How to Get Attention with Your First Sentence

If you want readers to read your whole piece, you should treat your first sentence like a job interview.

The reader is the employer. And you are the candidate. Based on the first sentence the reader will judge if it’s worth moving on to round two, or kicking you out the front door.

Here are four tips on writing a first sentence that will grab your readers attention.

Write an open loop

This is also known as a cliffhanger. Before a commercial break, TV shows open a loop to make sure you won’t change the channel. They know that once a loop is opened in your brain, you’ll be desperate to see the end result and therefore keep watching.

Some YouTube creators are good at doing the same thing to get you to work through a mid-roll ad.

Open loops are so powerful that they’ll catch the attention of people not even remotely interested in your content.

Mention what your audience wants

Make the reader know that they’re not wasting their time. And that you will help them get what they want. Or get it quicker.

Start in the middle

You don’t need to start at the beginning of the story.

Very often, movies start with a scene from the middle or the end of the story plot. Filmmakers know that the first scene’s role is hooking the audience. So, they optimize for that instead of chronological order.

Set expectations

When you want the reader to take action, set a clear expectation in the first sentence. Don’t bury the call to action way down the page. Make the intended action clear from the beginning.

And if you’re trying to write introductions that make the reader feel forced to read more, some time ago we shared another post on writing powerful introductions.

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