Many of us spend ages trying to think of a brilliant introduction to our blogs and that’s absolutely the right thing to do.
A good intro will grab the reader’s attention, making them want to read on. If your intro is dull, irrelevant or confusing, they probably won’t bother to go any further.
But few of us give much thought to the ending of an article or blog. I teach journalism and I often find that inexperienced journalists just don’t know how or when to stop. Some of them come to the end of what they are saying and then just abruptly “put their pen down.” Others write a conclusion, like you would in an academic essay. And some students simply repeat what they have already written, which is a bit of a waste of time and paper/screen space.
A good ending is really important. Round your article off well and you will leave your reader satisfied and wanting to come back and read more of your work.
Journalists call this the “pay off”. A pay off is an ending that rounds off what you are saying in a way that makes it clear that it’s the end.
When I was writing for women’s magazines, I’d be mentally looking out for a pay off when I was doing the interview. So if, for instance, a woman had had twins twice said: “I still think I want another baby – just one next time, mind!” then I’d store it away as something good to end on. I’d make sure I didn’t address the issue of future babies higher up in the copy, so it would come as a bit of a surprise to the reader. It would also be an upbeat way to end the article.
You can use this technique whatever you are writing. You can aim to go back to the beginning, to give the blog post/editorial/article/press release a “circular” feel.
For instance, imagine you’re writing about Sally, a businesswoman who had her “eureka” moment while sitting on Brighton beach looking out to sea. That could be your intro and you’d then need a few paragraphs talking about Sally and her product. But how are you going to end it? A good pay off could be something like this:
“Sally’s never been back to Brighton beach since. But she knows exactly where to go when she wants inspiration to expand her product range…”
So work on your endings and make them as important as your openings. It could be the beginning of the end of one of your big writing problems.