One of the reasons that so many people struggle with writing content is that it can often require a lot of time and energy – maybe more than they have available. (This is doubly true for those of us with chronic illness or neurological issues – energy is a very finite resource.)
But most people don’t realize that they could cut their writing time by an easy 30%-50% overnight by using writing templates to get past their “stuck points”.
In reality, it’s not writing that takes so long – it’s navigating those stuck points, those places where we stare at the screen thinking “I have no idea what to write right now.” We can spend a lot of minutes in that stuck place.
There are two places where you are going to run into this problem most frequently – in your opening section and your closing section. This is where most people spend the majority of their “stuck time”.
So, let’s solve one of those problems right now. I’m going to give you 5 easy opening templates that you can use for any blog post or piece of content you create.
If you use one of these in every post you write, you’ll save a ton of time starting immediately. (And if you wanted to, you could even redirect that extra time towards other revenue-generating activities instead!)
So, let’s get this train moving, kittens. Here are 5 easy ways to open a blog post.
Opening 1: “How We Got Here”
To use this opening, simply begin your post by giving some basic background on why you created this post in the first place. What gave you the idea? What’s the mini-origin story that brought us here today?
Maybe you were talking to a client or customer about a challenge. Maybe you recently had to solve a problem for yourself. Or maybe the idea came to you because something in your life just reminded you of this topic. Any plausible, real-life reason at all can work for your opener.
The nice thing about using this method of beginning your blog post is that it functions effectively as an opening story. And stories are inherently interesting to the reader.
Just keep your story relatively brief, so your reader can get to the more valuable parts of your post, and you are off to the races.
(Oh, and if you’re using the inspired content model, this opener will be like falling out of bed for you. The “How We Get Here” is baked right into the process.)
Opening 2: “The Personal Story”
Whatever you’re writing about, you likely have some kind of personal experience that you can connect to the topic of your blog post.
Sometimes this will be a direct connection. For this piece, I could open with a story about “how I used to struggle with the openings for blog posts in the past”. I was always writing, deleting, writing, second-guessing, etc. – that kind of thing.
Sometimes it can be an indirect connection. I could open with how one of my copywriting mentors pulled me aside years ago and taught me that “starting a blog post is like starting a conversation: You can say anything if you’re just relatively confident about it.”
Basically, just connect some personal experience you’ve had to the topic at hand, and use that as a story to break the ice. Bam, you’re done.
If you own Plug & Play Blog Posts, you’ll see a whack of templates in there that are designed to work well with content that’s based on your personal experience or life history, so this opener can be a perfect fit for those kinds of content.
Opening 3: “What People Don’t Realize”
This is a fun and easy opener that can work for practically any topic – all you have to do is draw attention to the value of what you’re writing about in a way that will take the reader by surprise.
Sometimes this is true surprise – “whoa, dude, I had no idea”. Other times it can be the surprise of readjusting their perspective to see just how much more valuable this topic can be than they realized.
I did this with the opening for this piece – try this one on your next blog post and see how easily it comes up. :)
Opening 4: “The Fun Fact / Neat Story”
Another simple way to start off a blog post is by referencing an interesting fact (or story from history) that connects with the specific topic you’re writing about.
In the “fun fact” category, you’ll often see this involving statistics of some sort, or the origin of certain terms, concepts or industry standards. You might also see the referencing of research results as well.
In the “neat story” category, you’ll tend to see stories about people who have been involved in that topic. An article on philosophy with a funny story about Nietzsche to kick it off. A post about running shoes with a story about how the guy who started Nike made his prototype shoe soles with his wife’s waffle iron. That kind of thing.
Pro tip: If you go to the Wikipedia page for your topic, you can find these kinds of facts and stories without having to do any deep research. Plus, you can cite your sources, which makes your writing look a little more pro.
Opening 5: “The Shared Issue”
This tried-and-true opening is one you can use anytime: just mention the shared struggle that people have when pursuing the thing you’re writing about. Then follow it up with the solution that’s going to be made clear in your article.
For this post, I could have used this by opening with saying something like “everyone wants to have more content, but they’re often so intimidated by the blank page that they avoid creating it. They get stuck at the beginning, and they don’t have a way to get past it.
But, there’s a way around that if you use proven, templated openings to start out your posts… yada, yada, I’ll show you how.”
You can never go wrong with this opener – that’s why you’ll see it everywhere once you start looking for it. It’s just too easy and reliable. :)
The truth is, all “openings” are templates like these.
No matter what you read – from magazines to books to blogs – the opening section comes from some sort of template.
Sometimes it’s a consciously chosen template like these, and other times it’s just the way someone thinks they “should” lead into their post, because they’ve seen it done elsewhere. It’s a pattern. It’s part of a handful of ways they tend to open their writing.
You can save yourself a metric cat-ton lot of time – and get far more content out the door each month – if you use these 5 openers as a way to begin your posts.
Now, go make some great content, the easy way. Give me a shout if you use these, and I’ll give you a well-earned virtual high-five. :)
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