In a previous post, I talked about the importance of your opening line and gave four simple ways to write intriguing intros. One of the ideas was to use a question, and I wanted to explore this a little further.
There are different ways of using questions, from the simple to the bold.
Probably the easiest is to ask the question that you go on to answer in your article or blog post. Here are two made up intros to give you an idea:
“How has the pandemic changed demand for offices? There is no doubt that lockdown has forced a reassessment of working practices, but what does that mean for…”
“Will community uses be the key to reviving the high street? With more shopping taking place online, landlords and local authorities are looking for alternative uses to fill vacant retail units…”
But you can get a bit more creative.
A provocative question can be a good way of grabbing attention, for example:
“‘The office isn’t dead’, is the property industry’s refrain – but you would expect them to say that, wouldn’t you? What is the truth behind the state of the office market, post-pandemic?”
Is the call to return to office working more about property industry needs rather than occupier needs?
If you are saying something that people don’t expect to read, it can be an effective way of getting their attention. You can use it to challenge the status quo, interrogate commonly expressed views and demonstrate deeper thinking or a different way of thinking.
Don’t shamelessly chase clicks
Don’t be provocative for the sake of getting clicks; your question needs to be based on something tangible regardless of what you ultimately conclude.
However, you can use a question to present a counterargument in a thoughtful way.
Another idea is to use a rhetorical question to make an interesting opening point. For example:
“Who wouldn’t want Google, Microsoft or Apple leasing their office?”
“Signing up a new tenant for your office space is just the start, isn’t it?”
Again it needs to be relevant to the overall theme of your piece; readers will quickly see through faux attempts to provoke, lose interest and possibly trust.
If you produce a lot of content, don’t overuse questions, or they can lose their power.
But when used the right way, getting creative and being bold with questions in your opening line will help make your content stand out from the B2B content crowd.
Have you used a question in an interesting way in an opening line?
BONUS TIP: Questions can be used in the body of your writing too. For example, you could use a question to transition into a new point.