“A nice quote from a recognizable authority or famous person can… work wonders when holding attention in those crucial opening seconds.”
– Brian Clark, “5 Simple Ways to Open Your Blog Post With a Bang”
If you don’t think Brian was correct, ask yourself this: Why did you read the quote above, and why are you reading this paragraph now? As the Copyblogger himself demonstrates with some regularity, opening your post with a compelling quote is an excellent lead-in to the rest of your material.
Quotes are powerful tools because they draw attention. Readers have been trained to recognize that the text they contain is important. The term “quotable” conveys a sense that the content is succinct and effective, able to engage and summarize a concept in some memorable way. And since anything set apart from the main copy, enclosed in quotes, and properly cited is, by definition, quotable, it must be important to read, or so the reader’s mind infers.
To use the power of quotes in your blogging, you can take two approaches. You can either write a post and go looking for a quote to summarize its content, or you can brainstorm a topic, find a quote, and write the post around it. Brian seems to use a mix of approaches, sometimes discussing the quote at length throughout his post and sometimes touching on it casually in the first paragraph or two. Depending on your content and writing style, you should choose whichever is most effective for you.
Of course, few of us are literary geniuses, so finding a good quote will require some research. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of quote directories out there. Depending on your content, a specialty quote site may be more useful than a general one. If you’re having trouble or you’re not sure, stick to the more reputable quote sites like BrainyQuote, ThinkExist, or QuoteLand.
As with any blogging method, quotes are not to be used arbitrarily. If it enhances your post, include it; if it sounds awkward, don’t. If you’re not sure, get another pair of eyes on the draft before you post it. Used correctly, quotes can lend authority and draw attention to your writing, but they probably don’t belong in every post.