Tie-backs are reverse transitions, explains Annelle Altman of blogspot.com, talking to novel writers. The author drops hints about the plot and what may come in the future, and then later “ties back” to that hint. Looked at from the “other end”, a tie-back is a news writing device that refreshes readers’ memory about events that were talked about earlier in the piece.
As a corporate blogging trainer, the way I teach tie-backing is this: The opening line of a blog post is the one that assures readers they’ve come to the right place (and search engines that they’ve made a good match!). The opening line is also the one that presents a question, a problem, a startling statistic, or a gutsy, challenging statement.
At the end of the post there’s a finishing flourish that relates back to the opening statement, re-emphasizing to the reader the one main idea you were stressing in that post..
I was given a new appreciation of the power of tie-backs while watching a rerun of the movie “White House Down” the other day. The hero of the film is a Capitol policeman who’s in the doghouse with his ex-wife and teenage daughter, because he’s missed the daughter’s flag-waving demonstration at the high school. After a heavily armed group of paramilitary invaders bombs the White House and attempts to take over the presidency, the daughter saves the day by waving the flag with the presidential seal to signal their location to rescuers.
For me, that tie-back got its power from the fact that it made me think. I needed to recall that minute detail about the flag-waving that the dad had missed and then realize the irony of the all-important flag-waving toward the end of the film. I once heard humorist Dick Wolfsie explain that, in order for a joke to be funny, the person listening to the joke has to figure things out. I think it’s the same with tie-backs..
In blogging for business, at the end of the post, give your readers the satisfaction of figuring out the tie-back!