Sheesh! My aim to improve my writing is elusive. I get paragraphs that read well enough. But then I fail to answer a basic question — why. Why are my words important, Do i point to why they’re useful? Thoughts stirred, courtesy of post #57.
Why write this piece? It’s to recall once again the basics of 500-1000 word blog posts. The aim is to focus on learning. The path is formulaic. Think of it as a recipe. When I cook a new dish using a recipe, I follow it. Later I may engage in wild variations. This is one way of practicing to get better. There are others.
Frustration, I often have thoughts, experiences that answer the why question. The gerbil runs on the treadmill but does not stop to contemplate the goal.
Numbers one through four are the introduction. They are aimed at getting at the what, why, and who. Five is the main message. Six asks for engagement.
Number two is the grabber aimed at getting a readers attention.
Michael Hyatt posted his recipe for a 500 word blog post.
- Compelling Title — On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. — Ogilvy as quoted by Hyatt
- Lead Paragraph — This is key. If you take too long on the wind-up, you will lose readers. Get into the premise of the post and make it relevant to your readers
- Relevant Image — Illustrate and draw reader into the post. The visually inclined can point to a why or what’s this about.
- Personal Experience — Builds connection with readers & why it is important.
- Main Body — Main nuggets of info….
- Discussion Question — A question to my readers or me to continue the thought process.
The lead paragraph is key. It encourages readers to read on. I found the following in my “archives.” I borrowed the lead paragraph ideas but don’t know who to credit.
Lead Paragraph: — Main Idea of Story & Title — Ear Catching — News Lead: Who What Where When Why How (sometimes) The perfect definition of a lead – a snippet of information that turns readers into Oliver Twist, asking for more.
A Hook Lead Paragraph — Tosses out one or two key details to “hook” readers so they want more. Often hook leads are purposely vague or mysterious. They leave out essential facts that can only be obtained upon further reading.
Feature Lead Paragraph — writers include in their stories the most strange, bizarre, quirky thing they discovered in their reporting.
Anecdotal Lead Paragraph — A anecdote or example…. The anecdotal lead can also give readers a visual to hang onto. They’re not lost once you explain what the story is about.
Many factors contribute to clear writing. But, lead paragraphs are crucial for getting readers to read. What do you think?