Tips for Bloggers – a great ‘lede’

The key to capturing your readers’ interest is a great ‘lede.’

Sometimes referred to as a “lead,” a “lede” is the first sentence or paragraph of a news article. Secondary only to the headline, the lede describes the most important parts of the article. Read some newspaper articles and observe how the author tries to hook your interest with the first sentence.

You can use this in your blog, as easily as in a news article. A good lede highlights what’s important and encourages the reader to continue. It also directs the reader to the thoughts you want them to have. Just like with a news article, you only have a few seconds to interest your audience. A lede helps you do that so people are less likely to click on by.

I recently wrote an article where I was trying to lead the readers to a conclusion – but made the mistake of doing that in a high volume venue where everybody skims things. My plan backfired because everyone read part of the first paragraph, responded to that, and moved on.

I should have picked a good lede, one that indicated the direction I wanted things to go in.

For example, in a blog entry about a famous badger race, this might be a good lede:

Sir Fluffbottom is the new world champion in the exciting Beetle Cup race!

Much better than:

I think you’ll love finding out who one the latest edition of the Beetle Cup!

The second lede has no real information, isn’t specific about the Beetle Cup being a race, and makes the reader work for their answers. Many will move on – or click by. Better to be short, punchy, specific, and work into the details in the body of the work, after the reader knows why the article is relevant and interesting to them.

If you haven’t done this yet, try it out. Also, practice picking out ledes in news articles. It can be fun and educational. And who knows, you just might get more people reading your blog.

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