Which is the one thing that captures the interest of your reader and makes him want to read the whole of your article? Hint: this is also the thing that you struggle with the most!
Let me see if you can come up with a right answer…
Yes, it is the article introduction!
Not long ago, I too was one of those writers who would struggle at coming up with good article intros. You need to keep in mind that article intros are the honeypots which would attract the bees, that is, your prospects.
Unless you can capture their interest with a catchy intro, your prospects won’t read the rest of the article.
While this article may not be comprehensive, it will tell you about some of the techniques I use to come up with good article intros. Even if it boosts your clickthrough-rate by 1%, I would consider my labor a success :)
1. I write a good story: "Tom Sawyer used to work in an office from 9am to 5pm. Everyday he would struggle to get up early in the morning, gorge on his breakfast hurriedly, and then would literally run to catch a bus in order to reach his office in time!
On his way to the office, he would get trapped into traffic jams and become irritated with the cacophony and delay caused by it. As if that was not enough, he would get hit by his boss almost everyday for showing up late!
One day he thought that enough was enough, and visited the house of his friend asking about advice on an alternative option to his crazy job. His friend told him about a business plan that changed his whole life! Now Mr. Sawyer either sleeps most of the day or rests on his easy chair, and still makes money!
Won’t you too like to be like Tom Sawyer? If yes, I will tell you about the method he uses to make money on autopilot, in a step-by-step approach."
Now that was a bit cheesy (you know who Tom Sawyer is, right?) but you get the idea! :)
2. I ask a question: Which I did right at the start of this article – I put an almost open-ended question before you and I bet you got interested in guessing the answer…
Obviously a challenging question is any day better than a lame one. ;)
3. I sometimes get funny: The Tom Sawyer's story I told you about at the start of the article is one example of the type of humor I use in my articles. Humor is the one thing which would make your prospects comfortable, ease their strained nerves, and make them interested in reading more.
Thanks to the hectic city life most of us lead, we have had enough of depression, so we would easily get attracted to someone who can bring a smile on our lips! :D
Be careful when using humor though; while some people are okay with it, others are not. What is humor for a group of people might offend another! Also, there are different levels of humor: light, moderate and excessive. To be on the safe side, use either light or moderate humor in your articles!
4. I hit the prospects right at their bellies: Haha, I was referring to my weight loss articles, lol. ;) In simple words, I try to hit the most vulnerable parts of prospect in my article, so that I can quickly make a 'personal connection' with him.
In the weight loss niche, one of most vulnerable points you can use is the "fat belly". In IM niche, of course, it is mainly about making money the 'easy' or 'lazy' way – the easier your 'make money formula' is, the faster you will sell!
Unfortunately, I am a believer in hard work so I don’t make too many sales (just kidding)! ;)
5. I try to be one with my readers: I identify the problems my prospects are facing, and then try to imagine myself having those exact problems. Then I share my thoughts and struggles with my prospects!
Say, if I am writing an article on the debt niche, I would say something like: "I once got trapped in a huge credit card debt of $50,000 and I tell you what, life was not easy back then! I literally used to have a 'hand to mouth' existence, living from paycheck to paycheck. Then I followed the XXX method and …. the rest is history ;)
For YOUR eyes only: fortunately, I haven't been trapped into credit card debt, yet ;)
6. Make some killer declarations: Internet marketing is dead…Adsense is dead…Email marketing is dead…these 'preachers of death' probably make more money than you and me, even if they are not telling the whole truth!
One reason behind it is that these marketers grab the attention of their target market by predicting 'doom and gloom' at all times, and then make money by offering 'solutions' to their 'panic-stricken' or otherwise 'depressed' prospects. :)
You can use this formula to create both your article title and intro. For example, your article title could be something like: "The Death of Email Marketing" and the first part of the article would preach 'doom and gloom', starting with the many disadvantages of email marketing, such as 'spam filters'.
Personally I am not a fan of this technique so I rarely use it, but it is always an option you know! ;)
7. I reveal facts and truths: My personal opinion is that this technique is actually much better than technique no.6, but then again, what is 'truth'?
In the world of marketing, truth is what you convince your prospects to believe, because they, being your 'followers', probably don’t know any better than you! How many of you have really made the effort of checking pages and pages of product reviews on Google before buying a product?
I know there have been occasions when I have simply logged into my Paypal account and paid for a product, because I "believed" that what the seller told me on his sales page was "truth".
Of course, you can also mention some general facts about your niche from newspaper or magazine. If you are writing an article on home business, you might write something like:
"Of all the people who start a home business, 95% of them fail within the first five years!"
Just an example, okay? I know this is not the whole truth! :)
8. I make my prospects imagine: Let's say that you are writing an article on acne, and your target prospects are those who haven't suffered from it yet but would like to learn about its prevention methods. You can tell them something like:
"What if tomorrow your face becomes full of pimples? What if you have to scratch your buttocks all the time, whether you are at a party or dating a girl? I know it is an extremely embarrassing situation to be in. Wouldn't you want to prevent any such embarrassing situations? If yes, then my article is for you!"
Hehe, now I am really getting a bit on the 'seamy' side of things, eh? ;)
Try to be as descriptive as you can in order to help your prospects imagine the situation in their own viewpoint!
The more you make prospects imagine the gory details of the impending problems they are going to face, the more they would read your articles and buy your products.
I am sure there are other ways to write great article introductions, but I only know of just eight. If you are aware of anything extra, feel free to share it with me. I would really appreciate it :)