Shortened attention spans. Optimized online search efficiency. A click-and-go world. Writers go up against all to capture reader’s attention. Everyone is trying to find something as fast as possible when we search online, so we expect efficiency in everything, including all of the copy that we read. According to user experience experts, a user will leave a webpage within 10-20 seconds.
What does this mean for you as a copywriter or journalist? You need concise, attention-grabbing content at the top of every page of your website, every blog and every article or press release. You need the eyebrow raise: an introduction that both grabs attention in a unique way and preempts reader’s need or desire. A clear, well-outlined value proposition can capture and hold user attention and help you accomplish your goals.
Though there are different strategies for getting the eyebrow raise, a good introduction will consist of three concise parts: the point of differentiation or reader problem, the solution and the user action. You must not only capture reader’s attention but also give them what they are looking for and provide an action to take.
Raising Those Eyebrows
There are many different ways to get to the eyebrow raise moment: that moment when your user stops scanning and pays real attention to your content. We’ll walk through a few of these and provide examples that you can emulate.
Define the problem, evangelize the solution
A user scrolling a website or reading an article is almost always looking for a solution to a problem. If you can articulate that problem (maybe even for ones they haven’t recognized yet), then you can set your business or your content up as the solution. Attention and connection go hand in hand here. If your audience can read a headline and instantly relate to the problem or circumstance, you’ve got them hooked to find the solution.
For example: You’re a cybersecurity company with continuous 24x7x365 data protection. You need a way to reach customers.
An introduction that defines the problem: “Cybersecurity is a continuous battle, but you don’t have the resources for always-on, 24x7x365 reinforcements.”
And evangelizes the solution: “Luckily, we do. We provide you with the 24x7x365 data protection that you need to rest easy and focus your resources on winning new business.”
Interest-grabbing macro statement or question
Another approach to the eyebrow raise is a question or bold, overarching statement. A question can inform a reader of a need or desire they have that they might not have been considering. A bold statement can stop a scanner in their tracks. Take our cybersecurity example from earlier:
An attention-grabbing question: “Are you certain of your data defenses? If you don’t have 24x7x365 data security, you could be leaving your most important business asset exposed.” The question sows some doubt and primes the reader for a solution to this problem.
A bold statement: “Make data breaches disappear” A bold and interest-grabbing statement makes the reader want to learn more.
A series of questions or statements
We started this post with this strategy. The repetition of parallel structures (a series of questions or short statements) can capture the eye and turn a scanner into a reader.
A series of questions: “Are you certain of your data protection? Want to ensure it’s secure? Not sure where to start?” This parallel structure guides the natural progression of a reader’s thoughts toward a solution that you’ll provide.
A series of statements: “Perimeter defense. In-transit data protection. Storage encryption. All of these on their own are not enough to protect your data.” This structure not only captures the eye but also defines the “solutions” that the reader may already have and urges them to discover why they’re not good enough.
A personal or emotional appeal that sets the stage
Finally, a personal appeal or a story can help set the stage for further discovery or user action. This could take the form of a change in tone or a direct address to the reader.
Personal appeal: “We’ve all been there. Your current data protection tool isn’t cutting it and you don’t know what to do.” This strategy not only provides a problem that we will provide the solution for, but the direct address also captures attention.
Concoct the Solution
After all of these strategies, outline the solution or outcome for your readers. Provide the payout that your readers, clients or customers are looking for. Maybe that’s a list of the best ways to craft an interesting introduction or maybe it’s 24x7x365 data protection that they can afford. However, this solution should not only include what you offer, but what the practical outcome will be for them. Finishing this article will help you get better at capturing and holding your audience. Data protection will enable you to spend your resources on growing your business.
An attention-grabbing introduction should include an action to take. What do your readers need to do? Read on, learn more, and talk to our team – all actions you can suggest to move your readers from discovery to action.
No matter what you’re writing for, you need to capture and keep the reader’s interest. The eyebrow raise intro (in all its many potential forms) is crucial to doing this and to encourage your readers to read on, learn more and take the next step with your business.
Contact Bluetext if you’re curious about how our content marketing expertise could escalate your business.