Your Attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish!
Seven seconds is all the time you have to grab a readers attention. So how do you get it? How do you keep it?
In this article, I’ll explain how to write a blog lead paragraph that holds our goldfish-like attention span and won’t let go. By the end of this article, you will know the main types of leads, how to use them and some to avoid.
As you probably know, the “Lead” is the leading paragraph (sometimes as many as 3) of a written article. It follows the headline and it has the job of converting a casual, semi-interested browser into a reader. Headlines pull people in, the lead has to deliver instant gratification. It has to justify the reader’s decision to click through the headline.
There are two types. Hard and Soft leads
- The Summary Lead – is as if you are explaining the story to someone over the phone and your battery is about to die.
“The implementation of ‘pay-to-play’ by WordPress will strain SME’s budgets, Professional Blogger for JACKEDCONTENT.COM John Jeffries announced at last week’s BlogCon”
The newsworthy portion is the strain on the budget, not that there was an announcement!
If the main subjects (people) are not widely known to your audience, then you may want to delay revealing who they are until later on. This is known as a delayed identification or a blind lead.
- Blind leads – This is a type of summary lead, but the names or locations are delayed until later on. If the names are not well known, then I would consider using a blind lead for your article.
“For raising site traffic by 2000%, two JACKEDCONTENT.COM Bloggers were treated like royalty.In an event, worthy of A-List celebrities, Dave Davidson and Alex Roth received awards for their How To Write A Blog series.”
The names are not well known, so they are delayed until the following paragraph.
“What The **** is A #NUTGRAPH!”
After each lead, whichever you choose, you then move into the Nutgraph. When you are using a soft/creative lead (coming up next), you might not get to the important facts upfront. You may have delayed them. But they do need to appear. This is where the Nutgraph comes in.
This is the story, in a NUTshell, condensed into a paraGRAPH. This contains the story in a nutshell. It is important to arrive at the Nutgraph within the first 3 paragraphs to avoid our goldfish swimming off.
Punch Lead (As Used For This Article – You can scroll back to see, I’ll wait for you :D)
#Soft Lead Examples
“Not even pitch-black conditions could stop progress. With the whirring of computers and the frantic clacking of keyboards, the graveyard shift at JACKEDCONTENT.COM would get the How To Write A Blog article out on time.The Lead Writing story would allow their readers to ….”
“The reader lifted his head from within his hands “I thought this would explain How To Write A Blog!”, Jay Williams said, holding back tears.The next thing Williams knew, he was staring at a webpage full of 90’s GIFs. Williams, a Lead Content Editor for JACKEDCONTENT.COM was the victim of Clickbait.”
“Content Creators spend an average of 18 hours a day surfing the internet!”(NOT TRUE – I made it up to make a point)
“Obama got taken for a ride by a website. So did Jay Williams. The two well known public figures were among some of the first people to use WUber. A free taxi-like service and app that uses driverless cars in the Leeds City centre …”
#How to Write a Blog Lead
When creating a lead, don’t settle for the first one that you come up with, you need to work on them. In the world of blogging, more people will read the headline than the article. For those who make it to the article, few will read past the first paragraph unless they are grabbed. It follows then that, your lead is critical to leading someone into the story.
“There was an Editors meeting yesterday. On 5th June, the Content Editors of JACKEDCONTENT.COM met in the Penthouse meeting room to discuss the How To Write A Blog article.” … SO WHAT!!!
Don’t start with a quote or a question
Avoid the phrases “Picture this…’ or “Imagine this…”
Don’t state the obvious! “It’s Apple launch event time again …”
Avoid WHEN leads, unless the time is THE MOST IMPORTANT FACT
and, as mentioned above, Topic leads
Writing the lead for an article is my favourite part of a blog article. It lets me get to work on the crafting of words. I like to make every word count and it’s all about guiding a readers attention. I’m not an expert in this, but I think I do a pretty good job and I know the reasons for the way I write certain things.
Just remember, you need to get the reader interested and then deliver. They have taken the effort to click through. In this digital age, we goldfish need instant gratification. Write a killer lead.
Thank you for your time and I hope this article was of some use to you. It was a bit of a mammoth, but I think there is a lot of useful information in this one that you can start using right now to improve your writing. Let me know what you think and, as always, follow me on Instagram or Twitter to keep up with all things JACKEDCONTENT. Speak soon,