first sentence

Do you want more of your web visitors to turn into qualified leads? Tony Haile, CEO of Chartbeat, analyzed a billion webpage visits and found that 55% of web page visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a page.

If you want your readers to stay longer than 15 seconds, it is imperative that in the first few sentences you quickly:

  1. Pique your reader’s curiosity
  2. Provide proof that you are trustworthy
  3. Sell the benefit of reading your content

Here’s how you can get more people to stay on your page longer and dramatically increase conversions by nailing the first sentence.

Examples of Amazing First Sentences

It’s difficult to find a single source with a variety of great examples of B2B content with amazing first sentences. On the other hand, pick up any popular magazine and you will find a wealth of great first sentence examples.

I picked up Cosmopolitan, People, and Men’s Health, 3 of the top 25 highest selling magazines in the single-copy sales category, meaning that people just bought one issue from their local retailer.

You may or may not think that the quality of content is amazing in these magazines, but it is difficult to argue that these magazines don’t do a great job of pulling people in with their headlines and introductions.

I also added a few of my favorite magazines to the list: Harvard Business Review, The Economist, and Wired. Here are some of the best examples of how to start off a piece of content.

6 Questions You Need to Know How to Use

Few, if any, writing tactics gain a reader’s attention and trigger curiosity more than asking a question. Our brains are hardwired to think of a response to a question faster than we can decide that we don’t want to think of a response.

If someone starts to read a question they will give it attention for at least a moment. If the question resonates, then they might just give you another moment.

Here are 6 types of questions that will make sure your audience spends more than 15 seconds on your next piece of content.

  1. Ask a question about your reader’s problems.

Do you feel like your relationship is in that tricky place between the last major milestone and the next?

  1. Ask a question about your reader’s desire.

Want to maximize sharing of your content on Facebook?


  1. Ask a multiple choice question


Pop quiz: which of these do you agree with?

1. Intelligence is fixed at birth.

2. Some people are creative, and others aren’t.

3. You can become a world-class expert through enough practice, whatever your starting point.

4. You can change your personality.

“If you agreed with the first two statements, you’re coming from a fixed mindset. If you agreed with the second two, you’ve got a growth mindset.”

  1. Ask your audience about a trait they admire about a person, place, or thing.

Looking your best from head to toe is the key to confidence, so how does jewelry designer Lizzie Burns do it?

  1. Ask a controversial question.

Can tying her down free her up?


  1. Ask a question that arouses one’s curiosity.

Want to know the surprising thing? If you save the relationship, you’ll save your own ass as well.

6 Promise Statements that will Keep Your Audience Reading

I prefer to use questions to kickoff my content, but sometimes your title is in the form of a question and you need to sell why your reader should continue to read your content. Your audience has a number of choices in what they could spend their time doing, if you want to be sure they spend some of that time reading your content, you should focus on telling them what they can expect to gain.


1. Promise to help your audience meet a goal.

Here’s how to connect with your audience beyond the bookstore.

2. Promise to make your audience’s life simpler and better.

Transform a classic exercise into a total body muscle-builder with this complete guide to the most important move for men.

3. Promise to give your audience something they crave.

Prepare your palate for the best sloppy joe you’ve tasted.


4. Clarify who your promise is for.

Shed the fat you want to lose—for good—with these man-tested tactics.


5. Promise your audience that they are missing key information and your article will give it to them.

You can count calories all you want; until you know these 6 key facts, they won’t add up.

6. State your audience’s goal and promise to provide them with the key to reaching it.

If you want to keep growing as a leader, ask yourself these key questions.


5 Sources of Trust You Must Provide

I truly believe that you and your company are trustworthy, but unfortunately, most people that stumble upon your content don’t know who you are and won’t be sure if they can trust you. Providing statistics, research, case studies, and quotes from trusted resources will help people decide that you are a credible source.


1. Provide a surprising fact from a notable study.

Harvard study finds that exposure to air pollution may affect the size of your brain.


2. Provide a helpful fact from a notable study.

According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eggs could help protect you from type 2 diabetes.

3. Provide curiosity about a notable study.

Yale doctoral candidate Matthew Fischer asked people a series of questions that seemed answerable but were actually difficult.


4. Associate with a person, place, or thing your audience admires.

You may not know Alice Vandy’s name, but you’ve definitely seen her designs on everyone from Rita Ora to Little Miz – and even My Little Ponies!

5. Provide an example of a person, place, or thing your audience admires.

In the years leading up to 2009, Intel tried a number of popular approaches to tame its soaring healthcare costs.

The Best 15 Words You Can Use

Subheadings are similar to titles, so you should try to use the same tactics you use to write titles when you are writing headlines. That includes using the top 15 words we covered in article, 15 Most Shared Words in Headlines & Titles: from Analyzing 1 Million Articles.

  1. Numbers (in number form)
  2. You
  3. What
  4. Will
  5. How
  6. Why
  7. Best
  8. New
  9. Science
  10. Should
  11. Know
  12. vs.
  13. Never
  14. Free
  15. Stop


How to Combine All 3 to Get the Best Results

In the beginning, we demonstrated that if you want your readers to stay on your page for longer than 15 seconds, it is imperative that in the first few sentences you quickly:

  1. Pique your reader’s curiosity
  2. Provide proof that you are trustworthy
  3. Sell the benefit of reading your content

By combining the tactics demonstrated in the fifteen examples above, you can meet all of these requirements in the first two sentences and title. Use the strongest of the three for your title, the next best sentence for your first sentence, and close the deal with the second sentence.

The order doesn’t matter. Sometimes it makes sense to start your title with a question and sometimes it makes more sense to start your title with a promise statement. Just make sure that between your title and introduction you use all three tactics.