By Sogi Chukwuanu
“I knew she was trouble the second she walked into my 24-hour deli, laundromat, and detective agency…”
In 2022, John Farmer of Aurora, Colorado, took home the crown for writing this sentence. After going through rigorous vetting and shortlisting, he was officially declared the winner… of the world’s worst opening sentence.
But here’s the kicker – John’s not alone in his talent for dreadful sentence openers. In today’s world, many people are unintentionally creating content with far worse, more lacklustre openers. And that’s an epic fail, considering that readers tend to lose interest and stop reading after only a few sentences. To capture your audience’s attention and keep them hooked, you need to nail your opening line.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how to open a sentence and create wonder when you write.
What are some good sentence openers?
The best opening sentences are the ones that pique curiosity, ignite imagination, and leave readers hungry for more. They are crafted with care, infused with intrigue, and carefully tailored to the tone and style of the content that follows.
If you aren’t sure how to create a killer opening sentence for your content, here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:
Begin with a question
Starting your blogs with a question can be an effective way to instantly engage your readers and draw them into your content. By asking a thought-provoking question, you immediately capture the reader’s attention and encourage them to keep reading to find the answer. This creates a sense of curiosity and sets the stage for an engaging discussion.
But here’s the catch: not all questions have this “magical” effect. While some questions can captivate readers and draw them in, others may fall flat. To successfully pull off an opening question, you need to meet three key criteria:
- Curiosity: Is your question intriguing enough to spark curiosity? Does it make readers eager to know the answer and continue reading?
- Relatability: Can your audience relate to the question? Does it address a topic or concern that resonates with them and piques their interest?
- Relevance: How relevant is the opening question to the rest of your content? Does it align with the overall theme and purpose of your blog post?
In the below example, “Have you ever wondered what it takes to write content that truly strikes a chord with your audience?” works well.
For starters, it ignites curiosity about the key to creating awesome content. It’s also something that the audience – people looking to amp up their content writing skills – are interested in. Finally, as you’ll find in the rest of the text, the opening sentence ties in neatly with the blog’s body!
Paint a mental image
Painting a mental picture is another fantastic way to hook your readers from the get-go and keep them engaged with your content. By picking a relatable scenario and vividly describing it, you’re inviting them to connect with you and the text.
Here’s an example:
Picture this scenario: it’s 9 am, you’re sitting at your desk, happily typing away, when you suddenly realise you’ve missed an important deadline… AGAIN
You can paint a mental image that draws readers into your content by using simple starter phrases like: “picture this,” “imagine if,” etc. But the key to nailing this technique and creating the best opening sentences is simple: don’t overdo it. Avoid painting overly dramatic or unrealistic scenarios to maintain authenticity in your writing.
Share an anecdote
Most readers love stories – or better still, an anecdote that makes them laugh. So, what better way to lead into your content than starting off with a short, personal story or experience?
Using an anecdote in your opening sentence adds a human touch to your content and helps you connect with your readers on a personal level. It creates a sense of curiosity and emotional engagement, making your readers more likely to continue reading.
Like other sentence openers, anecdotes should be relevant to your content and your target audience. They should serve a purpose in your writing and align with the overall message or theme of your content.
The upside? You get to be as dramatic as you want! Here’s an example of a powerful anecdotal opening sentence that ticks this box:
“I wanted to see women naked.”
Dramatic? Maybe. But it certainly snags the reader’s attention and ties in nicely with the rest of the content.
Start with a stat (pun intended)
Numbers may seem boring but when done well, they’re an excellent way to start any piece of content. When you hit your readers with a surprising or jaw-dropping statistic right off the bat, you’ll instantly grab their attention. Whether it’s a shocking fact, a surprising figure, or a compelling data point, statistics can add intrigue to your opening sentence.
More importantly, they add credibility and can help establish you as an expert on the topic at hand.
Here are a few ways to make your stats more interesting:
- Use stats that show your readers that they’re not alone in their struggles. For instance: According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 30 per cent of adults struggle to pay for housing.
- Throw in a growth stat. E.g.: TikTok generated an estimated $4.6 billion revenue in 2021, a 142 per cent increase year-on-year.
These are good starting sentences that not only pique your readers’ interest but lay the foundation for you to establish your credibility.
But here’s the catch: finding reliable stats to back up your content isn’t always a piece of cake (trust me, I spent over 20 minutes searching for a statistic about using stats in content writing!). But that doesn’t mean you should resort to unreliable sources or make up numbers.
The key to making this type of opening sentence work for you is credibility. Readers want to know that they can trust you and that you’re providing accurate information. If your opening sentence doesn’t meet this criteria, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and find stats that add weight and authenticity to your content.
Hopefully, these tips have shown you how to open a sentence and craft killer introductions for your blog post. But hey, if you’re craving that extra edge and want to create content that truly stands out, our team of experts can help. Book a clarity call today to find out more about our Content Creation Process ™ and how we can support you along your journey.