An introduction might not be the most informative part of your inbound marketing blog article, but it might just be the most important.
On average, Americans spend just 16.8 minutes per day reading for leisure. Although some inbound marketing content might entail more business-related reading, you’re still competing for your distracted persona’s attention. In fact, the average person spends just 37 seconds on a webpage—and good luck getting them to scroll down. On top of that, people are increasingly bombarded on their smartphones and desktops with notifications featuring articles from social media feeds, websites, apps, and a gazillion other channels.
The time put into researching, writing, optimizing, and promoting an inbound marketing blog article can pay dividends—but only if you get the reader to engage with the content. The introduction, or lead, to your article offers the best way to secure that engagement and keep readers on your page for more than 37 seconds.
Yet, many marketers struggle with leads, often ending up with an intro that isn’t compelling, talks down to the reader, or is just plain hokey. Mastering the lead helps ensure your thought leadership and marketing strategy shine throughout the rest of the article.
Why the Intro Matters
So, why bother with an introduction if it might not even be read? For starters, not everybody is so quick to scroll—many people will read an article from start to finish. However, these same diligent readers could lose their enthusiasm and click away if you don’t give them a reason to continue. A good intro draws blog visitors in, so that even if they don’t read every word of the article, they’re scrolling further down the page, possibly experiencing more of your thought leadership, and being exposed to calls to action.
For marketers, the intro also provides the basis to promote the article on other channels, from email to social media to paid to your own website. Consider what is more impactful in a social media posting: a few words rehashing the title or a descriptive synopsis based on the lead of the article?
Finally, your blog article should be more than just a post—it should tell a story and entertain. If your article lacks a compelling introduction, it won’t feel much like a story as it will a term paper. Starting strong sets up the rest of your story for success.
There’s no one right way to write an introduction to an inbound marketing blog. I like using the following framework for writing introductions, which I find provides a quick, thorough setup to get the reader to the guts of the narrative:
- Something interesting that will catch the reader’s attention (more on this soon) or speaks to the problem the reader is experiencing
- A paragraph or so detailing the topic of the article and how it ties in to the interesting information that launches the post
- An explanation of the importance of the article’s topic and the problem the reader may be experiencing, thereby setting up the rest of the post
If you look at my …read more
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