When we teach a client how to blog for their business we typically emphasize two critical pieces above all else: post titles and the first paragraph. We’ve covered post titles in the past, so today lets talk about that other important element: how to attract customers with your first paragraph. It’s easier than you think to write a great first paragraph that attracts customer and engages readers.
Your first paragraph needs to do three key things:
- Convey the benefit of reading the post.
- Repeat the key points from the post title.
- Entice the reader to keep reading in as few words as possible.
Generally speaking, I believe that first paragraphs should be very short — maximum two or three sentences. That’s because most people don’t read posts anymore! Instead, the average person simply scans, looking for key words and phrases that let them know this post or article is worth taking the time to read. As such, as short first paragraph packed full of juicy info is the best chance you have of roping in potential readers/customers.
How to Attract Customers with Your First Paragraph: Convey the Benefit
One trick you may notice if you’re a regular reader of this blog is that we typically make our post titles benefit-oriented. A “How-To” or other list-type post title insinuates that you will leave the post with important tools to help improve your business/life in some way. The benefit is the new knowledge.
How to Attract Customers with Your First Paragraph: Repeat the Post Title
We think about every single word that goes into our post titles. Why? Because we see value from content and SEO perspectives in repeating the post title in the first paragraph. By using repetition so early we are able to engage our readers and keep them on the page. That strategy doesn’t work, however, if your posts titles aren’t written in a way that makes them a natural fit — so, you need to be sure your post titles make sense in the context of the first paragraph.
How to Attract Customers with Your First Paragraph: Entice the Reader
In this post, for example, we’ve emphasize that “it’s easier than you think…” as a way to get folks to keep reading. This method of enticing you the reader is great because (1) it’s true! (2) it lets the reader know that even if they have basic knowledge they can probably make these strategies work for them. Enticing the reader also means making them feel comfortable and confident that what they read and learn will have a practical application in their life or business.
Are there exceptions to the short first paragraph rule? Certainly. But, generally speaking, if it takes you 10 sentences to explain what your post is about and why someone should keep reading, you haven’t properly outlined and/or edited your post.
Read every sentence and after each be sure it’s conveying a benefit, echoing the post title and/or enticing the reader to keep moving forward. If it’s not ticking one or two of these items, cut the sentence completely and see if the paragraph suffers as a result. If it still reads fine…keep it out!