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Don’t Bury the Lead

Readers need a good reason to consume your entire blog. And likely, with even the best of propositions, they won’t read the entire post. That juicy nugget you’re dangling in the third graph? Drop it in the lead to pull your readers in. You’ll have a few hundred more words to back up that nugget with a full basket of fries—your feature items. But you have to show your readers what’s on the menu first.

Content marketers are sometimes guilty of ignoring this very crucial piece of guidance. If you’re a bit far away from your most recent journalism class work (or your job function is blurred between editor and writer), you might benefit from remembering this very important lesson.

Back when molten lead pressed ink into newspapers, the new biz referred to your story lead as “lede” to differentiate from the hot metal.

Whether you publish a blog daily or monthly, this your connection to your audience. For your readers to trust you and your information, gimmicks won’t cut it. If they came to your blog to learn about the “How Puppies Win the Internet,” then your lead better make an intriguing statement, like “Content with puppies outperforms all other content by a large margin. Just how large? Read on to see how fur-babies lick the competition.”

Then all supporting content should flow through the tried-and-true inverted pyramid, the go-to story structure for journalists. Fun fact: Back when molten lead pressed ink into newspapers, the new biz referred to your story lead as “lede” to differentiate from the hot metal.

Write the most important information first. Then funnel your reader toward a conclusion, where you provide background information and then your call to action.

Every blog publisher hopes for a full read that results in a click to “contact us now.” That’s a great goal, a worthy goal—and a smart reason to blog. They do in fact generate leads (the ones that bring business.) Your blog can entertain or inform, and the strategic reasoning that calls for longer-form content presents an opportunity to boost your organic search rankings and authority.

“Don’t bury the lead” can also mean “Don’t bury your keyword.” Your title and intro paragraphs holds the key to communicating with search engines in addition to your readers. It’s your preview, and the actual content needs to back that up. If your readers click through to the blog to find out that your didn’t deliver what you promised, they’ll bounce to next publisher. Click Rates and Time-on-Page all representative of just how much the Internet and readers trust you.

At the end of the day, it’s pretty simple: Lead in with juicy stuff and provide a well-orchestrated experience to the very last bite.

Want to learn more about how to bring more readers to the table? Check out our “2016 State of Distribution” report today.