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The Second Best Way to Keep Readers Reading

Written By: Margit Streifeneder in Strategies for Business Growth | August 25, 2017

The Second Best Way to Keep Readers Reading

The best way is to write an irresistible headline. But you knew that already, right?

A “hooky” headline, like the one above, pulls you into the article…

  • You want to discover the second best way to keep your readers reading.
  • Heck, you want to find out what the first best way is!
  • And there’s a clear benefit – who does NOT want a more engaged audience?

So What’s the Second Best Way?

Write a short first sentence.

Here’s why…

The sole job of the headline is to get readers to read the first sentence. The sole job of the first sentence? Yup, it’s to get visitors to read the second sentence. And on and on it goes…

The deeper that visitors get, the more engaged they become, the less likely they are to seek something else to read.

But when they’re at the very beginning? They’re teetering. You’ve hooked them with your headline (nice job!).  But they aren’t committed yet.

You’ll scare them off if you use one of those long opening sentences, the kind that’s full of clauses and subordinate clauses, like this, and that meanders all over the place without getting to the point!

What Should You Do Instead?

Kick off with one crisp sentence. The shorter, the better.

Avoid commas. Definitely don’t start with a run-on sentence.

Stuck with an opener that you just can’t tame? Kill it. Or preface it with something punchier. For example, a hack from earlier in the week originally started like this.

Once upon a time, on a remote island called Anguilla, a successful solopreneur noticed that she was following two accounts that she didn’t know.

That’s not terrible. But it does require reading. There’s a danger that a fast-scanning reader will trip over it. So we prefaced it all with this…

A modern-day fairy tale…

Once upon a time, on a remote island called Anguilla, a successful solopreneur noticed that she was following two accounts that she didn’t know.

More engaging, fun even. And everyone wants to know how a fairy tale ends.

Bottom Line Takeaway?

Writing stand-out content isn’t enough. If you don’t grab the reader’s attention immediately, you’re in trouble. They won’t get to discover how outstanding your content is if they click the back button.

So get off to a strong start with a headline that hooks and a short first sentence. It’s the ante that gets your content into the game.

Now that you’ve learned the secret to keep your readers reading, the pressure is on to continue creating great headlines. Use these 12 Tips For Writing Headlines That Work for a win-win article writing combo!

Margit Streifeneder
Margit Streifeneder is the Communications Manager at SiteSell. She handles the Editorial Calendar, coordinates marketing initiatives and is renowned for her organisational skills. She's passionate about helping solopreneurs achieve success, and enjoys interviewing SBI! members about their achievements. Her personal goal is "never being cold again," so she chose to settle in Nicaragua, for now.

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