Pat Iyer

By Pat Iyer

The 1st Line of Your Blog: Your 2nd Chance to Grab the Reader’s Attention

The 1st Line of Your Blog: Your 2nd Chance to Grab the Reader’s Attention 150 150 Patricia Iyer

If you pull them past the headline line, make sure you keep them.

80-90% of your readers won’t go beyond the subject line. However, I suspect that their eyes may stray to the first line that follows. If you write a good one, you have another chance to get someone to read your email.

Sample Headlines and Follow-ups

Your Headlines Can Save You or Sink You

Here are 10 great ways to write headlines that zing.

Your Doctor Says: “Lose Weight or Die.”

Resist the urge to run home and bury your fear with food.

Noise Pollution is Making You Sick

Turn off the sounds that kill.

From Problem to Solution

In these pairs, the headline presents the problem, and the next line demonstrates that by reading the blog, you can find solutions.

This is a very popular approach for solution-based blog. However, the first line is important for any kind of story.

Shock-Value Headlines and Follow-ups

I Grew Up in a Satanic Cult

I ran for my life when I was sixteen.

Below are some examples from old issues of True Confessions magazine. This magazine is worth studying, not because you want to write those kinds of stories but because they know how to ramp up the dramatic value of headlines and following lines that get read.

When a Girl Goes to Prison

What really happens on the inside.

Search and Rescue

I saved a life and found love.

Your slightly less lurid pairing might read:

I Was 30 Days Away from Bankruptcy

I had given up all hope.

He Asked, “Why Should I Hire You?”

I had 10 seconds to come up with an answer.

Location Is Everything

This is especially true when you’re writing a blog post. Position the first line so that it falls ABOVE whatever graphic you use. That way, it’s a continuation of the headline.

If you’re writing for a publication where you don’t have that kind of design control, you can keep the headline and first line together by making the line a subhead.

For example, you could do this:

I Was 30 Days Away from Bankruptcy:

I Had Given Up All Hope

I’ve changed the former first line to upper and lower-case and deleted the period.  The character count is 29 for this revised title. Given that 55% of people read blogs on their phone, keep your titles at no more than 34 characters and spaces.

Be Creative

Experiment. It’s always important to check your statistics and to study the comments you get on blogs. It’s unlikely that someone will tell you, “I loved your title and first line,” but if they leave a comment, these elements pulled them in enough to read further.

And that’s what you want.

Pat Iyer started blogging in 2009; since then she was written over a thousand blog posts. She is one of the original 100 C Suite Network Advisors. Connect with her at