[PDF] Do You Have The Right Lead For Your Blog Post?

by Valentina "Aling" Jakosalem/CIT-U Intern

Revisit your blog and give it a second glance. Is this the reason why you are not generating views or not? Apart from the headline,  the lead is the most crucial part of writing. Your audience gives you only a few seconds to capture their attention and keep them reading before they decide to close your blog site.

The ultimate rule: grab your reader's’ attention and they will definitely read your entire story.

Remember that in a blog post, the lead is the only part of your story that shows up on the front page, apart from the headline. Therefore, your lead must be good enough to make your audience read more.

The first paragraph of this screenshot is the lead of the story. 
To capture reader's attention, you should have a creative lead for your blog post. 

Here is a quick tip on writing a lead.

There are many different ways to write a lead. It all depends on what type of story you are going to have. Below are some tips you can use on writing different leads.

1.        Use the conventional News lead

News lead is most common lead used by reporters or even bloggers who want to inform people about a certain event. The essential elements to remember on writing a lead for news are the 5 W’s and 1 H:

  • What
  • Who
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

The best thing to do in writing this kind of lead is to not fit all the W’s and H in one lead. It will result to a long sentence and would eventually bore your readers. Summarize your story and write the most important information. The other information shall follow on the next paragraph.

For example:

A strong storm has hit Cebu City mainly the Colon Street, injuring 5 people and damaging more than 10 building, SPO1 Roger says.

The storm landed on the Philippine area yesterday and without a notice, hit Cebu on the very day. A, B, C, D and E were injured when a big commercialized tarpaulin fell from a 10 feet tall building.

The lead above is a good example of a news lead. It is able to mention what, how and where. It is clear and concise. It wasn’t able to mention who and for that reason, the people would want to read more of the story.

Moreover, it is important to get to the point right away but sometimes you don’t need to provide all the details in order to hook your audience to read more.

2.       Write short leads

Leads are sometimes as short as one word. Yes, you read  it right.

These words or short phrases are like teaser to your entire story. You do not give any idea but you make them wonder and want for an explanation.

For example:

One misspelled word.

That’s all it has to take to make your audience stop from trusting your blog post. Spelling words correctly is one important action that needs much attention.

The lead is composed of only three words but it was able to make you  read more. At the same time, it is not too wordy and confusing.

It is essential that when you make a short lead, you do not make it too catchy and enticing just to make a fool out of your readers in the end. Make it enticing and catchy but make sure that you keep whatever you promise in your lead. And keep your sentences consistent.

3.       Raise a question

There is nothing wrong with asking your audience. In lead writing, it is sometimes applicable to ask your audience. In fact, asking questions makes your blog post interactive. It causes them to think for a moment and then continue to read your story.

For example:

When was the last time you checked and monitored your Facebook page? Monitoring your Facebook page is as important as monitoring your customer's satisfaction. It gives you hints on what area to improve and what to boost.

It is essential to monitor your Facebook page daily. You simply need to click “Insights” to check how many people like your posts and how many people it reached.

The question in the lead enables the people to think and it also triggers them to read more. It is important that the question you threw on them is answered in your story. It is even more appealing if you give an explanation.

4.       Make use of numbers

Lead with numbers is appealing enough if the information beside it concerns your audience. Apart from trying to make the number lead engaging, you have to make sure that the source is reliable.

For example:

By September 2011, the disease had already resulted in 285 deaths of children between one and nine years of age. Fatalities for the 1–9 years-of-age cohort accounted for nearly 60% of deaths due to dengue in 2011. - Denguematters (A dedicated newsletter and website covering the latest information)

The situation highlights the importance of early vaccination for young children in endemic regions when a vaccine becomes available.

The lead sample gives a specific number of deaths and a specific number regarding the ages of the children affected by the dengue. This kind of lead is alarming. It entices your audience to want more of your story.

5.       Describe a scene

In describing a scene, you need many words but not too much. You are to describe situation, place, person or even a food. The challenging thing about this lead is you have to use the right words to make your audience’s imagination activate to 3D level.

This is usually applicable when you are writing feature stories.

For example:

You sit on a chair. You put your fingers on the keyboard and type more than 50 words. After a minute, you press the delete button until no letter is found on the screen. You think again. You start to type again and pause for a moment. One hour had passed but your still thinking.

Is the scenario familiar to you? Do not panic if you have experienced the same situation. It is very common to every writer. Writer’s block, as what most people call it.

The above example of a scenic lead is a good one.  It helps your audience to thoroughly understand the series of events. Also, it enables them to feel an emotion. The key part of writing a scenic lead is to make sure your audience can relate to it. When they’ll read your article, they’ll feel as if they were at actually place where the story happened.

6.       State a fact

Stating a fact in a lead is easy and at the same time difficult to create. It is easy for you because you can just use the search engine to find factual information but you need to verify or make sure that the information is from a reliable source.

For example:

According to the University of Maryland Medical University, Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning your body doesn't store it. You have to get what you need from food.

Vitamin C is for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. It helps your body make collagen.

With many sites and more-like-true-information available, you have to double check the information. Moreover, you have to double check if the fact that you stated is interesting to your audience. It must answer the question, “Does it concern them?”

7.       Have a sugar-coated sentence

A lead with a sugar-coated sentence is very common to people writing feature stories. The lead is captivating and engaging. You are free to use flowery words to add attraction to your audience.

For example:

Advertising is one small step to a big future. It is like walking from muddy road to a path covered with gold. It might take risk and boldness, at least you took that one step.

With the industry we have today, keeping quiet is not a good decision. You have to make a noise. That is where advertising comes in.

With the sample lead given above, your audience is lured to read more. It gives them the push to know what it takes in order to walk on the path covered with gold. It may seem hyperbole but what’s important is you are able to let them see their future with an excitement. Also, you have captivated them to read your tips (that is your entire story).

8.       Write an anecdote

This kind of lead is commonly used in high school papers. It is a lead where you state your experience in accordance to the topic given.

For example:

I was on my way home when I found a plain box in a corner. I do not know what has gotten into me but I decided to pick it up and brought it home. My brother, who loved his toys so much, was scolded by my mother. The same old words came out from my mother’s mouth, “Keep your toys in place”. When I heard my mother said those words, I directly gave the plain box to my brother. Without a word, he received it and put his toys in it.

From that experience, I have seen the importance of recycling.

Though the anecdote might be a bit long, it entertains your audience. And entertaining your audience is one of the objectives of your story. You just have to remember that your anecdote must be in line with the topic of your story.

9.       Have a quote

Lead that starts with a quote attracts like a magnet only when the quote used is striking enough to affect your audience. You have to choose the right quote depending on the topic of your story.

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” - Brian Clark (Famous Blogger)

In making a content for your blog, you have to think of your readers.

There are many quote you can actually research on Google which is good. All you have to do is to make sure the quote is in line with your story and you have given the right credit to the actual person who said the line.

10.   Go straight to the point

Most of the readers hate it when you’re beating around bush. Time is very precious for them, so you have to write directly what you want them to know.

For example:

Copy editing is a hard task. You have to invest your time, money and effort. Because we care for you, we will give you some tips on how to make it light and easy.

It wouldn’t hurt to be direct to the point, right?

Important note to remember in lead writing

Lead writing is not easy. Most of the writers, even  professionals, spend more than an hour to write the lead and less than an hour to write the whole story. Here are some of the few important note to remember when you write a lead:

1.       Have a sharp focus

With so many ideas coming in your mind, it is important that you focus on a specific topic. It is better that before writing a lead, you have a goal set for your story.

2.       Avoid stopping

If you happen to bump into writer’s block while you are about to write a lead, do not stop. Instead of pausing and wasting time, start writing your second paragraph. You might get the right lead from your second paragraphs.
To learn more, check out our free PDF for more lead samples.

If you are still having a hard time writing your lead, contact a professional writer today.

Images are from Pixabay and The Memoriter blog.

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