I may have yelled a four-letter word or two. My blood pressure sprang up a few points.
My anger got the best of me as I stepped on the gas of my car. The speedometer reached seventy-seven mph before I regained my composure.
“How could I be so stupid?” I said out loud (even though I was alone).
Getting Out Of A Routine
Each morning I go through a routine. Between waking up and getting in my car for my commute I complete fourteen steps. Each morning I’ll do each step in the same order.
Today, something broke me out of my routine. I’m not quite sure what did it. By the time I realized what happened, there was no turning back.
As I drove down the highway, I grabbed my coffee thermos. Then I realized my flub.
I left my coffee in our family room. I nearly lost my sh*t. Skipping your morning coffee can do that.
I regained my composure after letting out my frustration. Speeding down a busy highway left me no choice.
The Silver Lining
The mishap turned out to be a benefit. It reminded me of the importance of breaking up your audience’s routine or pattern. When your reader opens up your article, sales letter or any other material they expect it to follow a certain pattern.
By following an expected routine something unfortunate happens. They forget you. You blend in with all the other stuff that looks, feels and reads the exact same way.
Do something different. Stand out. Write something they don’t expect. Those are the kinds of things they’ll remember.
Do you write white papers? Don’t open up with facts, figures or boring jargon. Open up with something shocking. Tell a story. Even calling it something different helps you stand out. Call it a white-ish paper or forbidden insights. Pick something nobody else uses. Once you label it you own it.
Come Out With Guns Blazing
A former mentor of mine once gave me great advice. Boring openings kill ALL content. Always come out with guns blazing. I love the analogy. It reminds me to always make sure my opening shocks, thrills or agitates.
Stuck with a bad opening?
First, always open in the middle of the action. Forget the setup. Start in the middle like I did in this article. I started with “yelling an expletive” and came back to the morning routine later.
If you’re stuck, keep these three things in mind. They make your openings better.
Three Tricks To A Killer Opening
Open with something shocking
What would they never expect to hear? What would surprise the heck out of them? Ask yourself these two questions as you assemble your opening. You need to know your audience in order to make this work.
Open with something revealing
Reveal something about yourself or your business. It must be something most others keep to themselves.
Open with something controversial
Lots of social media personalities tend to abuse this technique. They stir things up just to get attention. It still works. Even flimsy attempts to create controversy generate buzz.
I cannot recall the last any of the last twenty commutes. They were all the same. They all blend in together. I’ll remember today for quite some time. The day I forgot my coffee will stand out.