What do we read right after the headline in any media? What draws our attention? We read the lead. If it is interesting, then we click on the title and read on.
Writing an attractive lead is often even harder than the rest of the article. To ease your artistic suffering somehow and help you to create interesting leads, we have collected all the useful information. Below you can find what a lead is and what are its features, depending on the format of the text.
All formats of text have the general scheme – the introduction, the main part, and the conclusions. Texts on the Internet consist of the title, the lead, and the main part. For convenience, the text may include headings, subheadings, and lists.
The popular text formats are as follows: news, article, press release, native advertising, etc. It is better not to mix and confuse them.
For example, a friendly tone, an appeal to “you,” slang words, neologisms, and memes will not be suitable for a good press release. Meanwhile, they are quite relevant in an advertising post. Any manipulations using emotions are unacceptable in the news report, but native advertising is based on this stuff.
What is the lead and why it is necessary?
After having read the title and opening the article, the reader runs his eyes through the first lines. The author has a few seconds to grab the reader’s attention.
The lead is the first paragraph of the text that directly follows the title. In the classical sense, this is the quintessence of the text. The lead reveals the meaning of the title and briefly describes the subject of the entire article.
How to write a lead for news, press release, informative articles
The Lead should not be too massive. There is no place for unnecessary details, ambiguities, and misleading phrases. Some 2-3 sentences are enough to explain the headline and bring more information.
Writing a lead is quite simple. Several techniques are below:
- Select key phrases from the text and make a couple of sentences using them.
- Answer one of the questions: what, where and when did something happen, who were the participants of the events, why did it happen, and what the outcomes are.
Lead for Native Ads, Text Marketing, E-Mail, SЕО
These formats imply much more creative freedom. Emotions, calls to action, touching stories are quite appropriate here. But to make it working, splendid practice is essential.
Let us consider a couple of ways, beloved by the marketers around the globe:
- The AIDA principle: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA). Every author wants his selling text to attract attention and be read by as many people as possible. To reach this, you require clear knowledge of our readers, what are their interests and concerns. A headline provides attention. The first paragraphs (and the lead) hold interest. Further, depending on the aims of the author, one can force a desire (to get a product) or an action (a motivational article about personal effectiveness).
- The principle Pain – More Pain – Hope – Solution. We describe the problem; we create tension, and gradually introduce the wishful way out. Most advertising applies this principle, and it works flawlessly.
In an ideal world, a text is not a meaningless set of words; it is not grandstanding of the author. A text is a tool that helps to solve the tasks of the author or one’s customer on the one hand and meets the needs of the reader / potential client on the other.
The author understands the format in which he works, uses the tools of the format. The author understands that people will read his text. They like to be entertained, to be interested, to have fun, or they at least understand what it is all about.