How to write a good introduction for a blog article

There is no such thing as a second impression when it comes to a blog article introduction. A writer has but one chance to reel in as many readers at first bite. Sure, it’s easier said than done.

Tempesta Media previously discussed that catching readers’ interest from the very start is the toughest part of a writer’s job. Nevertheless, this skill has to be mastered if you are to be a serious writer. Without an effective introduction, the rest of your content might as well be used to wrap fish.

So how does one go about writing a blog introduction that will get a reader hooked?

First off, a blog intro needs to be concise. Dedicate three to four sentences that are no longer than 35-40 words. Just think: Bloggers reached 30.6 million in 2018 alone. A writer gets only a few seconds to make a pitch before readers will want to give the next blog contender a chance.

Check if the following blog article introduction techniques have also enticed you to take a writer’s bait:

Give your readers a taste of what they want.

Sports fishers are modern-day athletes who depend on blogs to navigate the murky waters of this billion-dollar pursuit.

Different readers want different information. Identify your audience. This means understanding what they want to hear and what tone to use when writing for them.

Use an anecdote to draw the reader into your blog article

My niece Tammy had a bad experience with fish when she was four. So for a year or two, she was told that the salmon and mackerel dishes that she loved so much were chicken parts.

Blog writers often start with funny stories because they sell. However, a scary or dramatic anecdote can also pack a punch. It doesn’t have to be personal, but it must be written in a way that makes the characters and the situation familiar.

Find a popular and relatable topic.

Conclusive proof of high levels of mercury in tuna has put additional limitations for those who don’t eat meat.

Controversial subject matters may actually be a more effective way to start your blog article. But these posts may alienate half of your readers. It might be better to use more universal themes or those that have become part of popular culture.

Use a provocative question, a fresh or an astonishing piece of information, or a unique quote.

Has the scientific community finally found proof that fish can feel pain?

Unrelated studies from three Ivy league universities have now proven that fish can feel physical and emotional pain.

<<<“As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler.” – Izaak Walton>>>

All these intro techniques are effective hooks because they play on readers’ emotions. As such, these blog article introductions are sometimes abused by misguided bloggers who often have no content to match. A professional writer does not fall into this trap.

There are many more ways of writing a blog introduction. The long and short of it is that an effective intro should act as a net. This net will prove effective if readers will not want to escape until they reach the blog’s very last word.

Best practices for conducting industry research as a freelancer

Anyone who has writing and storytelling skills can write a blog. You can show some professional distinction by taking advantage of the best research tools for writers available via modern technology.
The internet is a very advanced tool for researching industries that you are writing about. However, you need to use best practice techniques when conducting online research to be the most efficient and effective.

Techniques for conducting industry research

Producing quality research for topics requires being savvy at two different skills: one, at conducting web searches and, two, at finding credible sources.
When conducting searches, these techniques will make your job easier:

  • Identify specific terms that are unique to your subject.
  • Learn indispensable searchspeak to filter information further:
    • + indicates two or more search items have to be found together
    • – indicates that you want to exclude this in the search
    • “” indicates that a particular term needs to be exact
    • | means OR; the multiple terms in the search can be found together or one at a time
    • site:website URL (e.g., site:www.tempestamedia.com) means that you want to search a particular website. This is usually more efficient than using a website’s in-house search mechanism.
  • Find forums that are discussing your topic.
  • Maximize advanced search options.
  • Don’t hesitate to use another search engine whenever you feel dissatisfied with the amount or quality of information.
  • If all else fails, contact an expert through the phone and set an appointment.

Ways to spot credible sources

Next comes the part when you ensure that your sources are credible. This is a Tempesta Media standard. Authoritative sources with appropriate links make for superior content.
It’s not as daunting as it sounds. The proliferation of misinformation on the web has compelled many institutions to publish guidelines to gauge a source’s trustworthiness:
Get to know what web domains mean:

  • .edu are university websites. The older and more established are usually the most reliable.
  • .gov or .mil are government websites. These are reliable as long as they are not talking politics. Many studies in the U.S. and other countries can also be accessed freely.
  • .com are companies or products.
  • .org are nonprofits or special interest groups. These last two both have their own agenda, but their studies could prove useful if they are verifiable. Additionally, many experts are affiliated with the latter group.

Determine if this site is credible and the information is factual:

  • Check the authors’ credentials. Are they respected by their peers? Have they published similar work recently? Are they associated with special interest groups?
  • Ensure that the study was done less than two years ago. Also, check for contradicting studies that may have already pierced holes in their argument.
  • Ensure that references cited are verifiable. Confirm that the links work. For books, check the library if they contain accurate information attributed to them.
  • In-depth discussions are preferable. Long-form content shows that studies were extensive.
  • Finally, browse through the website. Are articles facts-oriented and bias-free? Is the site highly opinionated? Does it play on emotions? Were time and effort spent on designing the site? Or does it look suspiciously like a fly-by-night venture?

A few obvious best practices:

  • Wikipedia should never be cited as a reference as the authors are not verified and the content isn’t verified
  • Rather than citing an article who cited another article, try to go to the original source
  • Narrow your search to specific keywords and phrases to get the answers you want, more quickly
  • Focus on content that is current, ideally created or updated in the last 2 years

All of the information above is a lot to process. However, these are necessary research tools for writers who want to prosper in their career. Learning to make quick and efficient searches will allow you time to review your work. Plus ensuring your sources are credible will steer you away from embarrassment and make you shine as an authority, too.

Tools for Writers – Grammar and Training Guides for Freelance Writers

There are many apps and tools available to help freelance writers create better content. Here are some recommendations we’ve put together:
Grammarly
Grammarly’s free writing app – available for Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers — makes sure everything you type is easy to read and mistake-free. The add-in enables you to check spelling and grammar on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, and nearly everywhere else you write on the web. Key features include:

  • Contextual spelling checker: Detects correctly spelled words used in the wrong context. You can stop worrying about misusing homophones like lose/loose, affect/effect, lie/lay, there/their/they’re, and many other commonly confused words.
  • Grammar checker: Grammarly can fix hundreds of complex grammatical errors, including subject-verb agreement, article use, and modifier placement, to name just a few.

The basic browser-based add-in is free. The premium app, $12-$30 per month, has many advanced features.
AP Stylebook
The AP Stylebook is an English guide for grammar, punctuation and principles of reporting, including many definitions and rules for usage as well as styles for capitalization, abbreviation, spelling and numerals. Tempesta Media uses AP style for all BrandBuilder and Ghostwritten content.
You can buy the book for $20.95 or get an online subscription for $26 per year.
Tips and Training
The Poynter Institute is a global leader in journalism training. Its website features a very helpful blog filled with writing, grammar and style tips, and it offers a variety of free and paid online courses that you can take at your own pace.
Hemingway Editor
The Hemingway Editor desktop application highlights common problems that get in the way of clear writing – complex words or phrases, overly long sentences, too many adverbs, passive voice – and offers suggestion for solving them. It also allows you to measure readability of your text and to import and export from .docx files. Finally, it contains a set of easy-to-use web formatting tools, including HTML headings, formatting and links.
Readability Test Tool
The Readability Test Tool provides a quick and easy way to test the readability of your work using a variety of readability formulas. You can test all or part of a web page, or simply type in or paste your text for analysis. You’ll get a score for the most used readability indicators: Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease, Flesch Kincaid Grade Level, Gunning Fog Score, Coleman Liau Index, and Automated Readability Index (ARI).
Oxford Dictionaries
These free grammar tips from the venerable Oxford English Dictionary (OED) provide straightforward advice on some of the trickier points of English grammar, from dangling participles and double negatives to comma splices and the subjunctive case.
Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips
Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty, a former science writer who produces an educational blog and podcast, provides this “friendly guide to the world of grammar, punctuation, usage, and fun developments in the English language.”
The Elements of Style
Asserting that one must first know the rules to break them, this classic reference book is a must-have for any conscientious writer. It offers concise explanations of the principal requirements of plain English style and focuses on the rules of usage that are most commonly violated.
Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab
The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University provides writing resources and instructional material on grammar and writing style as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue. The online service can be used by anyone who needs guidance on the finer points of writing.
Common Errors in English Usage
This guide (and accompanying book) by Paul Brians, Emeritus Professor of English at Washington State University, is a useful and fun guide to mixed-up, mangled expressions, foreign language faux pas, confusing terms, and commonly misused words.
Tempesta Media’s editors edit the writing before customers take the first look. Writers with the best quality are offered more paid freelance writing opportunities and can be part of more of our client’s expert writer teams. Apply to write for Tempesta Media.

Examples of how to improve writing by refraining from long and wordy sentences

“Long sentences are not necessarily wordy, nor are short sentences always concise. A sentence is wordy if it can be tightened without loss of meaning.” – Diana Hacker, The Bedford Handbook 2004.

Wordiness makes writing confusing and can be frustrating to the reader. With so munch content, readers have limited time, so content should be concise and to the point. Below are some examples of way to avoid being too wordy.

Redundancy

There is no need to say the same thing over and over again. Instead, focus on avoiding redundancy in your writing.

Redundant: We assess and prioritize each separate incident.
Better: We assess and prioritize each incident.
Redundant: The New York Times is a newspaper that is credible.
Better: The New York Times is credible.
Redundant: Mike, our CFO, is diligent, hardworking and industrious.
Better: Mike, our CFO, is hardworking.

Empty words and phrases

All the words that you use should have a purpose. Here are some examples to demonstrate how you can avoid empty words and phrases.

Wordy: In my opinion, community support workers make a profound impact on the lives of others.
Better: Community support workers make a profound impact on the lives of others.

Wordy: For all intents and purposes, preparedness saves lives as well as businesses.
Better: Preparedness saves lives and businesses.

Wordy: Change is quite unavoidable in any office situation.
Better: Change is unavoidable in any office situation.

Expressions

Expressions can often be said more clearly in another way. The problem with expressions is that they can easily be misinterpreted.

Wordy: His promotion will be delayed until such time as this matter has been resolved.
Better: His promotion will be delayed until this matter has been resolved.

Wordy: The price of the property is in the neighborhood of a million dollars.
Better: The price of the property is about a million dollars.

“There is/are … that” and “It is … that” phrases

Wordy: There are many employees who share your vision.
Better: Many employees share your vision.

Wordy: It is the platform that is the problem.
Better: The platform is the problem.

Passive voice

Passive voice sentences should be modified to active voice.
Wordy: A need for additional training is indicated by these results.
Better: These results indicate a need for additional training.
Wordy: Patients can be empowered by using our software.
Better: Our software empowers patients.

“To be” verbs

“To be” verbs and overused prepositional phrases should be eliminated as they don’t read well.

Wordy: Lack of sleep is bad for your health.
Better: Lack of sleep harms your health.

Wordy: Seniors with diabetes are in need of caregiving services.
Better: Diabetic seniors need caregiving services.
Wordy: In this book are examples of the use of imagery in poetry.
Better: This book includes examples of imagery in poetry.
Even better: This book exemplifies imagery use in poetry.

Always try to say less with more. Your writing will improve and your readers will thank you.

Six common writer mistakes to avoid

“Remember: Mistake is not for mistake; it is for alteration!” – L.A. Golding, Lerkus: A Journey to End All Suffering

Only the writer who is trying to learn from grammatical errors can advance in life, to paraphrase another great quote. If you have been writing for some time and the editor still catches you using their instead of they’re or your instead of you’re, that’s a red flag. Mastery of the basic rules of grammar, punctuation, usage and composition is a requirement if you’re a writer. Making mistakes may be unavoidable, but making repeated mistakes is a no-no.

In this day and age when technology is empowering freelancing, the competition among freelance writers has gone from tough to fierce. To thrive in the writing industry, it’s more important than ever to stay consistently good, strive to be even better or be the best at what you do. This means you cannot afford to deliver anything less than error-free content.

Common errors and how to fix them

If you truly love writing and you want the industry to love you back, you must pay attention to things that affect the quality of every piece of content you create. In this article, we will focus on six common grammar and writing mistakes that journalists, bloggers and freelance writers are still making in 2019 and how to correct them.

1. Wordiness

We took the liberty of publishing an article with suggestions and strategies to improve wordiness in your writing.

2. Not Only … But Also

When using the construction not only … but also in formal writing, writers often forget that presenting the two related pieces of information requires parallelism.

Incorrect: She writes not only thought leadership pieces but has also written SEO articles.
Correct: She writes not only thought leadership pieces but also SEO articles.

Incorrect: When editing, Cris considers not only grammatical correctness but also reviewing the writing style.
Correct: When editing, Cris considers not only grammatical correctness but also writing style consistency.

3. Between … And

Many writers mistakenly combine “between” with “to.” “To” and “and” are not interchangeable in this case.
Incorrect: He weighs between 50 to 60 kilograms.
Incorrect: Life expectancy fluctuated between 30 to 40 years.

Correct: The rate increase more than doubled between 2015 and 2016

Correct: Between 2010 and 2015, the annual outbreaks had ranged between a minimum of 489 in 2011 and a maximum of 2630 in 2014.

4. Compliment vs. Complement
Writers often mix up these two similar words. Make no mistake: Compliment means a praise (noun) or to praise another (verb) while complement means an accompaniment or enhancement or to accompany/enhance/complete another.

Incorrect: In preparation for ACT/SAT, students should set test prep goals using study methods that compliment their unique learning style.

Incorrect: The politician sent his complements to the chef.

Correct: The teacher used strategies that complement her student’s learning style.

Correct: The customer complimented the chef for the scrumptious dish.

5. Semicolon
Writers use this punctuation mark sparingly and often incorrectly.

1. When joining two independent clauses separated by a conjunction (e.g., and, but)

Incorrect: The idea for the seminar may or may not have come from you; but it is your responsibility to rally the team behind it.

Also incorrect: The idea for the seminar may or may not have come from you but it is your responsibility to rally the team behind it.

Correct: The idea for the seminar may or may not have come from you, but it is your responsibility to rally the team behind it.

2. When separating items in a list

Incorrect: I bought bananas; strawberries; and mangoes.

Correct: I bought green, unripe bananas; big, sweet, juicy strawberries; and overripe mangoes.

3. When joining two independent clauses separated by a conjunctive adverb (e.g., however, consequently, accordingly, hence, otherwise, therefore, moreover, thus)

Incorrect: Rowan Atkins started his acting career in London, however, he made his major mark as a YouTube star.

Correct: Rowan Atkins started his acting career in London; however, he made his major mark as a YouTube star.

6. Comma Splice
Using a comma to link two independent clauses results in a comma splice.

Incorrect: Chicago can get bitterly cold in winter, it surprises some tourists.

  • Fix it by adding a conjunction: Chicago can get bitterly cold in winter and it surprises some tourists.

  • Fix it by changing the comma to a semicolon: Chicago can get bitterly cold in winter; it surprises some tourists.

  • Fix it by making separate sentences: Chicago can get bitterly cold in winter. It surprises some tourists.

If you have been making these common grammar and writing faux pas, it’s not too late to correct them. The success of your freelance writing job depends on the quality of your work. Take your writing career to the next level – one error-free article at a time!

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