How do you start a blog post?

How do you start a blog post? Do you follow a pattern in the way you write your posts, or do you mix up how you present what you write, and how you reach out to your audience?

Here are some approaches that one could use:

a. Using a journalistic inverted pyramid style, where you begin your post with the most important text first, answering typical journalist questions such as ‘who,’ ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how’?

b. With a story or anecdote or case study that might capture visitors’ attentions rather than first providing the central fact or opinion behind your post.

c. With a statistic that might surprise or generate responses or both.

d. In a question and answer format, where you provide a set of questions and their answers, possibly starting with what you might consider to be the most important question and answer.

e. Following a narrative or timeline, where you begin at the beginning and work forward in time.

f. In a conventional essay style like you might have learned at school, where you build a foundation for an idea or set of concepts and then show the conclusion.

g. By referring to someone elses’ blog post or article or a news story, and stating that you agree with some of it, all of it, or none of it, and then explaining why.

h. Asking your reader to imagine some hypothetical situation, or asking them to call up some memory.

i. With a straightout question, meaningful or even rhetorical, possibly in a ploy to generate comments and discussion.

j. Addressing a specific person, and writing to them.

k. By disclosing something about yourself that your readers may not have known.

l. With a definition that describes a concept that is central to your post.

m. With a picture or illustration that highlights some aspect about what you want to blog about.

n. By laying some foundation for your expertise on a subject based upon your previous experiences or education or both?

How do you start a blog post?

Share

52 thoughts on “How do you start a blog post?”

  1. Interesting post Bill.

    That said, one thing I’m sure a lot of aspiring bloggers would like to know is, how exactly do you start a blog? Like, how should your first entry be like? Would be great if you can share your thoughts on this as well.

    Cheers!

    Jurgen

  2. I usually start a blog post with a story to capture reader’s attention after all they say that blogging is like storytelling. Anyway, you have enumerated great ideas here. Thanks for sharing them, will definitely try all the other interesting approaches that you’ve mentioned.

  3. Wow never thought there are so many options, even though I ‘ve followed some of the above rules unintentionally.

  4. Hi Jurgen,

    Thank you. I’ve been thinking about writing some more posts about blogging itself, and those are good topics to cover. Appreciate the suggestions.

  5. Hi Andrew,

    You’re welcome. One of the difficulties and simultaneously one of the fun aspects of blogging is deciding how you’re going to present what you write about. I hope you have as much fun blogging as I have.

  6. Hi Seo Greece,

    I’m not sure that I would call my list a set of rules as much as a set of ideas or suggestions. I’m sure that there are many other approaches that someone could use as well. I tried to come up with a list of different approaches that I’ve used in the past when writing posts. Part of the fun of blogging is in being creative.

  7. Hi Pure360,

    Thanks. I started this post listing the inverted pyramid approach because it’s something that all usually see everyday in print and online news articles. But there are many other ways that we can write as well, and I wrote this post while thinking about how I might start another post that I was working on.

  8. I think in part it depends on the goal of the blog. You have to find a voice that will appeal to your audience (actual or intended), then you move on to a method appropriate to the topic. A business site may want forms that help establish authority like a news article or asking/answering questions. Although then it may be important to mix it up to set yourself apart from others in your field. For example, a business doing journal entries about what happened to them during the week may well prove fascinating to their clients. Find your voice, and the way to create blog posts will follow.

  9. Hi Frank,

    I agree completely that it helps to find a voice appropriate for your audience, and that may influence your choice in how to introduce a topic. Not every business and not every blogger will choose the same approach, and that’s what makes things interesting.

  10. I like the way you put things in perspective. Thanks. Got a lot from your tips. Will try some of them to breathe life into my blogs.:)

  11. Hi Bill. Great tips. One way you shouldn’t start a post is by trying to sell something. It’s an easy trap a lot of businesses fall into. A blog should engage & inform your target audience while leaving the selling to your main site.

  12. Hi Steve,

    I agree with you. I think there are better uses of a blog than to push for sales, such as attempt to build community, or to inform or education.

  13. Well, for me I usually start an informative post or something to alert my readers. There are so many different ways you can start a blog post.

    You have definitely given me some ideas on new ways to start a blog post. Anyways, I appreciate your post – I’m gonna do some new posts today now. =)

  14. I often start out a blog post by pretending that I am someone else, and writing in the style that I imagine they would write in. Then, my own style usually takes over. I also find that this can be a great way to get and develop new ideas for blog topics.

  15. Hi Will,

    That’s an interesting idea. I’ve heard of something like it being used as part of writing exercises, to help authors step outside of their usual presumptions and writing habits. For instance, imagining yourself 50 years from now and writing to the person you are now. Thank you.

  16. Hi Liz,

    I started a post with a statistic like that yesterday. If the stat is something unusual or outstanding, it can be a good way to begin a post.

  17. Just came across this post and found it quite interesting. I’m still experimenting on blogging myself so the way I start my post vary. Sometimes, (most times infact) I start out randomly then once I’ve gotten my thoughts on paper I format into usually a question and answer style…
    I really need to try some of the other styles mentioned here. Thanks Bill..

  18. Thanks, Tola.

    I have to say that I’m usually about 90 percent or so finished with most posts before I figure out how I’m going to start them. The beginning of a post is often the most challenging part, especially since the front page of my blog shows the first few paragraphs of posts and I’m hoping that people click through to read the rest of the posts.

  19. Thanks bill for your post. It’ll be really helpful for Blogger like me to start our blog post more attractively. I usually start my blog post by asking a question. Like do you know or what you do when..etc. Thanks

  20. Hi Alamin,

    You’re welcome. Choosing how your start a post can influence everything else you write in that post, and it’s something I try to pay a lot of attention to. I find I tend to rewrite my first paragraph or two more often than any other part of a post before I finally hit the “publish” button.

  21. I would have to answer option “k. By disclosing something about yourself that your readers may not have known.” This is the first time I have ever read a post like this that addresses writing style in this way. Now that you point it out, I start with “k” a lot. For example two of my posts started with: “While drinking coffee in the morning…” and “While browsing various SEO forums…” Once I saw your post title and thought about it, it made me laugh at myself…:)

  22. Hi Mark,

    A disclosure about yourself can be fun. I was tempted to start this post with one. For example:

    I was almost finished with another blog post, and faced one final task – how to start the thing. I looked back at posts I had written in the past, and I found myself writing a list of the different ways I had started posts in the past. By the time I was finished, I ended up with the following list which ended up being a better blog post than the one I was originally working on. :)

  23. Starting out with an interesting fact or big number is the one I like best… It works on me :) I also like the picture that corresponds to what you will be blogging about.

  24. Hi Ryan,

    Thanks. I really like to include a relevant and meaningful picture near the start of a blog post, especially since I’m showing excerpts on the front page of my blog. That makes it likely that the picture will show up on the front page of the blog as well, and add some extra visual appeal to the page. And a picture can be worth a thousand words, if you choose the right picture.

  25. I blog about current events in entertainment, sports, and lifestyle. Since the stories come in daily, it is quite easy to write up a quick blog post.

  26. Every post is different,so…every blog should have a different start! Some of them begin with a story, while others begin with something different!

  27. Hi Marijan,

    That’s one of the fun things about blogging – we have a lot of freedom to experiment, try different approaches, and decide how best to introduce something that we are writing.

  28. I really like the narrative- especially what’s called a “personal narrative”. I learned about this in high school. It has to do with writing about an incident in youth and then how it effected you today. I wrote an essay about my adventures with a hostess blueberry pie while in the first grade and lunch trading and how it taught me to be adventurous (it’s a comical essay). I ended up using it for college and also use it in success seminars!

    Great post!

  29. Hi Emil,

    Thank you. A personal narrative can be a great way to let visitors learn about you, and to introduce a topic as well.

    I like variety in the ways that I introduce ideas and the topics of my posts. I think that’s part of what makes blogging fun.

  30. I start by jumping right in. Sometimes I have a series that I write, but more or less I write about what comes to mind.

  31. Hi SteveF,

    I wrote this post because I found myself regularly going back to the start of a post and rewriting it. I took a look at a lot of old posts of mine, and starting listing some of the different ways that I started posts in the past. It was a helpful exercise because the list I came up with makes it easier for me to develop a choice of strategies on how to introduce a topic now.

  32. Great suggestions! I think another interesting way to start a blog post is with an interview structure. It can be funny and a great way to state your subject. For example:

    Me: Hey Peter. Thanks for popping in.

    Peter: You’re bugging me. I’m mixing.

    Me: Sorry. I’m doing a Blog on “Creating a GREAT Audio Mix” and I have to admit that you are the best in the business so I came to you.

    I think it’s creates an interesting, informative story that is also easy to scan. Again, thanks for those great ideas!

  33. Hi Bill, I was just thinking that as you mentioned you only have a paragraph to capture the reader’s imagination.

    Here are two interesting ideas which may work. This is based on internet marketing principles since internet marketers need to be writing posts that soft-sell. The principle is to catch the reader’s eye. You could then just expand on that in the first paragraph and follow the writing model of 1) tell them what you’re going to tell them (first paragraph), 2) tell them (body), 3) tell them what you told them (last paragraph).

    So here are tips once you have an idea of what you want to write about:

    1) there are a lot of copy righting books out there that teach marketers how to write landing pages and headlines for landing pages. Many of these ebooks are free also.

    2) another way: go to ebay and check out auction titles. These guys only have 50 chars or less to try to capture your attention. Figure out which ones you like and why and model your title and first paragraph after that

    3) in google, do a search on the keyword of your post and check out the google ads on the side. Same principle, they are trying to capture your attention. Take the ones that do capture your attention and model it.

    What do you think?

  34. Hi Emil,

    A number of usability studies conducted in the last 2-3 years suggest that you only have a few short seconds to capture a visitor’s attention when they arrive at your website. A snap judgment about what your site might contain, and whether or not it might be useful to that visitor may mean that they stay around, or that they hit their back button, or close the tab your page is on.

    I’ve run across the model of tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you’ve told them, in a “train the trainer” class. While I think that’s very effective in a classroom or training session, there are many other ways to capture someone’s attention. Another model that I’ve seen suggested often is the inverted pyramid approach, where you start with your conclusion, and put the most important content at the start of a page or article.

    I do like your suggestions about looking at eBay and Adwords titles for ideas on how to create concise and attention grabbing headlines. Titles can be tough regardless of the setting,but they can also make the difference as to whether or not someone even visits your page in the first place, because they are often used elsewhere (search results listing, links from other sites, etc.) as the link to your page.

    I do think that it’s pretty important that your title also be a good match for the article that it is a title for. Otherwise, visitors who arrived on your page because of your title may quickly leave if that title isn’t relevant to your content.

  35. Hi Bill, never heard of the inverted pyramid approach. That sounds really interesting. Actually quite interesting. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

    The conclusion first is pretty compelling for an audience as we’ve seen with the movie Memento. I think a Seinfeld episode did that once also. And a new book called “The 13th Hour” I saw at the airport does the same thing and starts with Chapter 12 and goes to Chapter 1 (I opted for a Bob Lee Swagger book)

    I never considered that story-in-reverse for a blog post though. That is pretty interesting. Thanks for the idea :)

  36. Hi Emil,

    Good to see you. It’s pretty old in internet years, but you might find this Jakob Nielsen article interesting: Inverted Pyramids in Cyberspace

    A lot of mystery novels use a similar plot structure, where they show you most of the ending, and then show you how the story got to that point.

    Chances are that you’ve seen the inverted pyramid style in action many times before – it’s commonly used in news wire stories, where the most important part of the story is at the very top.

  37. Hi, quite a good collection to start a blog post, will try to inculcate the above listed ways in my new blog posts.
    Would like to add one more, one can also start a blog post by referring to their older articles only and only if the two are related to each other which in turn also bounds the two articles.

  38. A very interesting post, thanks for the tips Bill. One more thing I would like to know that what things can a blogger write about I mean within his niche?

  39. Hi Akash,

    You’re welcome. I think a writer needs to learn as much about his audience as possible, and the kinds of things that they might want to read about. What problems can he help them solve? What information might appeal to them? What things can he teach about that they might not know but may find interesting?

Comments are closed.