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21 Tips On How To Write Great Article Introductions

Whether you are new to writing or an experienced writer with a severe case of writer’s block, we all need a hand sometimes in coming up with great article introductions.

It can make the difference between a reader getting bored by the third word or having them read your whole article and rave about it to their colleagues and friends on social media.

A good article introduction starts with proper planning and empathizing with your target readership. Once you start writing, engaging your audience through unique, personal, or intriguing content is as vital as avoiding a few common writing pitfalls.

The following tips will guide you through your pre-writing stage, drafting your article introduction, and proofreading at the end.

Article Introductions: Pre-Writing Stage

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a writer and pioneering aviator, famously said: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Your goal should be to get people to read your work, and it starts with your opening. Planning is crucial in many projects, even more so when you aim to write an excellent article introduction.

1. Identify Your Target Audience

The first thing you must do, as a writer, is to identify who your readers might be. You shouldn’t generalize and assume everyone will find your article interesting or helpful.

Writing with a target audience in mind will help you to write more focused content to ensure that you grab their attention.

Do an audience analysis by listing the different kinds of people that will read your article. Think about:

  • What type of question would bring a person to your writing?
  • Is the person looking for advice, an answer, facts, or steps to do something practically?
  • Who would find your article interesting? Consider all characteristics, like gender, age, geographical location, etc.

You can only write a relevant article introduction when you have a clear readership demographic in mind.

Sometimes it helps to ask a friend or family member to role-play readers and to give suggestions for common issues, concerns, or interests that your potential audience might have.

2. Confirm Format Requirements

Depending on whom you are writing for (i.e., a commercial business, an academic journal, or a client), you should plan around the preset requirements for your article introduction, including the following:

  • Length: What is your introduction’s word count? What is the number of sentences required?
  • Format: Is there a limit on the number of paragraphs? Are there sections that must be presented in bold, like a snippet?
  • Keywords: Which keywords must you include in your introduction, if any? How many keywords must be highlighted? Must the keywords be typed in italics?

3. Consider Leaving The Introduction For Last

If you still need to complete your article, consider doing this before writing your introduction. Often, you are still determining which direction the piece might go.

Until you do, it is best to leave the drafting of your opening until the end. Writing it now would be like introducing a stranger to a friend without knowing anything about them. That would be awkward.

You can write a more accurate and appropriate introduction when you have completed your article and know every detail of its content.

However, this approach is a personal preference and may not suit your writing process. It is thus entirely optional.

Drafting Your Article Introduction

Once you have identified your target audience, checked all format requirements, and drafted your article, you can confidently write your introduction by following some of these guidelines:

4. Grab Your Readers’ Attention

The most valuable writing tip is to grab your audience’s attention in your introduction. To do this effectively, you need to empathize with your readers.

Put yourself in their proverbial shoes so that you can better write an intriguing scenario or engaging story that will make them want to continue reading.

5. Speak Directly To The Reader

In line with grabbing your readers’ attention, it is best to speak directly to them. Use the word “you” in your article introduction – multiple times!

Especially if your article offers educational content or is attempting to motivate your readers somehow, constantly use “you” to keep the reader’s focus. It will make your readers feel like you are personally writing for them, not just addressing a generic crowd.

Examples of sentences that speak directly to a reader:

  • Imagine you get to go on your dream vacation with your family.
  • If you are reading this, you may want advice on which brand of sneakers to buy.
  • The steps in this article are specifically written to allow you an opportunity to clear your debt.

6. The First Sentence of Your Introduction Is Crucial

The opening sentence of your introduction is the first thing your audience will notice. The importance of this one-liner cannot, therefore, be understated. Making it unusual or thought-provoking is critical, so your readers will be encouraged to read further.

In today’s fast-paced world, people want information within seconds. Your first sentence must therefore be impactful and to the point. Otherwise, your readers will move on to a different article if they are not immediately hooked on yours.

Examples of powerful opening lines in an article introduction:

  • It is not easy to cut through human bone with a breadknife.
  • I write this sitting on the side of the road in the rain.
  • Reading this article today might change the course of your entire life.

7. Write Your Introduction In the Active Voice

It is best to use active voice while writing your article introduction. Active voice, in a sentence, is when the subject is acting. On the other hand, passive voice is used when you want to illustrate an action being done to someone or something.

In writing, using the active voice enhances clarity. It helps your readers understand precisely what or who is doing an action. Here are some examples of improved sentences using the active voice:

  • Passive voice: The soccer ball was kicked by Dana.
  • Active voice: Dana kicked the soccer ball.

  • Passive voice: The turn signal was ignored by John.
  • Active voice: John ignored the turn signal.
  • Passive voice: The love letter was written by me.
  • Active voice: I wrote a love letter.

8. Start Your Introduction With A Question

Usually, when you ask a person a question directly, it is hard for them to ignore you. There is a subtle pressure to produce an answer or at least think about it. If you are lucky, you will pose a question they have never even considered, arousing interest in where the conversation might lead.

The same applies when you ask your reader questions in your article introduction. Reading the question captures the audience’s attention, getting them to (sometimes unwillingly) imagine or ponder over the answer.

It also makes readers feel like you are considering them, making them part of the discussion. They may be intrigued enough to read on in the hope that you will produce an answer to the posed question.

Examples of questions that connect the reader to an article:

  • What are the first two things you will buy after winning the Lottery?
  • Is there anything out of the norm you would do if you knew nobody was watching you at work?
  • If you had one day to live, what meal would you have?
  • Have you ever imagined selling all your belongings and moving to a remote island?

9. Start Your Introduction With A Quote

Another way to engage your readers is to start your introduction with a powerful and appropriate quote. Using the wise words of someone is an excellent way to set a scene for what is to come and, especially if the quotation is by a famous person, would pique the reader’s interest. For example:

  • “He who fears he will suffer already suffers because he fears.”Michel De Montaigne
  • “Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.”Oscar Wilde
  • “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”Leo Tolstoy

A quote by someone respected will also give your article authority. It will create the illusion that the famous person is supporting the content to be delivered to the reader.

10. Start Your Introduction With An Interesting Fact

An introduction that contains a compelling fact will lure an audience to read your whole article. The fact might be presented merely as a statement, or you can attach a numerical value to it if applicable, like giving a statistic, as long as the fact is interesting and relevant to the article.

When stating a fact, it is advisable to add a hyperlink to the information to show your source. Otherwise, your readers might doubt its legitimacy. Still, adding them will depend on the formatting rules you must adhere to, so check them to ensure hyperlinks are allowed.

Examples of fascinating facts:

  • You would be unable to tolerate the quietest place on earth for more than 45 minutes.
  • The most extended TV advertisement in history was 14 hours long.
  • A change in the human diet may have changed how we speak.

11. Start Your Introduction With A Definition

Instead of a quote or a fact, you can also add a definition to your introduction. If you are writing an article that contains a term paramount to your content but relatively unfamiliar to most, you need to define it for your audience. It sets the right tone, grabs the reader’s attention, and makes them feel comfortable reading your article with more knowledge of your references.

A definition does not necessarily have to be from a dictionary. Another way to define a vital element of your article, especially in a sales or marketing article, can be to introduce a product or brand immediately. It would help if you started your introduction by stating its function or nature.

Examples of ways to define a crucial term or brand name:

  • At Evernote, we aim to give people everything they need to keep life organized.
  • Bubble tea: The Taiwanese drink made of tea and sweetened milk has become a global hit.
  • According to the Oxford Dictionary, a skeuomorph is an object that imitates the design of another artifact.

12. Start Your Introduction With A Story

Everyone likes a good story, especially if it is told in the 1st person. As the writer, a personal anecdote from you can effectively lure the reader to ‘listen,’ imagine and participate in the scenario you describe.

It is also a way to identify with your audience by having gone through a similar experience. Yet, ensure that you do not exclude your audience by focusing too much on yourself.

An excellent example of a personal story as an introduction is a doctor retelling a case where they got a question from a patient and thought the answer might be informative to other readers. Or you have personally tried out a trending product on the market and would like to share your experience with readers interested in knowing more about it.

Other examples of appropriate personal anecdotes:

  • The latest juice fast was the new diet trend this year, so I tested it out for a week to see whether the results were as promised. My experience was that it did not live up to the hype. Here is why.
  • My young daughter recently came to me, asking what a feminist is. Those of you who are parents to girls would recognize what a significant opportunity this was to open a dialogue about female empowerment. Here’s some advice on how to handle ‘the talk.’
  • Have you ever thought about the experience of not talking for 24 hours? Well, I did it, and here’s what happened to me.

13. Use Humor

Very few people can resist a chuckle. Humor is thus a powerful way to hold your readers’ attention, making them want to continue reading your article. Naturally, your funny anecdote, joke, or amusing statement must be relevant to the content and tone of your writing.

Examples of sentences that contain humor:

  • Did you know that hunting unicorns are legal in Michigan?
  • Human teeth are the only body part that cannot heal themselves. No wonder dentists are so expensive!
  • Did you hear about the actress who fell through the floorboards? She was going through a stage.

14. Make A Promise

Making a promise is a big commitment in an article introduction, but it is worth it if you want to create a hook that will make your audience continue reading. The promise does not have to be life-changing but a statement that reveals what the audience can take away from reading the full article. For example:

  • After reading this article, you will know how to fix your dishwasher’s draining issue.
  • Read the following article to understand your adolescent child’s behavior better.
  • In this essay, I will introduce you to the only principles of design you will ever need to start a Graphic Design business.

15. Hint At What’s To Come

In line with making a promise in the article introduction, you need to briefly cover what information the article contains, regardless of whether you do it through a pledge, question, story, or fact.

The essential thing is to give the reader a starter to the main course. Something that will let them know what they can expect in the rest of the article but not reveal too much that they don’t continue reading. The best way is to address a problem or a concern they might have. For example:

  • Like you, I struggled to get to grips with all the online learning tools available.
  • If you have ever felt unmotivated to go to the gym, you are not alone.
  • Python seems like a challenging computer language, but here are ways I learned it within a week.

16. Show Why The Topic Is Important

Besides informing your audience about your article, you should mention why it is essential. Why should readers continue reading? Even though you might assume that your audience has reached your article through their exploration on the web, for example, you must still convince them that what you are about to say is noteworthy. For example:

  • This article reveals 21 tips that will make you a better writer.
  • You might think wearing a medical mask was only practical in 2020-2022, but here’s how a mask might save you from other illnesses.
  • If you have children using technology, you must become familiar with parental control apps and their benefits.

Article Introductions: Common Pitfalls To Avoid

As much as the dos in writing article introductions count, it would be best to note the don’ts that will leave you with a less-than-average introduction.

17. Repeating The Article Title

The title is more than likely the first thing your reader will see. There is thus no need to repeat the title in your introduction. At the most, you can repeat a few of its keywords but not the exact phrase. An audience wants to save time, so duplicating the title will only lead them to explore other, more gripping reading material.

If you are writing for a client or a scientific journal, this might be criticized and seen as a slightly cheeky way to increase your article’s word count, which is not worth losing your reputation as a writer. Avoid redundancy by keeping the introduction to the point and ensuring that every sentence contains new information.

18. Revealing Too Much

Like any good book or film, you want to keep your audience in suspense so they continue reading or watching your work. The same applies to your article introduction. Reveal enough for your readers to bite and want to continue reading your article, but not so much that you risk giving the most critical thoughts, solutions, or advice away in the introduction. It is a balancing act!

19. Over-using Cliches

It is easy to get into the bad habit of writing too many cliches since it is a familiar way to express oneself and fill a space with words. It can make an audience perceive you as unoriginal and uncreative, hurting your writing credibility. One or two cliches can be acceptable, but more might reduce the impact of your article introduction.

Examples of over-used cliches to avoid:

  • Never judge a book by its cover.
  • Thinking outside of the box.
  • Opening a can of worms.
  • Getting out on the wrong side of the bed.
  • There’s plenty of fish in the sea.

These are just a few examples of an array of cliches to avoid in your writing.

Find other ways of expressing the same sentiment by using different analogies. It will help you develop a unique voice devoid of overused banalities.

20. Losing Focus

Another cliché applicable here is ‘going off on a tangent’ – something you should avoid in your article introduction.

As stated already, your introduction should be brief and directly related to the body of your article. So be careful of writing long-winded sentences that lose track of the focus of your essay. You can often fall into this trap when you use too many synonyms and descriptive words or when you’re trying to create the backdrop for your story, but it ends up being too comprehensive and unrelated.

21. Not Proofreading Your Introduction (Enough)

One cannot emphasize this final tip enough: proofread your introduction multiple times. Firstly, ensure your article introduction covers the five W’s of your article, namely the

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

Your introduction must touch briefly on the target audience, what the article is about, and why it’s crucial. The ‘when’ and the ‘where’ can be a little trickier to apply. So, see if the context of your article allows it. If you have covered the essential W’s, then you can rest assured that you have given your readers enough information to want to continue reading your article.

With so much writing assistance software available, there is also no excuse for an article introduction with grammatical errors, typos, or an inappropriate tone. If copywriting and editing are not your strong point, use apps like:

Most of these software applications will also identify plagiarism detected in your writing.

Conclusion

Before writing an article introduction, plan your process by identifying target readers and familiarizing yourself with any format requirements. When writing your introduction, ensure that your content is original, compelling, and keeps the audience’s attention. And finally, avoid common pitfalls, such as neglecting the proofreading step.

References

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/write-stronger-introductions

https://www.quicksprout.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-writing-a-compelling-article-introduction/

https://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/grammarly-alternatives/

https://writingcooperative.com/how-to-write-a-good-article-introduction-3f4774afba06

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTEodmEiIb8

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