How to Write a Lead

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When writing a lead story, try to capture the attention of the reader within the first two sentences. Write a lead story with tips from an author in this free video on writing techniques.

Part of the Video Series: Writing Lessons
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Video Transcript

Hi everybody. I'm John Graden. I'm a professional speaker, trainer and the author of seven books, including "The Impostor Syndrome." How do you write a good lead for a story or an article? I have published magazines. I've been a writer for many magazines and, obviously, I've written a lot of books. The key to writing a good lead is to hook that reader in with that lead. So, a lead is the first sentence or two of the story. So, I try to use that to make an emotional connection with my reader. Typically, if I'm writing a story, that may be filled with facts and more intellectual material, I'm going to try and distill that down to something that really makes it relevant to the reader and I'll put that in the lead. So, for instance, hypothetically, we're talking about, okay, unemployment is on the rise in this city. I will lead off with maybe a little mention of unemployment, but then I'll tie it right into how this family is not sure they're going to be able to get gifts for their children this Christmas. So, I'm taking the basic statistical facts of a story and then humanizing it and making an emotional connection with the reader. That may have been a little bit more of a depressing example, but that's typically how you'll see a lead used in a news story. So, the lead, I like, I think of it more as a hook, I want to make an emotional connection with my reader that compels them to continue to read. I also want to try and convey benefits for them to continue to read as well. What is the payoff for investing time in reading this article? So, I'm going to let them know what they're going to learn quickly and how it's going to help them in their lives. Those are just a few ideas of how to write a good lead for your story. I'm John Graden. I hope that helps. Thanks.


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