New beginnings are exciting, engaging, and full of promise. And the introduction to your next article should be no different.
Once your audience has clicked on an enticing headline, you need to reel them in with a juicy hook that hints at all the things they are about to learn.
This guide contains handy tips on how to write an effective introduction for writers, marketers, business owners, and anyone in between.
So, what are you waiting for? Get reading!What Is an Introduction?
What Is an Introduction?
The introduction to your article is the first paragraph that explains the topic and hooks your readers in.
It makes the all-important first impression that will keep readers coming back for more.
Moreover, it sets the tone, voice, and writing style for your article.
Strong introductions are important because they convey so much information to your readers. You can use your introduction to:
- Present your topic
- Show why it matters
- Explain how your article will discuss the issue
Let’s take a look at how to write an effective introduction paragraph.How To Write a Powerful Introduction Paragraph
How To Write a Powerful Introduction Paragraph
If you want to learn how to start an introduction paragraph, it’s easy-peasy. Even if it’s your first time writing an article, here are five quick rules and examples for producing an excellent introduction:1. Include a Hook
1. Include a Hook
Don’t repeat the article title in the sentence!
Keep it fresh.
Instead, include a hook—something that engages curiosity or an emotional response from the reader.
In this case, we have a made-up article about buying Christmas presents:
“Christmas shopping can be a stressful event. Each year, more than 50% of people are considered to be last-minute shoppers.
They find themselves buying gifts for their loved ones within just two weeks of the big day. But you can avoid the last-minute rush.
The following series of helpful hints will help you plan your Christmas shopping from start to finish.”
The opening sentence has just seven words, while the second sentence hits the reader with an eye-opening statistic. The last sentence explains both why the article matters and what it’s going to do to help the reader.
In fewer than 60 words, this introduction sets the stage and engages the reader’s attention. It straps them in and encourages them to read the article from start to finish.
This real-life example from Techcrunch embodies this style of introduction, with three hard-hitting ideas in quick succession:
Here’s another example, from Hennessey Digital:
It uses a shocking revelation in the opening—using the emotive and powerful word “scams.” It certainly gets the reader interested in what’s to come.2. Keep It Short
2. Keep It Short
When writing your introduction, try to keep that first paragraph concise. Think 3-4 sentences for a short and sharp opening comment.
See how Australian Fintech firm Jacaranda Finance leads into its regular update article:
Talking about Black Friday (a trending topic at the time), the introduction consists of four main sentences.
It’s also layered with facts and employs a hook: People might be spending too much on these products.
Pro tip: Try using our free Paraphrasing tool to optimize and simplify your introductions.
3. Explain the Article’s Purpose
Your introduction should provide an effective overview of what the article covers and why the readers should care.
News introductions offer great examples of how you can sum up all the points in a story. Often they do so in 30 words or less.
For example, a typical news lede might look like this:
“John Doe was injured in New York on Monday after a speeding car struck him outside of the Empire State Building on his walk home from work.”
This introduction tells us who was involved and where and when the incident took place. We learn exactly what happened and, in some cases, why it took place.
If it looks a bit dry, don’t worry! You can jazz up your introductions or make them as informal as you like, depending on your audience.
See how this article from Sugar Geek sums everything up in a short opening paragraph. You know exactly what to expect from this article and recipe:4. Explain the Article’s Value
4. Explain the Article’s Value
First, you need to show that the article is relevant to the person reading it. Then you need to show why they should care about the topic.
In this example on the importance of cybersecurity for small businesses, HoneyBook covers all the bases:5. Refer to a Concern Your Reader Might Face
5. Refer to a Concern Your Reader Might Face
Again, we return to keeping things relevant for the readership.
By writing directly about a concern your audience has, or may have in the future, you can be sure your content will resonate.
And, more importantly, they’ll want to keep reading!
This article from Liberat shows why you should care about mollusc allergies—even if you don’t have one.
Simply enter your topic and get instant suggestions for writing your intro, based on AI and competitive data.
You can also use the “Ask AI” feature to craft an introduction of your choice.
The tool will also build an outline for your article, come up with title ideas, and help you optimize your copy.6. Use Storytelling—the Smart Way
6. Use Storytelling—the Smart Way
Sometimes you can choose to make your intro story-driven. That is, you might drift away from the typical introduction structure and focus on telling a story.
For example, look at the intro paragraph in this article by Animalz:
It hooks the reader by challenging the way case studies are created by content marketers and highlighting the gaps in our common knowledge.
This introduction format works especially well for thought leadership and opinion pieces.
Remember that while storytelling is a powerful technique, you shouldn’t overuse it in your introductions. Overloading your readers with unnecessary details will do more harm than good.7. Analyze Search Intent
7. Analyze Search Intent
If you’re writing to rank high in search engines, analyzing search intent is a must. It holds true for each part of your article, including the introduction.
Search intent is the reason a user is typing a specific question or query in the search engine.
Google prioritizes content that is most relevant to the search intent. So, analyzing pieces that rank high can help you spot patterns of the most successful and relevant content.
For instance, if each high-ranking article’s intro is only two sentences long or includes a statistic, it might indicate that it resonates with the readers.
Analyze the first 4-10 articles ranking for your keyword before writing your introduction.
Then, apply the common characteristics you’ve identified to your introduction while also keeping it original.
Tools like ContentShake will do the heavy lifting for you. Simply click on the “By Competitors” section when choosing your introduction and analyze the highest-ranking examples.3 Different Types of Written Introduction
3 Different Types of Written Introduction
Of course, there are different styles of introductions to choose between.
This section will look at three possible options to pick from, depending on what takes your fancy. Have a look and see what you like!1. The Quote Intro
1. The Quote Intro
Quotes can make for fantastic introductions and really set the tone. They are exciting, engaging, and usually come from someone in a position of influence or authority.
When using a quote to write a hook, make sure it’s either a well-known quote or a new one you received through an interview.
Quote introductions must be particularly strong. Bland quotes will stop readers in their tracks, and they won’t read the rest of the article.
Here’s an example from a blog outlining a customer’s positive experience, from Pearson PTE:2. The Scene-Setting Intro
2. The Scene-Setting Intro
Scene-setting introductions use suspense and drama to steal a reader’s attention and hook them in.
What follows is an example of an intro that really sets the scene well:
“SHARJAH KHALID PORT, United Arab Emirates — The man bobbing in the sea raises his arms in a seeming sign of surrender before he is shot in the head. He floats face down as his blood stains the blue water.”
So starts the introduction to Ian Urbina’s New York Times article on murders in international waters. The dramatic event unfolds in just two sentences, using a total of 39 words.
It takes the reader directly to the scene and makes them want to read more. Introductions like this rely on colorful writing and suspense to pull them off.
Note we go right into the story, without any background information. Your aim is to bring readers into the heart of the action right away.
You can find lots of scene-setting introductions in journalism. Read as many as you can to brush up your own skills.
This blog from Microsoft uses this technique, painting a picture before leading into the customer success story:3. The Fun Fact or Statistic Intro
3. The Fun Fact or Statistic Intro
People love trivia. They love to share it and relay it to others. So including a fun fact or a statistic in your introduction offers another way to write a strong introduction.
Here’s an example of an introduction for a made-up article on the importance of recycling:
“Humans generate tons of trash. Did you know that your average American generates 4.5 pounds of trash each day? That’s why pushing ever more initiatives to promote recycling are so important. This article will show the various new ways you can recycle everyday products you no longer have use for.”
This introduction builds from a short first sentence to introduce an incredible statistic in the second sentence. The use of italics to format the words “every day” adds emphasis that makes your reader think “wow!”
In keeping with the theme, here’s an example from a positive story about a startup with a solution to plastic waste.
Statistics create a powerful hook. But they also serve as a means of helping readers remember the story in the first place.
Next time you’re writing an article, try to find an incredible statistic on your chosen topic. It will really kick-start your piece.Wrapping up
So there you have it!
The ultimate introduction to writing introductions—now it’s your turn. Just remember to keep your opening sentences short and sharp. And be sure to use the techniques we’ve covered to really grab your readers’ attention:
- Include a hook: get them interested right away
- Be concise: the shorter the better
- Use intriguing facts: make them rethink what they know
- Make it relevant: show you are speaking directly to them
- Paint a picture: storytelling is a powerful technique and can bring readers into the article right away
To create engaging introductions in one click, use ContentShake. Enter any topic or keyword and write your blog post 10x faster.
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