How to Nail Your Opening

How to Nail Your Opening

Reader Comments (21)

  1. I wanted to say you guys made a very good point about writing short sentences in the beginning.

    I read a lot of blogs every day, and it kills me when I see a first sentence going on for over 50 words. I remember a journalism professor made it a point that the first sentence of any story we write be no longer than 25 words.

    And, to be honest, he could never be more right. Anything longer than 25 words starts to drain your readers’ interests. It’s practically a proven fact in the journalistic world.

  2. Great series here, Jerod! I’m glad you transcribed the audio. I’m just more of a visual person and like to read. I got a lot of good ideas for starting out my posts. I like the short first sentence idea. It does grab the attention. Thanks!

  3. Getting to hear Demian’s voice for the first time was terrific fun! Although I had trouble getting past the pronunciation of his name. I’ve clearly had it wrong. And I detect a slight accent of some sort. This fascinates me. But enough of that! I should’ve been taking notes instead of marveling over cadence. I do love the writing tips almost as much as the audio experience. 😉

  4. Very valuable information for those us not “schooled” in copywriting. Have you ever considered building this series into a more in-depth course? More examples, etc.

    Love it all . . .

    • Mike, thank you for the kind words. None of what we discuss on The Lede is really new, per se. It’s all the same stuff Copyblogger has been teaching for years, just with different names and voices saying it. 🙂 I highly recommend that you sign up at and start going through the ebooks. They are like a master’s course themselves in copywriting and content marketing.

  5. Great content guys. I couldn’t agree more about a good headline and a strong first sentence. One of my favorite writers who does a masterful job with this is Lee Child. His first paragraphs instantly draw you in. His Jack Reacher character almost always has a dilemma on the first page. Here is an example.

    Friday. Five o’clock in the afternoon. Maybe the hardest time to move unobserved through a city. Or maybe the easiest. Because at five o’clock on a Friday nobody pays attention to anything. Except the road ahead.
    ~Lee Child: One Shot:

    Child starts with one word. He then draws you in with something we are all familiar with. Sitting in traffic at 5pm on a Friday afternoon. Then he lays out a question… Who is moving unobserved in the city?

    Classic hook, line and sinker.

    In looking back at his popular books, most start with a short sentence of five or six words. POW! By the end of the first paragraph you are in the story. You can learn a lot about writing a great opening by downloading sample chapters from Amazon and examining the first few sentences.

  6. Thanks for the article Jerod. I’m in the process of creating a new landing page for my business website and am struggling with the opening sentence. This article provided me with some great ideas to implement.

  7. For those business owners who want to include a provoking statistic in a lede but don’t know where to start, talks numbers.

    For instance, 53% of women said they would end their relationship if they didn’t get anything for Valentine’s Day.

    So, if you want to keep your lady, get busy.

  8. Before I listen to the podcast. Lemme guess – the secret to a good opening is the element of surprise? Sorta shock the reader and/or intrigue them into wanting to know more?

    I like Jon Morrow’s analogy of a street performer needing to keep peoples’ attention from the first word to the last word on the post.

    Anyhoo … Can’t wait to listen to the podcast now. Talk soon.


  9. “The tip that both Brian Clark and Darren Rowse listed as number one”

    Here’s a little tip from me (42 years a journalist and oft-published author). When mentioning people, don’t assume your audience knows who they are.

    A descriptive phrase – and I’m guessing in this instance it would be something like, ‘top-rated SEO expert’, or ‘MD of award-winning SEO company’ – would add weight to their tip and add validity as to why we should all be interested in it.

  10. Hello,

    It’s been a while since the last podcast was recorded (almost a year paused). It’s great that this podcast comeback to action again, keep covering useful topics and don’t stop again!

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