Think back to the last time you were at a conference where speakers gave presentations.
Typically, some sessions fly by and others quickly make you think:
“Now would be a good time for a break.”
There are loads of reasons you might do this but a common one you may not realize is that the speaker didn’t make their presentation audience-focused.
The words they chose to start with didn’t peak your interest enough to keep you listening enough though they may have been relevant and informative.
Content isn’t just about the info but how the info is presented. How you bring the info to your audience is a huge determining factor in someone wanting to stick around or take a time out to the snack bar.
How an intro to the content is presented should be carefully crafted like a striking headline or an awesome window display meant to stop you in your tracks and pull you inside a store.
Let’s look at three simple ways to grab an audience from the start.
Headlines | 3 ways to win
#1: A headline as a striking and different point of view
A comparison your reader may not have thought about.
A statistic they don’t know about that you’re going to highlight
An unpopular stance followed by a strong argument
The idea is to inspire curiosity by doing something bold.
#2: Use a more personal headline
What Happens when you have a creative block and your content, ad or product listing looks like everyone else’s?
Why would someone choose yours?
You need to reinforce the benefit your presenting by mentioning it in both the headline AND the body of your content.
The simple way to to do this is to get a serious brainstorming session going, inspired by a little social listening.
To be clear, you need to be more specific and personal in your message so that people know there is something in it for them. Your audience is as much interested in the WHY vs the WHAT.
What are the most stirring benefits you could present? Write those down and start your copy with the strongest of those arguments.
1. Crap headline:
How to get out of bed early.
2. Fixed headline:
How I went from night-owl to early riser and quit hating my job.
People want something they can relate to and the second headline certainly covers that better than the first.
Don’t forget – The headline is the “ad for the rest of the ad”. If your content is as weak as circus lemonade you’re in trouble.
#3: Make the reader the hero in your headline
That’s how this article was started.
I asked you to “Think back to the last time …,” which immediately puts you into action and in the driver’s seat, painting a picture in your mind.
Words like, imagine, remember, consider, and forget are all calls to action out of the gate for your content. The interactivity is key to engagement.
When your intro only explains a topic, you may as well be reading straight from a technical paper. The audience needs to know that the info you are providing is something they aren’t going to find anywhere else.
Try combining this Action Type with Action Type #1 and Action Type #2 above to introduce that unique point of view you have or next-level benefits you want to immediately communicate.
When a reader comes across your info, they should know that the info is going to solve a problem – even if they didn’t know they had the problem until you pointed it out. If your content is both valuable AND engaging the chances of your audience coming back is extremely high. The more they come back, the more your brand is in front of them and the more trust is being built while positioning yourself as an expert.
Your first impression is the tune in or turn off button in your reader’s minds. In our “give it to me now” society we all appreciate a content creator now wasting our time and showing us that the info we are about to consume is something we won’t find elsewhere.
Accomplishing this has never been easier as we have social media for social listening. Listen to your audience, and give them what they want.
Show them things that they haven’t seen before and hit them with headlines that make them think “Damn. I was totally hooked!”
Compelling intros have a direct correlation to audience growth. That first impression is your opportunity to persuade. Show a new reader that you’re not like everyone else.
How much time do you spend on your headlines and intros? What do you do that makes you stand out?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments.