An introduction is one of those elements that matter a lot. Just like the way you introduce yourself to people can make them like you and be interested in getting to know you, so also how you introduce your essay or article can get people interested in reading it. Unfortunately, it’s one of the things that we overlook that often comes back to haunt us.
An introduction is not just for blogs; its for all good writing. The best academic writing you will find out there all have good introductions. Yours should too, so here’s how:
Get to the point
There is a common misconception that the first few lines of your write up have to be really “out there,” borderline outlandish, to pique the interest of your readers. Others try to do too much with their introduction. Myths that these are the best way to go don’t hold up. While your introduction should stimulate readers and grab their attention, it shouldn’t do so much that it distracts from the body of your write up. Instead, it should serve to focus your reader’s attention on the reason for the piece or topic. Bottom line: Readers should have an idea of what your writing is about from your introduction. You can learn a few lessons from how marketers and copywriters capture their user’s attention with their writing.
Imagine being thrown smack-dab into the early 1940s. You have no clue where you are or what’s going on. All you know is that there is a war and people are fighting. You don’t know who is friend or who is foe. How confusing would that be? This is what would happen if readers tried to follow your essay about World War II without context.
Never assume that your readers have previous knowledge about your topic of choice. A good introduction provides enough context to inform readers about what is going on in the world created within your pages. This is helpful, especially for academic writing, because readers need to be primed for your thesis or problem statement, especially when you are proffering solutions to a problem. This way, your thesis — which is oftentimes a part of your intro — is better understood, and its validity better proved.
Keep it concise
Exceedingly long introductions turn readers away. The main appeal of your academic writing is your research and findings. The draw of your blog post is the helpful tips you are passing across — remember this when writing your introduction. It shouldn’t be longer than it has to be. The rule of thumb for writing concisely is to write what you mean — nothing more, nothing less.
Your introduction should address the why
“Why should I read this piece?”, “Why is this important?”, “Why should I care?” These are some of the questions that go through your reader’s mind when they start reading your article. Your introduction should give readers a reason to keep reading by making it obvious to them that the rest of the write-up is interesting, helpful, and important.
Don’t give everything away
An introduction is meant to tease the main content of the article, not give it away. Readers will not go on if your intro tells them the conclusion of your article — it’s like knowing the exact ending of a movie from the beginning and can take away from the experience. Your introduction should give readers just enough to get them to the point of wanting more; then give them more with your main body, which encompasses recommendations or solutions.
Don’t rush it
Just because your introduction comes first doesn’t mean it’s the first thing you should write. In fact, it’s often best to leave it till the end. Your introduction is important but not the most significant part of your write-up. A great introduction that leads to drivel is more pointless than an article that nobody reads. So take your time, and do it well.