I unlocked and opened the door, took one step into thetownhouse, and came eye-to-eye with a golden retriever.
He beckoned me to join him for a game of fetch or bellyrubs, looking hopefully at me with his dopey, golden retriever smile. But the situation was not right.
I turned around, closed and locked the door, and walkedaway, realizing only later how close I came to embarrassment, incarceration, or death.
Did I get your attention?
Now, what can we learn from this?
The First Line
The golden retriever story (a true one, by the way) came tomind when I saw a LinkedInpost from Deano Sutter,who clearly understands storytelling. The first line of his post were this:
“I officially am 47 and live with my mom.”
What’s great about this line, and I hope my golden retrieverintro, is that it gets your attention. It draws you in and all but forces you to read his post, which is a bit scrolly.
Despite that, his post has garnered Mr. Sutter some4,000-plus comments and at least one new follower (me).
To be sure, the entire post is well-written, tells a storythat’s gripping, human, and emotional, and has a clear, compelling message. It just goes to show what good storytelling can do on a platform like LinkedIn, which is overflowing with content that’s not always interesting.
But I dare say that if the first line wasn’t interesting,the results would be very different.
Focus Your Efforts Here
Conventional wisdom might tell you that, when crafting aLinkedIn post, a speech, a blog post, a video script, or any piece of content in which you hope to sell something or make a commercial claim, you should lead with the customer benefit.
I don’t think that’s true, at least not in every case. Ifgetting the audience’s attention is paramount (and when isn’t it?), then a well-crafted opening line is critical.
So for your next LinkedIn post, think about your openingline. Can you create a sense of mystery or intrigue? Can you use humor or some obscure reference that piques the reader’s interest?
The goal is to get the reader to want to keep reading.
After that, the rest of the content doesn’t even have to bethat good. I mean, it should be somewhat good and have clear value for the reader or audience, as well as have a clear payoff or call to action.
But if you can’t get the audience’s attention, the qualityof the rest of your message doesn’t really matter.
It will take a bit of practice, and you won’t get it rightevery time. But if you put in a little extra effort to make your opening line irresistible, you’ll start to notice results.