Do or die!

The first paragraph of your direct mail letter, email, Facebook ad, landing page, digital ads, video script, TV commercial, brochure or other advertising material is one of the most critical elements to your success or failure.

You must grab your reader’s attention immediately.

In one or two lines – maybe even a few words – you must create suspense or drama … or introduce something unexpected. More importantly, it must persuade your reader that it’s in their best interest to keep reading, listening, or watching.

Remember, your objective is to demand and attract the interest of the reader. It’s not to set the groundwork for understanding the sales proposition.


Here are the 8 rules to follow when crafting your first paragraph …


  1. Make it dramatic, interesting, and surprising. Not predictable or ordinary.
  2. Be clear it’s directed to your target audience. Leave no room for doubt.
  3. Focus on the reader’s self-interest. Not yours.
  4. Keep the paragraph short.
  5. Keep the sentences short.
  6. Keep your words short.
  7. Use “you” to involve the reader.
  8. Make your message personal, from one person. Then build that one-on-one relationship throughout the piece.

Regularly evaluate any advertising efforts. When you do, start with your lead paragraph. Does it match the style and flavor of these 8 rules?


Here are a few first paragraphs we’ve crafted for our clients …


  • Imagine ranking in 58.84% average returns over 3 years when the S&P 500 is pulling only 18.01%

Subscribers to Motley Fool Stock Advisor have done exactly that.

  • Malpractice premiums are outrageous! But at least they protect you from today’s out-of-control lawsuits, right?

Not necessarily.

  • Your cost of living in California is a staggering 30% higher than other states. Why? Because of the heaviest taxation and regulations in the country.
  • 23 years ago, I took a trip that I have regretted my entire life …

What happened, you may ask? Let me tell you …

How do you think we stack up against our 8 rules?

To have powerful copy, your first paragraphs need power intros … like the ones above.

Let me critique your first paragraph (and copy) for free. Call me on 615.814.6633 or email me at