5 easy ways to write a compelling introduction (2023)

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, what a horrible childhood I had and how busy my parents were before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, though I don't want to go into that if you want to know the truth.

Thus begins the iconic novel by J.D. Salinger,Catcher in the Rye, arguably one of the best opening sentences of an American novel ever written.

5 easy ways to write a compelling introduction (1)

I'm not here to talk about Salinger, or the life of a writer, or the greats of 20th-century American literature. This is a marketing blog, not a book club.

However, I will talk about introductions and how to write them well.

We hear a lot about itthe meaning of titles, but much less is said about the value of a great intro. Of course, you need an enticing title to grab the reader's attention, but without a strong, engaging introduction, the best title ever written won't save you.

In this post, we look at five of the many different ways to open a blog post, article, interview, or white paper — pretty much anything with words. This is not a comprehensive or definitive list; There are almost as many ways to present your writing as there are ways to write. However, there are some general techniques that work well for marketing copy that can be extraordinarily effective.

Intro #1: The quote

I've decided to open this post with a quote, not because I'm a fan ofCatcher in the Rye. To be honest I'm not the greatestcatcherFan (despite my personal appreciation for Salinger's immense literary talent andObligation to be a hardcore hermit).

5 easy ways to write a compelling introduction (2)

true data. picture aboveMagazine XXY.

The real reason I decided to start with this quote is that introductory quotes are a lazy but very effective way to grab the reader's attention without actually doing any work—especially when the quote in question has a negative one or catchy tone, like the quote above. Salinger (or rather that of his protagonist Holden Caulfield) does.

Before you even read the entire quote, you're already wondering what was so bad about the quoted person's life or what "all that David Copperfield crap" really means and why the quoted person doesn't really feel that way. go for it.

Why is this type of introduction so effective?

Before we understand why this technique is so effective, it's worth noting that opening with a quote only works well if the quote itself is interesting. There's no point in using a quote as an introduction if it's boring or predictable.

5 easy ways to write a compelling introduction (3)

(Video) Learn to Write an Introduction Paragraph!

No joke

Aside from the quote itself, which should ideally attract as much attention as possible, the fact that quotes are used indicates - obviously - that a specific person said those words. It may not seem like it, but it can be very engaging to the reader and encourage them to keep reading to see who said it. This is especially true if the quote iscontroversial or contrary.

Suppose you are writing an article about the possible effects ofartificial intelligenceabout human society. Sure, you can start with a boring, general introduction about how AI and technology have revolutionized the world as we know it, but you can also let someone else do the talking.

“With artificial intelligence we conjure up the devil. In all those stories where there's the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it's like – yeah, he's pretty sure he can control the devil. It doesn't work

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Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, speaking at MIT's AeroAstro Centennial Symposium in 2014.
picture above

The quote above is one of many memorable insights that technologist Elon Musk offers about itthe potentially existential threat posed by AI. Yes, it's a bit sensational - Musk certainly knows how to use provocative language to effect - but it's also far more interesting than most introductory articles I've read on the subject. (Please note that this particular quote has not been used as an introduction to any articles I have found or read on the subject and is used for illustration purposes only.)

It's worth noting that this technique can be a little tricky or unorthodox in the context of established journalistic conventions. As anyone who has edited with me can tell you, I am an advocate of proper citation attribution, which in most cases requires identification of the person being quoted after the first full sentence. If we follow this convention (which we should, unless we have a good reason not to), our example quote from Musk (with italic additions) would be:

"With artificial intelligence we summon the devil",said Elon Musk during an interview at MIT's AeroAstro Centennial Symposium in 2014. “In all those stories where the guy with the pentagram and the holy water is, it's like – yeah, he's sure he can control the devil. It doesn't work

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Don't mess with artificial intelligence or mysterious demonic rituals.
picture above

Unfortunately, if we (correctly) identify Elon Musk as the person quoted after the first full sentence, this introductory technique loses most, if not all, of its impact.

Notice how Salinger's opening quote looks likeCatcher in the Ryeis it a single sentence? This allowed me to include it without worrying about attributing the quote correctly, as I would if I had used the Musk quote as an introduction. If in doubt, talk to your editor - he will thank you later.

Intro #2: The statistic or fun fact

Did you know that the first American film to feature a toilet flush on screen was Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 classic psycho-horror,Psycho?

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(Video) How to Write an Eye-Catching Essay Introduction | Scribbr 🎓

TFW the water is too hot

Everyone loves trivia, and even if you're a die-hard Hitchcock fan, you might not know the above fun fact.

This technique is another extremely effective way to grab the reader's attention early on. It is also one of the most used introductions in many marketing texts. That makes sense; it establishes the overall theme of the play in an entertaining way and gives the reader something snappy and memorable.

However, the real reason why using facts or statistics as an introduction works is becausepushes our emotional buttons.

Why is this type of introduction so effective?

When it comes to the content, whether it's a 500-word blog post or aLong journalistic article of 4,000 words, some emotional triggers are more effective than others. In particular, there's a scientific principle known as the von Restorff effect (named after the German pediatrician Hedwig von Restorff, who first wrote about the phenomenon in the early 1930s) that says people tend to cling to unusual things a lot better remembered than routine and expected things. .

How it feels to read bad articles

This is an extension of our natural survival instincts; Our brains are wired to perceive strange or unusual things as potential threats, which makes them all the more memorable since anything strange we fixate on can kill us. That's also why I pretty much guarantee that if you don't get much more out of this post, you'll remember itPsychoToilet flush suit you can and should wear to impress your friends at your next pub night out.

Here at WordStream, we use this technique a lot, and not just in intros. To this day I still remember itYou are 475 times more likely to survive a plane crash than clicking on a banner ad– a fact I first included ina blog post for WordStream in 2014. Granted, I had to look up the publication date of this post, but I didn't have to double check the stats myself because they're fairWasunforgettable.

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Something to consider the next time you're desperate
Your display conversion rates. picture above
NBC Los Angeles.

However, be sure to choose your facts and statistics carefully. In the banner ad example above, this statistic is memorable not only because of the overwhelming odds you won't click on a banner ad, but also because it's related to surviving a plane crash — a particularly impressive what-if scenario and one this aligns closely with the survival instincts I mentioned earlier. Simply introducing a statistic of how many daily active users Facebook has, for example, won't have the same effect. Just as you should think carefully about the quotes you use in your presentations, choose your stats just as carefully.

Intro #3: The classic narrative

In May 1940, with war raging across Europe, a squadron of infantry from the famous Manchester Regiment invaded the village of l'Epinette in northern France.

German and Allied forces attempted to capture the strategically located village and the Manchester Regiment came under heavy fire from Nazi soldiers. The squad finally managed to pin the Nazis down with suppressive fire, and as the German soldiers ducked behind the low wall of a farmhouse, one of the Germans screamed. His commander looked at the dying soldier and thought he had been shot, only to see a long, feathered arrow shoot out of the man's chest.

(Video) How to Write a Compelling Introduction to Your Scientific Paper

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The man, the legend, Captain "Mad Jack" Churchill.
picture above
Kleins Dirk/Story of Sorts.

The Nazi soldier had been killed by the unlikely but fantastic name of John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, aka "Mad Captain Jack" Churchill, the only soldier known to have wielded a longbow - and an authentic Claymore - during the Nazi era -Sword – carried into battle World War II. . Churchill held his Scottish heritage in high regard, and when asked why he would carry such a large, antiquated weapon into battle, Churchill respectfully replied that in his opinion "any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed". .

As much as I'd love to tell more about Mad Jack Churchill - and there's so much more to tell - I used this story as an example of how extraordinarily powerful using a classic narrative in your introductions can be. Admittedly, this particular example as I've presented it isn't technically a true narrative; It has a beginning (the approach of the Manchester regiment to l'Epinette) and a rising plot (Churchill kills a Nazi soldier with a bow and arrow), but lacks a real ending. Still, I hope you understand what I mean by this example.

Why is this type of introduction so effective?

Simply put, traditional stories work so well as introductions because we, as humans, are hardwired to respond to stories. Far from mere entertainment, stories have served mankind as cautionary tales and means of survival for millennia, and even today, with all our technology and knowledge, a story well told is still one of the most compelling forms of entertainment we know.

5 easy ways to write a compelling introduction (10)

Original art byElena Stebakova

Just as a good novel draws you in from the start and makes you want to read, using a traditional narrative as an introduction offers the same benefits to your play. This technique allows you to introduce one or more characters - Mad Jack Churchill in our example - before moving on to the dramatic ascent that every good story has. This immediately grabs the reader's attention and, if done correctly, can serve as an almost irresistible hook to the rest of the play.

Intro #4: The Question

If you had to fight, would you rather fight a single horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

picture aboveFlipline-Studios

Asking questions can be an extremely effective technique in presentations. He presents the reader with a hypothetical scenario and invites him to imagine his reaction and to relate his own lived experience to the material that follows. From the beginning of your play, you captivate the reader by asking them to give their own judgment or opinion on the subject at hand—in our example, preferential combat with an impossibly large duck or a small army of impossibly small horses.

Why is this type of introduction so effective?

Asking your readers questions in your introduction is an effective technique precisely because you are inviting your reader to think about a very specific scenario. This technique is similar to using statistics or facts in introductions; By asking your audience questions, you offer them a potentially memorable situation and invite them to reconsider your perspective on the topic. For example, I personally would rather fight 100 duck-sized horses than a single menacing horse-sized duck.

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(Video) How to Start your Presentation: 4 Step Formula for a Killer Intro

Perhaps I do not know? picture aboveTED/Ganesh Pai.

However, this technique is not without its pitfalls. First, this method has been widely adopted by thousandsClick matsEditors as a lazy way to trick people into clicking through from a question-driven headline to an inevitably disappointing article. Whether the question is asked in the title or in the introduction,Many people are understandably tired and suspicious of substantive issues.

Second, there is the problem of structure. In my waterfowl fight example above, there is no "right" answer. This means that it's practically impossible to give a conclusive answer to the question, which can lead to reader disappointment, especially if you're asking a question that the reader expects the rest of the text to answer.This blog post about conversion ratesis a great example. Larry asks the reader a question in the headline, and the rest of the article answers and supports that question with data and logical, scientific arguments. Now imagine if he asked the question but didn't answer. How would you feel as a reader?

Intro #5: Setting the scene

In 2017 the global economy collapsed. Food, natural resources and oil are scarce. A police state divided into paramilitary zones rules with an iron fist.

While this introduction may aptly describe our current geopolitical nightmare, it is actually the introductory text to Paul Michael Glaser's 1987 film adaptation of Stephen King's disturbingly prescient short story.the running man(which King wrote under his pseudonym Richard Bachman before you die-hard King fans yell at me).

This technique is called a scenario and can be a very effective way to draw the reader into your text. (If you're interested, David Hogan's 1996 action filmBarbed Wire also came surprisingly closewith his speculative vision of what a dystopian 2017 would be like.)

Why is this type of introduction so effective?

This introductory technique is similar to narrative example in that the author not only sets the stage for what happens at the beginning of the play, but also for what the reader can expect. This method can be incredibly effective when dealing with emerging topics or topics with strong elements of newsworthiness.

Editorially, this technique offers the author many advantages. It allows you to choose and justify a clearly defined position on an issue, and allows you to quickly take an opposing position on controversial issues. You can also use it to manipulate your readers' emotions, summarizing and emphasizing the positive or negative aspects of a story as you see fit, or to support points you want to emphasize.

Stylistically, this introduction can be similar to narrative introductions—tell a self-contained story at the beginning of the piece before moving on to the rest of the content—or help the reader quickly become acquainted with an evolving theme that may be of interest to them is unaware of how much in-depth news coverage came out of Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Many reports have placed the catastrophic damage Harvey wreaked in the broader political context of humanitarian funding, controversial proposed cuts to scientific research, and the volatile political climate around emergency management in crisis-prone regions like the southern and southeastern United States.

A well-written introduction that sets the scene can help your readers understand quicklyWeilwhat you are about to say is important and provides you with a solid foundation for the often very subtle background information that is essential to understanding complex and multifaceted problems.

introduce yourself

I hope you spend a lot of time creating catchy titles for your content. I hope that you, too, now appreciate the value and importance of a solid introduction.

Next time you sit down to write, think of the brave valor of Mad Jack Churchill charging into battle like a Viking warrior wielding bow and sword - and then ask if your performance would make Mad Jack proud.

5 Ways to Write an Introduction [Abstract]

  1. Start with a quote
  2. Start with a relevant statistic or curiosity
  3. Begin with a fascinating story
  4. Ask your readers an exciting question
  5. Define dinner


What is 1 example of a good introduction? ›

Posing a question, defining the key term, giving a brief anecdote, using a playful joke or emotional appeal, or pulling out an interesting fact are just a few approaches you can take. Use imagery, details, and sensory information to connect with the reader if you can.

What is a good catchy introduction? ›

You could start by creating a mystery, use humour/wit, a quote of a famous person, a hypothetical situation, a rhetorical question, or even a witty/ humorous statement to grasp the attention.

What are the 3 sentences for your introduction? ›

There are three parts to an introduction: the opening statement, the supporting sentences, and the introductory topic sentence.

What is a compelling introduction? ›

State your central idea, or thesis, perhaps showing why you care about it. Present startling facts about your subject. Tell an illustrative anecdote. Give background information that will help your reader understand your subject, or see why it is important. Begin with an arresting quotation.

What 4 Things Should an introduction? ›

Some things an introduction can do

Set out the main idea of the essay. Outline how the essay title will be interpreted. Define important terms e.g. 'This essay will use Professor Bloggs's definition of X which states that…' Explain the methodology to be used in the essay and why it's being used.

What are 7 types of introductions? ›

This lesson explains seven ways to write an introduction.
  • Funnel.
  • Anecdote.
  • Survey.
  • Quotation.
  • Question.
  • Setting the Scene.
  • Definition.

What are the 4 elements of an introduction? ›

  • Introduce yourself.
  • Introduce the organisation – museum/company.
  • Learn about & connect the participants.
  • Introduce the programme & its goal.
Mar 16, 2022

What are the 3 elements of a successful introduction? ›

In general, an intro paragraph is going to have three main parts: a hook, context, and a thesis statement. Each of these pieces of the intro plays a key role in acquainting the reader with the topic and purpose of your essay.

How do you write a catchy intro sentence? ›

Examples of Great First Sentences (And How They Did It)
  1. Revealing Personal Information. “School was hard for me, for lots of reasons.” – ...
  2. Mirroring the Reader's Pain. ...
  3. Asking the Reader a Question. ...
  4. Shock the Reader. ...
  5. Intrigue the Reader. ...
  6. Lead with a Bold Claim. ...
  7. Be Empathetic and Honest. ...
  8. Invite the Reader In.

What is the best introductory paragraph? ›

The introductory paragraph of any paper, long or short, should start with a sentence that piques the interest of your readers. In a typical essay, that first sentence leads into two or three more sentences that provide details about your subject or your process. All of these sentences build up to your thesis statement.

How do you give a unique introduction? ›

20 Creative Ways to Introduce Yourself
  1. “I'm shy, please come say hi.” ...
  2. A name is worth a thousand conversations. ...
  3. Highlight something that makes you unique. ...
  4. Start with a pop culture reference. ...
  5. Confess your nickname. ...
  6. Let the way you dress reflect who you are. ...
  7. 7. Make a T-shirt. ...
  8. 8. Make a “business” card.
Aug 23, 2022

What can be used for the attention grabber? ›

A few common attention grabbers are:
  • - A short, meaningful quote that relates to your topic.
  • - An interesting statistic about your topic.
  • - A short, personal story related to your topic.
  • - Background information.
  • - Key Terms.

Does a introduction have 5 sentences? ›

Most introductions should be about three to five sentences long. And you should aim for a word count between 50-80 words. You don't need to say everything in that first paragraph.

What are the 4 types of introductions? ›

There are four different ways of writing an introduction to an academic essay. These include; funnel, quotations, dramatic, and the turn-about form. A funnel introduction runs from background information to a more focused thesis. Quotation introductions use quotes to lead the reader to the thesis statement.

What is a strong introduction? ›

A good introduction should identify your topic, provide essential context, and indicate your particular focus in the essay. It also needs to engage your readers' interest.

What are the 2 most important parts of an introduction? ›

An introductory paragraph is usually the first paragraph of an essay. The two parts of an introductory paragraph are as follows: Hook. Thesis Statement.

What are the key points to introduce yourself? ›

12 Self Introduction Tips
  • Brainstorm the Key Points Beforehand. ...
  • Briefly Explain Your Current Job. ...
  • Share Key Points from Your Job and Education History. ...
  • Mention Key Accomplishments. ...
  • Mention Any Hobbies or Interests. ...
  • Say Why You're There. ...
  • Add Personality. ...
  • Add a Bit of Humor.
Oct 22, 2022

What are the 6 parts of an introduction? ›

The introduction contains a topic sentence, a thesis statement, then three to five reasons, details and/or facts supporting your research followed by a conclusion. It should be relatively brief, concise and clear.

What is the most important part of an introduction? ›

The most important thing to include when writing an introduction is your thesis. A thesis statement is the main point of your paper; it is narrow, focused, and specific and very clearly explains your paper's topic. Essentially, a thesis functions as a brief summary of your essay.

What are the 5 sentence openers? ›

In this lesson you have learned to use several kinds of sentence openers: dependent clause, prepositional phrases, infinitive phrases, -ing word groups, and transitional words.

What is a simple sentence starter? ›

In general, a sentence starter is a quick word or phrase at the beginning of a sentence to help the reader transition, such as the phrase “in general.” Without them, writing can be disorganized, disconnected, and therefore hard to read.

What are examples of introduction words? ›

Phrases are commonly used as introductions to a sentence. Words like 'however,' 'indeed,' 'therefore;' phrases like 'on the one hand,' 'in particular,' 'for example,' and 'in the meantime' are examples of introductory language that ought to be concluded with a comma when they begin a sentence.

How do you start a introduction to a catchy essay? ›

Take a look at these common ways to start an essay:
  1. Share a shocking or amusing fact.
  2. Ask a question.
  3. Dramatize a scene.
  4. Kick it off with a quote.
  5. State your thesis directly.
  6. Pick the right tone for your essay.
  7. When you're stuck, work backwards.
Jun 2, 2022

How do you start a compelling essay? ›

Begin your introduction with a sentence or two that really intrigues the reader. This opening can take the form of a story, a surprising fact or other attention-grabbing statement.

How do you write an amazing introduction? ›

What should an introduction do? interest and attention, creating incentive for them to continue reading. Provide essential background information about the essay's main topic. writing, expresses the essay's main idea/argument, and provides a direction or outline for the body of the paper.

What is a good hook for an introduction paragraph? ›

A good introductory paragraph is between 4-7 sentences in length, begins with a hook strategy (quote, unusual fact/statistic, thoughtful, relevant questions, or a personal story), and ends with a clear thesis statement.

What is a good introduction sentence starter? ›

Below is a list of possible sentence starters, transitional and other words that may be useful. This essay discusses … … is explored … … is defined … The definition of … will be given … is briefly outlined … … is explored … The issue focused on …. … is demonstrated ... … is included …

What makes an interesting and compelling introduction? ›

A good introduction should identify your topic, provide essential context, and indicate your particular focus in the essay. It also needs to engage your readers' interest.

What is a good essay starter? ›

Introduce your topic

This is the most common way to start an essay. Simply introduce your topic and why it matters. As an option, you can also include some of your essay's sub-points or examples you'll be using.

How do you write a compelling first sentence? ›

Examples of Great First Sentences (And How They Did It)
  1. Revealing Personal Information. “School was hard for me, for lots of reasons.” – ...
  2. Mirroring the Reader's Pain. ...
  3. Asking the Reader a Question. ...
  4. Shock the Reader. ...
  5. Intrigue the Reader. ...
  6. Lead with a Bold Claim. ...
  7. Be Empathetic and Honest. ...
  8. Invite the Reader In.


1. How to write an Introduction for an Essay (The 5 Step I.N.T.R.O Method)
(Helpful Professor)
2. How to Write a Research Paper Introduction
(Wordvice Editing Service)
3. How to Give a 60 Second Self-Introduction Presentation
(Carl Kwan)
4. How to Write an Essay: Introduction Paragraph (with Worksheet)
(English Units)
5. The 3 Magic Ingredients of Amazing Presentations | Phil WAKNELL | TEDxSaclay
(TEDx Talks)
6. How to write descriptively - Nalo Hopkinson
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