10 Successful Article Templates You Can Steal

While The Huffington Post does not dictate that your article should follow any particular template, we've noticed that certain types of articles consistently do well on the site.

And although what separates these various types is primarily about the opening, i.e. the article's introduction, this often sets the mold, or at least the tone, for the entire piece.

We believe that you'll increase your chances of success if your article follows one of these templates.

So for each of the ten types below, we explore what they are, why they're effective and give real examples of them in use taken from The Huffington Post.

But before we dive into that, let's briefly look at why openings are so important.

The Importance of Beginnings

Next to your headline, the opening is the most important piece of your article.

This is because if readers are not drawn in by the opening of your article, most likely they'll stop reading altogether.

So you want to capture the eye of a Huffington Post Editor and later, their readers, you must master the art of writing a strong article opening.

To hook your readers from the beginning (and make your article stand out from the rest) study the following 10 article types. Each has a distinctive opening style, and each has been picked from the Huffington Post's most popular posts.

Type #1: Bold Claim

Bold Claim Openings are typically succinct, undaunted statements or assertions that something is factual or true (even though it may or may not be). Whether founded on opinions, personal experience, or research-based evidence, the adamant nature of Bold Claim Openings keeps them from straddling the fence.  

Stating a bold claim early in your post increases engagement because it captures the reader’s attention and compels them to decide where they stand. Whether they find themselves nodding in agreement with you, lingering in neutral territory or standing in firm opposition to you, they will continue reading to support, consider or dispute your bold claim.

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Type #2: Confrontational

Confrontational Openings are written to force readers out of their comfort zones, making it difficult for them to ignore the specific situation or issue the writer set out to address in the article. Antagonistic in nature, Confrontational Openings are designed to provoke. They can be sarcastic, angry, or written using a gentler, less volatile approach.

Faced with confrontation, people tend to react defensively; it's hard to do otherwise when another's strong opinions fly in the face of your own. But when you skillfully write a Confrontational Opening, your readers may passionately disagree but still be unable to resist reading further to see how you substantiate your position.

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Type #3: Controversial

Controversial Openings, while not directly fired at specific individuals, tackle society's most divisive topics (considered taboo in some company) or go against accepted wisdom. Regardless of the approach, they guarantee significant public dispute or debate. These openings are direct and intentionally challenging, sometimes even caustically sarcastic

People love a good controversy, even when it makes them mad - especially so. When you appear unafraid to step on a few toes, you'll attract vocal defenders and detractors. Either way, a Controversial Opening, when it reaches the right audience, has the potential to go viral.

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Type #4: Empathy

Empathy Openings have the potential to resonate with readers in a more powerful way than any other type of article opening. An Empathy Opening liberally uses the word "you" to connect with the reader, making them feel like you are speaking directly to them - almost to the point of reading their mind.

Writing with empathy is a way to establish common ground. It grabs your readers and pulls them in. Once your readers believe you understand and care for them, they begin to trust you and are more likely to engage in comments and consider sharing your article with others.

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Type #5: Open Letter

Open Letter Openings are written to address specific people or at times, large groups or organizations, but in every instance, they are published for anyone and everyone to see. An Open Letter may be a rant or a critique, but it can just as easily be a public love letter of encouragement or praise.   

People are naturally curious, and the personal yet public nature of an Open Letter attracts readers as it is often too irresistible for them to pass up. With a place in nearly every blogging niche, Open Letters tend to gain attention and become more widely circulated when they touch a nerve, so be aware they can be as divisive as they are popular.

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Type #6: Problem

Problem Openings start by stating a problem that readers within their targeted audience may relate to and want answers for, and then, following up with solutions in the body of the article. Similar to Question Openings (sometimes even written as questions), the Problem Opening is more serious in nature, and by default, more solution focused.   

Problems are unavoidable distractions. Every single day people face countless problems (from big to small) in their personal and work lives. When you successfully highlight and then, provide answers or steps to eliminate these specific distractions prominent to your blog niche, you become an invaluable resource.

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Type #7: Question

A Question Opening is, on the surface, as simple as it sounds - asking a question at the start of an article. Questions necessitate answers, which means inserting a question into your article's introduction is an effective way to grab your reader's attention from the start.  

Of course, not just any question will do. You need a question that compels readers to consider (and possibly identify with) whatever topic you've chosen to address within your article; only then will they continue reading for your answer. Question Openings are a powerful way to stop your readers' lightweight skimming, so they'll dig in, and actively engage with your content.

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Type #8: Quote

Quote Openings, when wisely selected, attributes the writer with a measure of the same credibility of the person they quoted. The quotes go ahead of the writer's article, providing a measure of validity for the content that follows that the writer might not otherwise have.

Because writers use Quote Openings to piggyback off the words of another - usually someone famous or at least, widely known - it makes it easier for readers to trust them. The assumption being that if the reader shares the same affinity for the quoted person as the writer, the reader may also resonate with what the writer has to say.

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Type #9: Shock

Shock Openings are strategically written to provoke sharp (usually negative) reactions like anger, fear or disgust. Because of their extreme nature, Shock Openings are attention-grabbers and will break through the "clutter" of other content.

Coupling a Shock Opening with a strong headline is a powerful formula for generating traffic. When faced with a situation or news they least expected, readers react - and that reaction has the potential to go viral. In some cases, readers may be upset, have difficulty believing, or don't want to believe what you wrote. On the other hand, your Shock Opening may lead to deeper sharing of even more shocking truths.

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Type #10: Story

Story Openings vary widely - from imaginary and entertaining accounts of events, juicy gossip or rumors, actual news, or even a retelling of an event in someone's life.  Throughout history, people have told stories - whether oral or written - as a means of exchanging ideas and relating to one another.

Stories are effective because we’re surrounded by them (movies, books, real events) and almost hard-wired to respond to them. We have an intuitive understanding of how stories work and find it easy to digest information presented in that form. Great stories are universal and timeless - we find them almost irresistible.

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