I never thought I’d quote Kenny Rogers on this blog but here’s something he said to a contestant on American Idol this series:
“the first word that comes out of your mouth helps people to decide whether to listen to the next word, which in turn helps them work out whether to listen to the next word, which helps them work out whether to listen to the next one… and so on and so forth…” (paraphrased)
When I heard it I was immediately reminded of a message that Joseph Sugarman comes back to again and again in his book Advertising Secrets of the Written Word when he’s talking about the headlines or titles of advertising copy.
Throughout the book he drums this into his readers (again a paraphrase):
“What is the purpose of a heading or title?
To get potential readers reading the next line of your ad.
What is the purpose of the first line of your ad?
To get those who’ve read it to read the second one.
What’s the purpose of the second line?
You guessed it – to get readers to read the third….”
Kenny and Joseph’s advice is much the same. The first things you sing, say or write in any form of communication are of vital importance when it comes to engaging people well.
The way you open a song, advertisement, book, speech or blog post often determines whether people will track with it.
If you want people to still be with you at the end of your post work hard at attention grabbing, intriguing, captivating and desire creating titles and openings.