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The first five seconds of a video or the first sentence of a text decide whether or not we follow up a post. Very few posts get us to devote our attention to them – instead of just scrolling on.
So I asked myself: How do I break the curse of scrolling with my mail? What can I do to attract the attention of my target audience and to arouse not only interest but also enthusiasm with my contribution? Of course, there are some answers to these questions, but I would like to explain one of the most important: the first sentence.
There are many strategies to make it really captivating. Here are my favorites:
When I opened the front door to my new apartment, I immediately saw it – a misshapen, big-eyed something was sitting in the middle of my carpet.
Proven and yet popular. Turn your contribution into a story.
The first sentence should describe the climax of your story: The moment when something unexpected happens. Once you’ve got your readers on the hook with this opening sentence, the whole story can be told – with context and meaning.
Finding alien babies in your own living room leads to an extreme change in your perception in a short period of time.
Combine [surprising assertion] with [desired result]. This formula comes from the market criers who tried to sell their goods. Because this form of the first sentence contains a statement and promises a result, your target audience continues reading: Where is the connection between alien babies and my sensory perception?
The first sentence that arouses curiosity
Most people think alien babies can’t communicate, but they’re wrong.
The goal of this strategy is to tickle the curiosity of your target audience so that they can’t help but read on. And this is how you achieve that: you say, or write, something mysterious, generally relevant or shocking. For example, in connection with a recent statistic or by making an extraordinary analogy.
The captivating question
Did you know that aliens try to communicate with us much more often than we think?
Similar to the previous example, the captivating question is primarily intended to make the target audience curious. At best, you ask a provocative question that makes the reader think. The question should rather evoke a “wait… what” reaction or point to the beginning of a story – keyword “storytelling”.
The unexpected statement
Today’s living conditions mean that more than two thirds of the world’s population can no longer recognize the aliens’ attempts to communicate.
Make a courageous statement, which you try to confirm with your contribution – and you will. This strategy is particularly suitable for the following contributions: If you want to present collected facts, talk about a personal experience or use an anecdote as an example. Again, the courageous, perhaps shocking statement is intended to create curiosity.
These five strategies can of course not only be used, for example, to open a contribution on your website. They can also be perfectly attached to a shared post on social media. You’ll see, the result will look like this: Likes Likes Likes.
Of course, when sharing, but also when writing your text in general, the opening sentence strategy that most closely matches the content of the post, the target audience or the brand should be preferred.
In addition to the five strategies presented, the following is also particularly effective: Make your opening sentence emotional and personal. Also applies to the final sentence, by the way. In this sense: See you soon, I’m going for a walk with my alien baby.