7 Formulas for Writing Introductions That Convert Scanners Into Readers

Readers take note of solely about 20% of the phrases on an internet web page. They want to skim tables of content material and subheads. They need to know in case your content material is price their effort and time.

Add to that the mere seconds it’s a must to seize and maintain readers’ curiosity, and the battle for the viewers could appear misplaced.

It isn’t.

An article’s introduction is an underestimated but highly effective game-changer in your content material advertising arsenal. Here’s make this weapon work.

An article’s intro is an underestimated yet powerful game-changer in your #content arsenal, says @WritingBreeze via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

Why emphasize introductions

If readers scan the content material, then why hassle with intros?

Readers who encounter challenging-to-scan intros that miss the what’s-in-it-for-me info might cease scanning altogether. Done effectively – with good hooks – an introduction can flip a scanner right into a reader.


  • Sets expectations.
  • Excites the viewers, in order that they maintain studying.
  • Lets the viewers know what they’ll get later within the content material.

These seven formulation might help you obtain these good intro objectives.

1. Agree, promise, preview (APP)

The APP formulation does it greatest for a search viewers in order that they know you possibly can ship what they need. Here’s the way it works:

  • Provide the data (an issue) a goal reader would agree
  • Promise an answer to that downside.
  • Preview your content material in order that they perceive what they’ll get when studying.

Follow the APP method in an article’s introduction – agree, promise, and preview the #content – to retain readers, says @WritingBreeze via @CMIContent. #WritingTips. Click To Tweet

search engine optimisation skilled Brian Dean of Backlinko is the creator of this technique. He typically makes use of it in his blog posts because it lets him maintain intros concise, simple, and interesting. I used APP on this guest post for Woorank:

  • Agree: “Top-notch content that’s well-rounded, correctly formatted, and benefits an audience is what Google demands. Unfortunately, that’s just the base requirements. If we want to rank higher in SERPs, we need to produce high-quality content that focuses on SEO as well.”
  • Promise: “Good search engine optimization is important, being more than just having a lot of keywords embedded in the content. SEO writers need to develop ways to take content to the next level, ranking higher than the competition.”
  • Preview: “This article will demonstrate five practical strategies designed to help take content writing further and achieve better SEO.”

2. Attention, curiosity, want, motion (AIDA)

Among the commonest copywriting techniques, AIDA works effectively for gross sales content material, evoking the need to buy and pushing potential consumers to take motion. It additionally works effectively for intros as a result of it could possibly:

  • Grab the reader’s consideration within the first sentence.
  • Appeal to their curiosity by saying one thing new to them.
  • Evoke the need to be taught extra, explaining how they’ll profit from the content material.
  • Invite them to take motion (maintain studying).

Travis Taborek implements this intro formulation in his article 6 Steps To Help Content Marketers Thrive in a World With AI Content Tools:

  • Attention: “Content marketers spend a lot of time pondering the question, ‘Will copywriters be replaced by AI?’ They often conclude writers don’t need to worry.”
  • Interest: “But you would benefit more if you asked a different question: …”
  • Desire: “ … ‘How can content writers work in a world that includes AI-created content?’”
  • Action: “Take steps today to ensure your work and skills can’t be replaced by a robot.”

3. Preview, proof, bridge (PPB)

Backlinko’s Brian Dean additionally makes use of this formulation to have interaction customers from the primary sentence and make clear whether or not the content material is price studying:

  • Preview your content material asset.
  • Provide proof why it’s price additional investigation.
  • Add a bridge (a brief transition phrase to maintain readers glued and get them to the following paragraph).

Brian’s article on blog promotion makes use of the PPB technique:

  • Preview: “In today’s post, I’m going to show you exactly how to promote your blog.”
  • Proof: “These are the same strategies that I used to grow my blog to 449,058 monthly visits.”
  • Bridge: “Let’s dive right in.”

4. Short, ache, yay (SPY)

People don’t need to work exhausting to know your content material. Don’t frighten them with sophisticated sentences and lengthy paragraphs within the introduction. Make it visually readable, punchy, and simple to digest.

Start with a brief sentence that hooks the viewers. How have you learnt what hooks readers and grabs their consideration? Ask an intriguing query. Make a controversial assertion. Use a quote or incorporate statistics. Include a shocking truth.

The solely rule? Say one thing that can yay the viewers – one thing uncommon and surprising. Whether you employ a query or an announcement, make it sound odd sufficient for readers to crave extra. To cement the impact, check with a ache level your readers might need. Communicate consciousness of your targets’ issues, and also you’ll acquire their sympathy.

The SPY formulation contains the next:

  • Start with a brief
  • Address a ache level.
  • Hook with a yay information (say one thing uncommon or surprising).

Helen Boss demonstrates this method in her article for SmartBlogger:

  • Short and yay: “Looking for inspiring ways to use conversion copywriting?”
  • Pain level: “… But you’re struggling to understand how to win over visitors quickly before they leave your site. It’s frustrating! And, on top of that, it’s leaving you out of pocket.”

5. Socratic technique

I discussed the Socratic technique in my article about neuro writing ways. Named after the traditional Greek thinker Socrates, it’s about asking argumentative inquiries to stimulate curiosity and demanding pondering. Perfect to make use of in content material introductions to hook customers and create a studying stream.

But it’s not about solely asking a query within the first sentence. Use at the very least two (ideally three) questions in a row. Ensure every is concise and contextually associated to the data within the content material.

Intro writing tip: Write three concise and contextually related questions in a row, says @WritingBreeze via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

My writing guru Henneke Duistermaat nails it within the article, How To Turn a Sales Pitch Into a Pleasant Conversation: 3 Writing Techniques:

  • “Does writing sales copy feel hard?”
  • “Do you feel like you have to turn yourself into a pushy sales person?”

Instead of questions, you possibly can publish consecutive statements. Choose these your goal readers will nod in settlement as they learn. It offers them unconscious proof you perceive their ache and know assist.

Brian Clark makes use of the Socrates assertion technique on this Copyblogger article through which he says he’ll share :

  • Get began
  • Cut the fluff
  • Finish a draft.


6. Concise but emotional

The oldy-moldy highly effective strategy of storytelling engages readers and makes them need to maintain studying. Why? Stories activate the experience-related elements of the mind.

Reading or listening to a narrative immerses the readers who really feel extra related and associated to the data shared within the story. It additionally retains them eager to see how the story progresses.

Sharing a private story – reflective writing – in an introduction includes readers. I take advantage of this method on Writing Breeze generally. For instance, below the headline SEO Writing: How To Craft Content Google and Searchers Will Love, I write: “First, a confession. I’ve been in SEO writing for 10+ years …”

But you don’t must go private. You can use the Pinocchios of storytelling – fictional characters to inform a narrative, create emotional connections, and enhance the content material expertise for your viewers. Back to Henneke once more within the article, How To Outline a Blog Post (and Create a Hypnotic Flow), who writes:

“Harry is scratching his head. He stares at his draft text, while sipping his coffee. Why does his writing feel like a mess? What is he actually trying to communicate …”

7. Scene-setting

This intro technique units a scene for the readers to immediate their curiosity and assist them perceive what to anticipate. It additionally works effectively for rising matters or newsy points.

With scene-setting, you possibly can:

  • Establish a transparent place on the difficulty.
  • Highlight the points of your content material asset.
  • Manipulate the reader’s feelings by setting a desired tone from the start.
  • Address the reader’s creativeness and contain them within the means of pondering.

That’s what Lesley Vos does in her article on WordStream:

“There are two magic lands. One is the land of pleasant grain-grower tribes, whereas the opposite is a motherland of mean-spirited hunters warring and betraying for revenue.

“Can you guess which land is called Grataka and which one is called Lamoniana?”

Scene-setting intros enchantment to social intuition, evoke curiosity, and inspire folks to maintain studying to get the reply and disclose if the assumptions had been appropriate. A well-written scene in an introduction additionally offers background on the subject, so readers can perceive why it’s price their time.

Which intro technique motivates you to learn?

Introduction writing takes time and observe to grasp. Formulaic strategies from savvy content material creators might help however don’t deal with them as the final word fact: Follow your writing model, model tone of voice, and audience’s must create opening paragraphs they’ll be wanting to learn.

After you draft an intro, ask: “Would I read the article if I went through this kind of introduction?” If you reply “yes,” transfer on to the following paragraphs. If you reply “no” or hesitate, revise it till you’re happy.

Remember Hemingway’s recommendation: “All you have to do is write one true sentence.” Start your introduction with “the truest sentence you know,” and your reader will stick with you.

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Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute