; You must show that you have the solution and that this solution will be illustrated throughout the text.
Don’t forget your theme. If this happens, you are likely to go off track, and when you return, your reader will be gone.
The theme is why your introduction exists, so all text should be centered around it.
The tone of your text begins in the introduction, and it is what generates empathy in the reader and assists in engagement.
So to avoid having to tailor all content language to the end, start by using the same pattern at the introduction.
Again, language has to be focused on the persona: who you talk to will determine the tone you should use.
Whether you’re giving a talk, making a video for your site, or writing a post for your blog, these introductions may contain the same information, but should be conveyed differently.
Therefore, never ignore context when writing copy.
5. Objective of content
Obviously, all good copy is informative. However, each content piece has a specific purpose within its context.
For example, think about the purpose of a blog post: Do you want to take your reader to another stage of the funnel? Do you want to convince your reader that your product is a good option?
Your introduction should make it clear to the reader what they will get from reading your content.
If you do not know where you want to go before you start the text, your introduction may be generic and will not generate the necessary engagement.
6. Length of what is being produced
The shorter the text, the smaller the introduction. So if a post has 500 words and its introduction is 250 words, something is wrong with your text.
You should use as few words as possible to introduce the subject, and this will only be possible if you are objective.
If you’re still not convinced that you can write a good introduction, you have a few more options.
One is to practice. Some things are learned by doing, and the more you write, the better your writing will become.
If you are still unconvinced, another option is to hire a content manager to plan, analyze, and keep track of best practices, especially if you need to outsource content production.
Not sure where to start? Learn more about our Visually writing talent network here.