You’ve nailed your attention-grabbing headline. You’ve got your reader’s attention. Now what?
After your headline, it’s the opening lines in your copy that get read the most. This is where your copy makes it or breaks it. You lose your readers there – you’ve lost them forever. Good copywriting and storytelling, has only one goal of the first sentence – to make the reader want to read the second one.
You’re still reading? Good. It’s working.
The second sentence should smoothly lead the reader to the third. And so on. If it’s boring, or unbelievable, you just won’t see the results you’re looking for. Your words need to hook readers and drive them deeper into the copy. Your job as a copywriter is to lure them through each section. Make them feel compelled to keep reading. Through the opening lines you need them to read as much of your copy as you can and read the call to action (CTA).
Surprisingly, it’s not about being clever, passionately creative or even deceptive. It’s a lot simpler than that.
I’ve put together a handful of copywriting tips to help you entice your readers in the right direction with your opening lines. Whatever you’re writing, from a sales letter to a blog post. An email to advertising copy – these will come in handy.
Start with a bang
Take any big action movie and you’ll always find a dramatic opening. There’s always some kind of strong impact. Something to grip you. It may be explosive or quietly dramatic, but you’ll always be shaken up at the start.
All it needs is an intriguing piece of information, something shocking, surprising, unusual or provocative. You’ll always be able to find some kind of twist to grab people’s attention. This is what you need with your writing. It’s time to wipe away those slow introductions and weak opening lines. Just go for it. Boom! Be bold. Start with a punch.
Keeping everything short and sweet. This is something I’ve found to be very useful as a copywriter. You need to say your message fast, strong and well enough to keep your readers moving through your copy. Short opening lines help make it really easy for readers to get drawn into an ad, email or sales copy. Think about it. There’s no great commitment in reading a 5 word sentence.
Although you may have been taught differently at school – writing sales copy is different from academic writing. It needs to be snappy. A novel has the loyalty of the reader, whereas sales copy, online articles and email copy need to work hard to capture people’s attention.
Edit all those unnecessary words. Trim the fat. Go through your first draft then edit and edit again. Edit your copy ruthlessly to make every word count. Once you start thinking with this mindset, your readers will stay with you through your opening lines and go ahead and read your copy.
Write in a conversational tone
Big words don’t impress. They actually turn the reader off. If your reader stumbles across a word which they aren’t 100% sue about – they won’t bother hanging around. Your copy needs to be personal, conversational and relatable. It should read with ease across the page.
It’s hard sometimes but don’t be tempted to throw in those complicated long words and phrases. One idea is to imagine your words as if they would rank highly in Google. Simple, concise with high-readability.
Don’t take the risk with industry buzzwords. Don’t show off your level of vocabulary as this will be counterproductive for you and your copy. Try to imagine you’re out to make a new friend. Here’s a great little article from fast company on simple language as the secret to sounding smart.
Final thoughts on opening lines.
You’ve read these tips (and you’re still with me!), now take at quick look at the opening lines in your last piece of writing. I want you to ask yourself 2 questions…
1. Is the opening line easy to read?
2. Does it conjure up enough curiosity or desire to force the reader onto the next line?
I hope you’ve gained some insight and feel ready to craft crisp, enticing opening lines.