... is to be utterly predictable.
As my colleague Mark Rovner points out in a recent blog post, “Our brains evolved long ago to strain through the billions of sensory inputs for a few morsels of relevant info. If we can’t eat it, mate with it, or run away from it, we ignore it.”
In other words, if we know what’s coming, and it’s not critical to our survival, we don’t care.
That means you can’t start that appeal with the same old, same old, same old. Your first lines really matter. If they don’t grab you,they don’t matter. I have always spent the most time on the first line of everything I’ve written - from the time I was a journalist to today. That’s time well spent.
Are your first lines fresh? If they aren’t, don’t despair. My favorite writing trick is to delete the first paragraph of any piece of writing. I’ve recommended this for so many organizations. Take look - is it better when you skip the part that was you, warming up? Cut to the chase. The pursuit of what comes next is what keeps us reading.