Author Topic: Is Article Writing Dead (Part IV - The Lead)  (Read 4861 times)


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Is Article Writing Dead (Part IV - The Lead)
« on: January 22, 2010, 03:22:55 PM »
Second only to the headline in importance, the lead actually 'introduces' you to the reader.
You want them to carry on reading your article to find out more about this important piece of information you are giving them; in other words 'Hook Them'!

Whether you are writing a 400 word article or a 40 page ebook there are eight general types of leads:
  • Lead 1: Factual Summary. The standard in newspaper columns and magazine articles; this lead gives you, the reader, the 4 W's and 1H of the article body. (Where, When, Who, Why and How). This method is championed by John Carlton who says 'Tell 'em what they're getting, Tell them it, Tell 'em what they got'. If it works for John - wouldn't it work for you?
  • Lead 2: Descriptive Lead. Here is one of the most famous leads from the book Jaws by Peter Benchley: "The great fish moved silently through the night water, propelled by short sweeps of its crescent tail" Doesn't that just send shivers down your spine and there's no mention of blood or gore at all! Taking our prospective headline how's about this as a lead for the ebook: 'The article spread quickly through the innermost websites on the Internet, propelled by short snippets on these Web2.0 sites'
  • Lead 3: The Shocker. Commonly used by news flashes and diet websites; these leads are meant to amaze, astonish or shock your reader into reading further.  Leads such as "Lose 10lbs in 72 hours!" or "New threat in everyday foods - more in the News at Eleven!" This compels the reader into reading more in order to satisfy their feelings of dread, jealousy and curiosity. For our theme 'Gain 1251 New Readers With One Easy Submission'
  • Lead 4: Staccato. Remember the opening sentence in Charles Dickens' book A Tale Of Two Cities: "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times"? For our article/report: 'The worst of submissions have passed. The best are here.'
  • Lead 5: Parodies. These play on the reader's knowledge of common items such as song lyrics, news stories or books. For our article we can use the staccato opening above for: 'It was the best of times for article submissions until the worst of Google slaps on article directories'
  • Lead 6: Direct Quotes. Quality quotes from recognized figures within your niche allow your readers to 'get backstage' with the intimate details. Here's a quote again from John Carlton: "...I know what works to bring in the Big Bucks. And I know what can suck the life out of you and destroy  a business… especially when times get tough." Using that as the lead into your article would certainly allay a fair few suspicions.
  • Lead 7: The Question. A simple as it sounds. Just direct a question to your reader to prick their brains into reading on to find the answer. For us we could use: 'Tired of doing manual submissions day after day?'
  • Lead 8: The Contrast. This is the method of giving two direct opposites within one sentence. Such as: 'Despite article directories being the most popular form of content syndication; submission is becoming the number one bugbear for information marketers'.

Again, if your headline and your lead don't 'hook' your prospect then you've lost a possible sale. Spend the maximum amount of time on these two parts of your writing as they can help make or break you.