15If You Take a Running Start, Cover Your Tracks

At the beginning of a piece, many of us take too long to delve into the topic. We offer too much setup and background. In other words, we take a metaphorical running start on the page—before getting to the real starting point.

It's a great way to warm up to a topic, and I do it all the time. But in most cases I go back and erase the running start, covering my tracks completely and getting to the key point more directly.

One of my professors in college used to routinely lop off the first paragraph or two from our essays. Usually that barely affected the meaning—but greatly improved that first impression I talk about elsewhere here.

Try it with the next piece you write: Can you trim the start, or lop it off completely? Does doing that help the reader get into the heart of things more quickly?

Take a look at an example from MarketingProfs. Here are the unedited first few paragraphs of a submission we received recently about using YouTube to market a business:

Simultaneous to the modern boom of Web 2.0 and along with the rise of social media, companies have projected their presence by utilizing social media giants (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) in attempts to market their businesses.

And while companies have seen much success in tapping the vein of reaching the masses through the few quintessential social networks, only a fraction have explored the option of YouTube marketing.

Let's take a look at the facts.

YouTube is not only the ...

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