10 Ways To Start Your Article (A two part series on great beginnings)

from Annette 

Ugh! One of the hardest parts about writing an article is knowing how to start it. You can literally spend hours staring at a blank page, struggling to write the first sentence. This post is the first of two parts that takes a look at 10 ways to start your next article, or any article for that matter, to help you write faster, better, and to be more productive.

Ask a question. This is perhaps the easiest way to start writing an article. It’s not so creative however it does pull the reader right into the article if they feel connected to the question or have an emotional response to the question.

For example, a question to begin this article might be “Do you have trouble starting your articles?”

Provide a quote. There are several mainstream websites that provide quotes on just about every topic under the sun. These can be a great, and inspirational, way to start an article. However, beyond these notable quotes, you can also quote experts in your industry, respected gurus, and even mainstream media sites. You can also quote customers and people who have posted on your blog provided you ask their permission beforehand.

Start with the data. 70% of writers say their biggest hurdle is writing that first sentence. This isn’t true, I made it up, however it is a good example of how to use data to begin your article. Data adds credibility to your content and it helps people have a frame of reference.

Tell a story. Personal stories are a great way to pull readers into your content. It helps readers relate to you and it taps into their emotions.

For example, this blog post could have started with me telling a story about my first article project and how I hemmed and hawed over the first paragraph for several hours before I wrote something down, anything, and then moved on to write the remainder of the article in just a few minutes. However, I’ve since learned several successful strategies for effective beginnings to any article.

Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em. I worked with a client last year on a series of business books/workbooks. When we began the project, she had a format she wanted to use throughout the book series. She said, “Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. And then tell them why you told them.” It sounds repetitive but it works. Give your audience an introduction to what the article is about, then give them the details, and then sum it all up.

Sounds easy, right? It is. And the good news is that once you get the first paragraph, or even the first sentence out of the way, the rest generally flows much easier. And you can always go back and rewrite that first sentence once your article is complete.

Happy writing!

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