Did you know that in 1938, Time Magazine chose Adolf Hitler for the magazine’s Man of the Year award? Shocking—though this fact has little to do with the subject of this article. However, it does help illustrate the fact that sometimes starting with something shocking can be a great way to begin an article and encourage the reader to continue further into what you have to say.
There are many ways to write an introductory paragraph for an article. The introductory paragraph often divulges how you, the writer, will organize the information that will be presented in the rest of the document. Nevertheless, you do not want to jump into the meat of the article. Not only is that a bit confusing, it does not exactly inspire readers to continue to read. That is where the “shock and awe” comes into play.
Ideally, if you choose a shocking statement as your introductory sentence, you will choose one that fits in well with the rest of your article. For instance, if you were writing an article with content marketing tips to help small businesses reach a new audience, you might start with a shocking fact about the amount of time internet users spend on social media websites. No matter how interesting and shocking a fact is, if it has nothing to do with the rest of the article, it is generally a waste of space.
Another important thing to keep in mind with your shocking fact is making certain that it is properly sourced and referenced. Just like information you provide in the meat of your article, you want to make certain that the fact is actually a fact, not something you find without proper reference on the internet. If the fact is directly from a source, make sure you give proper credit.
As you can see, the shock and awe method of beginning an introductory paragraph can be a great way to draw readers into your document. Like everything, too much of a good thing can be bad. Because of this, do not fall into the trap of feeling as though you must start every piece of content with something shocking. When it comes to beginning your introduction, shock and awe is a great option, but not the only option.
Tracy S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.