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How to Write Killer Blog Post Openings that Keep People From Leaving

By:     Topics: Blogging

Do you care whether anyone reads your blog?

Seems like a stupid question. Of course, you care. You wouldn’t be writing if you didn’t – at least, that’s what I presume.

But ask yourself, or better yet, ask your readers (if you dare) whether they can tell, by your writing, whether you care to keep them interested, or whether your aim is solely to get your information out there.

If you want to be a dangerous blogger – the kind who is read regardless of what they’re saying, the kind of blogger where readers come for engaging material – then read on.

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What Does Your Opening Say About You?

You’ve drafted the article, you’ve crafted a killer headline that just begs, “click me!” but… what happened then?

If your opening is dry, your work will be for naught.

If you jump right into cold hard facts and statistics your information will lose your reader’s attention.

If you lose momentum or don’t give them what they came for, they’ll know that you can’t be bothered with anything more than instruction. If they’re not engaged, challenged, entertained, or provoked to think, they’ll drop away from your post like leaves from a tree in autumn.

Don’t Be Afraid to Shock Them

The one time you can safely jump into information without preamble is when you have an exciting, shocking, juicy bit of information.

If your article or post has a particularly exciting, shocking, or juicy revelation in it, put it first.

Cut out the fluff from the existing introduction, make your surprising announcement, and then explain what it means for your readership afterward.

News outlets and tabloid magazines do this all the time, not because they’re incredibly eager to get us the most important bits first.

They do it because it’s so surprising to have something important just thrown at us that we become (almost) instantly spellbound.

Tell A Story

When I was in grade school, I literally used the words, “This paper is going to be about _____” in my assignments. The followup was almost as bad, as the end usually said, “In summary, this paper was about ______.”

Don’t embarrass yourself by being so painstakingly clear.

Too many novice writers introduce their material in a similar style, and it’s a surefire way to lose everyone’s attention.

Starting with a story, be it personal or otherwise, is an introduction that draws readers in and prepares them for what comes next.

The story can be used throughout the work to draw parallels, or it can simply open the door for your main point. How you use it is up to you.

Keep The Momentum Going


Whether your title is quippy, provocative, or deadly serious, you must carry that throughout your opening.

If you flash a word like “Danger!” in your headline, you’d better have content that grips your readers’ by the eyes and forces them to keep reading.

If you’ve promised a numbered list, don’t waste time by writing paragraph after paragraph about the information you’re about to present.

No one expects there to be pertinent information in the introduction, so it’s up to you to surprise them and make the opening as valuable as the article itself.

The bottom line here is that you will lose readers on a bait ‘n’ switch. Keep the energy consistent and deliver on your headline’s promise, and they’ll keep coming back for more.

Question Everything


Is it wrong that I hate, but still use, rhetorical question?

Business bloggers in particular are terrible at introducing a post without posing a handful of rhetorical questions to their readership.

Any idea why that is?

It’s because it works.

Questions have two purposes.

The first is to cause your readers to pause and think, and then read on in hopes that they were right.

The second is to lead them down a path. You can use questions to start your readers’ saying yes, and feeling they agree with you.

Don’t abuse this. I’ve seen articles introduced by a dozen consecutive, rhetorical, and obvious questions. If you overdo it, try to simplify. Instead of making a statement ending in a sarcastic, “right?”, try condensing your handful of queries down to one, solid question that packs a powerful punch.

If you can do that, you’ll have mastered a skill that many others have failed.

You can sprinkle questions, analogies, anecdotes, and statistics through your work, but they will have no larger impact than when they’re used in an introduction.

Keep your writing clean, develop your voice, and start using these tips in your blog immediately. Your readers will notice, I guarantee it.

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  • Joe

    Hi Tommy,

    Great Post, The opening of a post is so important I think as if they aren’t hooked they will leave. I ask questions as it is kind of engaging with your reader and gets them thinking.


    • Tommy

      you have less than three seconds after the person clicks your link for them to decide if they’re going to stay on the page or not.

      The job of the first sentence is to lead your reader to the second.

      and so on.

      So what’s it going to be?

      Will you keep them hooked?

      Or are they hovering over that back button, itching to get away?

      Your call.

  • Kamrul Hassan

    The story thing in product promotion sales letter now-a-days have become so common that i think people do get any interests out of it. In all the products, the same kind of story, the same kind of lies, its really making me boring, what about you? Author?

    • Tommy

      I think it all depends.

      Tactically speaking, anyone can start by opening with a question, but when you’re asking the right question of the right people it makes sense.

      Having a great product certainly makes it easier, and with so much junk information floating around, having a great product gives you much more long term sustainability.

      The idea would be to have an excellent product with an excellent sales letter, then there wouldn’t have to be any lies at all, but so many are trying to get rich quick without having to do the work to build the next great product, so maybe it can be you that builds the next great thing?

  • merrell siren sport

    really good info here tried blogging once or twice but had no success cause i was blogging about something that i wasnt passionate about im thinking of giving it another go again this time im in the right mindset can any one reccommend the best blogging platform to start off with would appreciate any kind of advice thanks
    gerry d

    • Tommy

      I’d go with wordpress, because it’s pretty universal and there are a lot of great options for themes out there.

      It’s one of the most “SEO” friendly platforms right out of the box, and a huge number of plugins that can help with all sorts of different tasks.

  • merrell siren sport

    n1 tommy that was a quick reply does wordpress cost money do i just do a search fot it i have heard about it but know nothing about it

    • Tommy

      WordPress itself is free, but there are some premium themes you can get to make it more usable. I recommend either Thesis, Genesis, or Studiopress. They all have an excellent help communities and lots of resources to get you started :-)

  • Matthew Newnham

    Another great post, Tommy. Thanks!

    • Tommy

      No no, thank you :-)

  • Abigail

    I like your post. This helps me. I’m glad you discouraged the bait n switch trick. I don’t like it when the headline is captivating but the article is not interesting. Balance is key. Thanks for the tips!

    • Tommy

      No problem! Glad you liked it :-)

  • Andrea Vahl

    Great post Tommy! That title and opening is so critical and I’ve struggled with balancing the SEO in the title with the opening that will grab their attention. Since I write a lot of how-to articles I often find myself using the standard “Have you wondered how to do this…..” but that’s boring. Thanks for giving me some new, fresh ideas!

    • Tommy

      Thank you Andrea!

      Have you Taken Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging course? There’s a whole lesson dedicated to openings that absolutely changed my perspective on the whole thing.

      • Andrea Vahl

        I haven’t taken his course and I’ve heard sooo many good things about it so I need to do it! Now to find the time to shoehorn that in somewhere :)

        • Tommy

          It’s really incredible. Literally changed my career.

          The good part is, it’s all in it’s own modules and they’re already released so you can do it at your own pace.

          I loaded up all of the videos on my iphone so I can bring them with me. Having the course portable is good and it’s Amazing what you can learn when you’re on a bathroom break ;-P

          Let me know if you’re really interested in joining. I’m an affiliate and was part of the very first group that did the course, so I’d love to help you get in :-)

      • Matthew Newnham

        Hi Tommy –

        Based on your comment, I’ve just checked out Jon Morrow and Guest Blogging. Wow… He sounds like the John Carlton of blogging, and inspirational for a number of other reasons.

        I’d like to learn more, so I’ve signed up for Jon’s introductory video. I’ve got a sense that this will be a serious financial investment, but the feedback on Jon’s page speaks volumes for his quality of teaching.

        Anything further to add?

        Many thanks,


  • M

    I find it hard to write engaging intros without getting bogged down in repetitive rhetorical questions. Something about asking a handful of questions in a row feels natural but I worry about losing my readers’ attention when I do it. How do you gauge whether your questions are bringing your point home or successfully building anticipation, vs just adding bulk and not ultimately helping anything?

    • Tommy

      You have to ask yourself when asking the question “is this for flow?” or “am I trying to invoke the mind’s eye?”

      Not all questions are retorhical either. What may seem like common knowledge to a person in your field might be something a newbie may have never thought of before.

      Of course, a lot of that comes down to knowing your readership too.

      Retorhic used in excess will only get you tuned out and leaving readers rolling their eyes.

      So to wrap it up, I’ll answer your question with another question, which is:

      Why are you asking in the first place?

  • azegbeobo

    you have state major guidelines in article writing which make articles appealing to readers and engaged them from the beginning to the and without interest. every article should take note of these point as it will help to create contents with high conversion rate.

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  • lushfun

    Lately been drawing blanks on what to write there seems a lot of inspiration missing for me at least.

    Sometimes it seems like people are in their own little world and disturbing it is the fun part.

    • Tommy

      Best way to beat that is to read.

      Read fiction, read other blogs, read the news paper or other news stories.

      Deep read into an article in a magazine. Don’t just read what’s written, but also between the lines.

      Hopefully that helps :-)


    Everyone (including Google) loves linkbait. Great article, Tommy.

  • Muhammad Noer

    Thanks for the great post Tommy.

    It gave me a lot of ideas on choosing the right opening for my future post. I think opening is the most important thing on a blog post after the title. Once the reader interested in the opening, they will continue reading and participate in the discussion.

  • Courtney James

    STEP #1. Get relevant attention.
    STEP #2. Keep it.

    That’s half the marketing battle. I find myself getting bored half to death with most blog posts.

    Heck, sometimes I wish somebody would just curse once in a while in their blog posts…

    As long as it’s relevant cursing.