The Importance of the Opening Paragraph and the Accompanying Image

My colleague Talat Chaudhri recently published a blog post which asked “Why should universities care about identifiers?” I was aware of the post while Talat was in the process of writing it and was very pleased when I noticed that it had been published.

It was, however, when I spotted the post when it appeared in one of the personalised newspapers I used that I appreciated the skill of Talat’s opening paragraph and the image he used to accompany the post.

The opening paragraph began:

Imagine that you are a senior manager in an institution within the UK Higher Education sector with responsibilities for research: you have read some basic details about unique researcher identifiers and perhaps institutional identifiers. However, it may not be immediately apparent just how important these issues are, which may seem on the face of it to be a relatively superficial and/or trivial organisational matter.

This, I felt, encouraged the reader to read more, and click on the link to the full article. In addition, as can be seen from the accompanying image, an attractive image accompanied the post, which helped to differentiate it from the many other posts on the page.

Sometimes I hear people talk about the importance of attractive PDF designs which aim to encourage reading. A problem with that approach is that there is only one view of the report. As described in a previous post images in blog posts can enhance the user’s experience across a wide range of personalised newspaper services such as Pulse, Flipboard and Zite. This can provide a greater range of dissemination channels to reach the intended audiences, as well as providing the audiences with the flexibility to choose their preferred environment for reading such reports.

But as suggested in the title of this post, blog authors will need to give thought to the opening paragraph for a blog post, and images which can be used to complement the post. In addition, it will probably be useful to summarise a post or a report in a Twitter-friendly fashion. For this report you could use the opening line (which may happen if you use an auto-tweeting service):

Imagine you are a senior manager in an institution within the UK HE sector with responsibilities for research:

Although my preference is for a human-crafted summary, such as the one Talat used to announce the report:

Why should universities care about identifiers? Review on UKOLN’s Technical Foundations blog:

It seems blogs and Twitter are turning us into headline writers as well as picture editors. And if you don’t feel you have the expertise to make your make use of visual imagery the Hubspot Inbound Internet Marketing blog provides some suggestions on six creative ways to make your content more visual.

Twitter conversation via Topsy: [View]


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