Imagine logging into your WordPress and seeing another new traffic record. As bloggers, there are lots of small and large tasks we do to try and get traffic; if you’ve ever chatted with me about goals, you know that just producing lots of great content is a critical part of seeing growth on your blog.
But within that blog post, there are lots of pieces: a well-researched keyword in the right places, an SEO-optimized outline, quality content that answers the reader’s questions, and more. One often-overlooked part of each blog post is the introduction.
I’ve been blogging for over nine years at this point, and currently focus on regularly publishing to 4-6 sites at any given point; I write* a lot of blog post introductions in any given week, month or year!
In this post, I’ll cover the sections I try to include in every single introduction for every single article… on every single site. (Including this one you’re reading right now!) After reading, you’ll have a step-by-step framework for writing your own blog post intros; it’s one that I believe sets my articles apart from my competition in all the niches I cover. Best of all, it’s easy!
Ready to make writing introductions a much less stressful experience?
*Even though I work with writers on some of my sites, I always write all of the introductions myself. As you’ll see, they’re too important to outsource – and in fact shouldn’t be outsourced if you follow my advice!
Three Sections to Include Every Intro
Remember back in high school, when teachers would harp on about the different sections of an intro: the Hook, the Thesis, and the Transition? As bloggers, we seem to forget these lessons – but writing a great blog post introduction is very similar to all those annoying high school essays. (Best of all, instead of arbitrary letter grades, we get traffic and potentially income when we do it well!)
Before jumping into a detailed section about each part of your blog introduction and sharing examples of them, it’s helpful to have a short overview. Here are the three sections you need to write compelling and effective blog post introductions:
- The Hook – A paragraph that’s very enticing, creates intrigue or interest, and makes the reader want to keep reading.
- The EEAT – 1-2 paragraphs that demonstrate your E(experience), E(xpertise), A(uthority), and T(rustworthiness.
- The Lead-In – A functional paragraph (maybe two) that leads the reader into the rest of your post.
In total, I wouldn’t have more than four paragraphs: one Hook, 1-2 EEAT and 1-2 Lead-In. So if you have two EEAT paragraphs, you can only have one Lead-In (or vice versa).
These might sound confusing or artistic, but it’s really more like science: if you can use this framework to write every single blog post, readers will be happier and keep reading, Google will be happier and give you better rankings, and you’ll be happier with more traffic.
Okay, now let’s go through each one in more detail, with examples!
Section 1: The Hook
As a travel writer in the SEO/internet publishing era, you might feel a bit disappointed: (mostly) long gone are the chances to write beautifully-told stories about the sights, sounds, and senses you have on the road. Instead, it’s easy to fall into the same habit of everyone else, focusing on the nuts and bolts of informational content that our readers (and Google) want to see.
However, not all hope is lost: the first paragraph of your article is a hold-out spot where you can exercise your travel writing muscles and create content that’s so fascinating, readers can’t help but keep reading.
I call this “The Hook” – and it’s exactly what it sounds like.
You want your first paragraph to “hook” your reader, which means writing something with personality, flare, and a real sense of the place, dish, or experience the reader will have after reading your advice and doing what you suggest. You want to inspire, intrigue, and entice your reader to keep going in your article.
Here are a few examples:
One of the most important human emotions is wonder. You can find it through incredible meals, jaw-dropping art, or admiring epic views. No matter the means, wondrous experiences create an indelible mark in your memory.How to Make the Most of One Day in Canyonlands National Park
Here’s a second:
The desert air is cool as the sun goes down, and the mist rises above the hot water and wafts through the cacti. It might sound odd, but hot springs in the desert can be a great way to relax after a day of adventure. And Arizona is full of hot springs, thanks to ancient volcanic activities during an earlier chapter of the earth’s geologic history.13 Hot Springs in Arizona Where You Can Soak It All In
When it comes to Las Vegas, people generally fall into one of two camps: they love it and plan repeat trips to soak in the lights, glitz, and potential for payouts on the Strip – or they hate it and never want to visit. It turns out there’s a third camp though, and it’s full of those of us who realize that Las Vegas is a fantastic destination as a base to strike out and explore this region of the Western U.S.9 Epic Las Vegas Road Trips to Skip the Strip
As you can see from the titles, each of these posts is very informational and SEO-oriented content – it’s not like I’m sharing my personal travel journal in them. However, each one has enough pizzaz to make the next paragraph worth reading – and that’s the power of the hook.
Section 2: The EEAT
After you’ve hooked your readers, it’s time to make it clear why (after reading this second and/or third paragraph), they should trust you as the writer to keep reading all the other paragraphs to come. After all, there are lots of people writing articles on the internet – and lots of people outsourcing those articles to other people who have no EEAT to be writing. If you don’t tell your readers (and Google) that you have expertise, are an authority, and are trustworthy, how will they know?
This is the purpose of the 1-2 EEAT paragraphs.
In the EEAT section of your introduction, you want to share whatever evidence you have that proves why you wrote the article and the rest of your article is worth reading (rather than going back to Google to find another resource).
This is the section that I see most bloggers skip, and it’s the easiest section you can add to try and get a leg up on the competition.
Using the same examples as above, here are the EEAT paragraph(s) in my articles:
I had one such experience in Canyonlands National Park, where my breath was taken away by the stunning natural beauty that southwest Utah is so well known for.
I visited Canyonlands briefly in February 2020. My trip was cut short due to inclement weather, so I actually only got to spend a half-day in Canyonlands. Combining my experience with a little extra research, I’ve put together what I would suggest if you too are short on time visiting the park – but have a full day to spend exploring Canyonlands National Park, rather than a half-day.How to Make the Most of One Day in Canyonlands National Park
But is it a good idea to soak in a hot spring in a hot Southwestern destination like Arizona? When I visited Jordan, I learned the expression “when it’s hot, you drink hot.” It refers to the sweet, hot mint tea that you drink no matter the weather or time of day. I’d like to think the same thing applies to hot springs in a hot climate like Arizona: there’s never a bad time.13 Hot Springs in Arizona Where You Can Soak It All In
Many of my trips to Las Vegas have been like this, and while I’ve come to enjoy visiting the Strip, I’m always up for an adventure beyond the city lights. From my first visit to Zion by way of Vegas in 2018 to trips in 2021 and 2022 to strike out to the south and west, I am squarely in the third camp (and a little bit in the first one, too.)9 Epic Las Vegas Road Trips to Skip the Strip
Did you notice the difference in my Arizona EEAT section compared with the others? Even though I haven’t been to every (or even any, to be completely honest!) hot springs in Arizona, I was able to put together proof that I have travel experience enough to be trusted when giving travel advice.
Section 3: The Lead-In
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at this point, you’re in luck: you probably already have the Lead-In section in your introduction, if you’re doing SEO-friendly writing. Most bloggers – even those who skip the Hook and EEAT sections, have a Lead-In because SEO plugins say “you need the keyword in your introduction!!!” For this reason, everyone writes a paragraph that includes the keyword they’re targeting and tries to lead people into the rest of the post.
This is the function of the Lead-In paragraph(s) in your intro: you want to lead people in to the rest of the article.
The Lead-In is a functional part of your introduction; it exists entirely to get people from the EEAT to the first section of your post. This means it doesn’t have to be particularly great writing to do its job – it just needs to accomplish the function it’s intended to do.
Here are the Lead-In sections from my example posts:
A single day doesn’t sound like much, but whether you’re just trying to hit all of the incredible things to do near Moab or are doing a cool Southwest road trip, you can pack a ton of Canyonlands into just one day. Read on info, advice, and tips to make the most of one day in Canyonlands National Park. It will leave you inspired and ready to plan a return trip!How to Make the Most of One Day in Canyonlands National Park
If this sounds like a good idea to you, read on for my list of the best hot springs in Arizona. While you can’t dip in all of them (some are actually too hot!), you’ll see there’s a variety and surely at least one you want to visit.13 Hot Springs in Arizona Where You Can Soak It All In
If you want to join me in thinking that Vegas is cool and all but the places you can visit from it are better, you’ve come to the right place. Below you’ll find a list of Las Vegas road trip ideas that will make it worth booking one of those flights to Sin City that are always going on sale.
Read on for nine itineraries for road trips from Las Vegas, from the deserts of Death Valley to the Great Basin and the national park named after it. Here’s where to hit the road and explore a different part of the west.9 Epic Las Vegas Road Trips to Skip the Strip
As you can see, they vary in length, but they all include the target keyword and aim to keep the reader going (almost all of my introductions say “read on” as a call to action to keep people reading).
With a little tweaking, I’m sure what you currently have as an intro can be adjusted to work as a Lead-In. Then, all you have to do is ensure you have a compelling Hook and informative EEAT section, and your introductions will shine!
P.S. I highly recommend clicking each of the article examples to see what a complete introduction looks like, rather than seeing it piecemeal.
What If I’m Struggling with the EEAT Section?
Before wrapping up, I want to address one common issue: what if you struggle to write the EEAT section?
If you’re having a hard time writing a section of your blog post introduction that demonstrates your EATT, I’d ask yourself: are you truly an expert, authority, and trustworthy to write this post?
Writing the EEAT section should be pretty easy: you mention your direct experience with the topic, and why you’re qualified to be writing about it. (You made the recipe or craft, bought the product, visited the place, etc.)
If you don’t have that experience, or the experience was a long time ago, you might ask yourself whether you should be writing that post in the first place. We all have limited time and creative energy, so I always focus my effort on the posts where my EEAT is undeniably strong (and my EEAT sections are thus easy to write).
Have any other questions about how to write a great introduction for your blog posts? Let me know in the comments!