“When it’s your turn to speak, start with a bang, not the white noise of housekeeping,” Laurie Guest, CSP advises emerging public speakers. Opening strong, she adds, means being purposeful about your opening, with no definitions, quotes from famous people, three-point textbook approaches, or “Nice to be here… yada, yada, yada”.
At Say It For You, I offer similar advice to emerging blog content writers. In fact, a big part of successful blog content writing involves getting the “pow opening line” right. In SEO-conscious marketing blogs, of course, it may be the keyword phrases in the title that start the job of getting the blog found. Once the visitor has actually landed, though, it takes a great opener to fan that flicker of interest into a flame.
Sometimes starting your speech with a quote is okay, Guest concedes, particularly if that quote is not familiar to most in the audience. (Notice that’s the very technique I used to open this blog post!). But, if you “curate” someone else’s material, be sure not only to attribute it to the source, but to put your own spin on it. After all, it’s you and your ideas they came to hear, she reminds aspiring speakers.
Consultant Brian Walter has something to say about openers as well. In order to powerfully position what you do and what your company does (Walter’s referring to elevator-speech business introductions), you must start with a WOW that creates surprise and interest, he cautions.
Calls to action may be inserted at various points throughout a business blog post, but the white noise of your blog’s “housekeeping duties” is best omitted from the text of the post itself. The list of CTA options can include readers contacting you via phone or email, subscribing to a newsletter or to an RSS feed of the blog itself. The sidebar can connect readers to your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts, and allow them to take advantage of some special offering or to download a white paper or booklet.
Within the blog post itself, however, it’s key to focus on one message. Attempting to cover too much ground in a single blog post, we strain readers’ attention span.
Open – and close – strong, leaving the white noise housekeeping to your blog page’s sidebar.