Blogging is fundamental to successful B2B inbound marketing, but it’s reported that 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts. It can be particularly tricky to keep readers engaged (and converting) when the content you’re sharing is technical and it reads more like a textbook than a blog post.
I’m not suggesting you abandon relevant and valuable information for a light and entertaining read. Instead, invoke the ageless wisdom of “you get one chance to make a first impression” and use these tips to create introductions that make for irresistible (and effective) blog posts:
Keep It Short
The fact that nearly half of all blog readers skim, if not outright abandon posts early on, is telling. Skip the wordy lead-ins and set-ups. “Blog” and “book” both have four letters, but that’s where the similarities should begin and end.
Give Them Something to Ponder
If you don’t have a chatty intro, what’s left to set the hook? Plenty.
Try some disruptive statistics to stop readers in their tracks (like “43% of people admit to skimming blog posts”). Start with an interesting industry fact, but do so cautiously. Just because a fact is oft repeated doesn’t make it newsworthy. In fact, it typically has the opposite “white noise” effect, which is a turn off in the blogosphere. Same holds true for quotes. There may be an industry expert or worldly sage whose words resonate with your topic or with you personally, but if readers have seen it repeatedly, you’re suggesting they’re in for more of the same.
Acknowledge a Problem
Your inbound marketing opportunity begins when someone has some sort of challenge, and searches the Internet for a solution. I’m not talking keyword stuffing. It’s a matter of empathy. Talk through their pain point in a way that demonstrates you understand what they’re up against.
Suggest a Solution
Once your reader is presented with a problem that is relatable, the scene is set for positioning your company as the ideal partner for resolving the issue. Now’s the time for a very brief touch on your unique selling proposition. Remember, you’re dealing with arguably limited attention spans. Tell them upfront why you’ll help them, why you’re different from the competition and how your expertise and the blog post relates to solving their problem.
Prove Your Point
Just because you can understand their problem and identify that you can solve the challenges doesn’t mean readers will take it at face value. Don’t mince words. Set the expectation that you’ll prove it with the meat of your post—the technical information once feared as off-putting now plays a pivotal role in the inbound marketing relationship. Knowing what’s coming and how things will end is helpful for blog readers.
By this point, you’re probably thanking me for putting even more pressure on you to write a killer blog introduction than you already put on yourself when faced with the blank page.
Here’s some good news: you don’t have to start with the introduction. I often end with it. Wait. What? End with an introduction? Yes! You generally already know the content you’ll include in a blog body, technical and otherwise, so invert the process. Write it before the introduction. It’s a great way to subvert blank page paralysis. Plus, having your topic thesis, analysis and conclusion fresh in mind, you’ll be able to craft a logical—and engaging—first impression for your readers.