Article summaries are often essential for drawing readers in and getting your article an audience. Here’s how you can write a successful article summary with only 5 sentences – or less.
The First and Last Line are Paramount
Ideally, your first and last lines would be the most powerful. In fact, they should form a complete idea by themselves. All the stuff in the middle is just to show the reader the style of the article, so that they can basically judge whether or not they will enjoy reading the article.
Take a normal, 5 sentence article summary like this one:
“Most marketers will know that social media is one of the most powerful tools for advertising a product in the modern day. It’s something that nearly everyone uses, nearly every day. Where better to try and build an audience for your brand? Not everyone knows the secrets of really effective social media marketing, however. Whether you are a social media expert or a complete newbie, these tips will help you turn this tool to your advantage.”
Compress that right down to the first and last sentences, you get:
“Most marketers will know that social media is one of the most powerful tools for advertising a product in the modern day. Whether you are a social media expert or a complete newbie, these tips will help you turn this tool to your advantage.”
Both of them work as summaries. The first line is the bait and the last line is the hook. Put them together and you can reel in a fish.
Address a Problem
So, your first line is the bait. For it to really make an impact, the first line needs to be addressing the problem that the reader has. This is what’s going to make them read on further into the summary, and hopefully click through to read the full article.
You can structure the first line in many different ways, but it must always address a problem. For example:
– Do you have trouble keeping your plants alive and thriving?
– Depression is a very serious mental illness, and it can feel overwhelming.
– How good is your grammar?
You can easily see the problem that each article is going to try to solve from those examples above. That’s how it should be. When the reader is looking for articles on ‘how to keep plants alive’, they’ll spot your article and see that the first line is addressing their problem. Boom! They’re interested.
Keep it Short and Interesting
I demonstrated above how you can take out all the middle chunk of a summary and still have it make sense. Well, sometimes, it’s better if you do just that. If your entire paragraph can be brought down to two sentences and still achieve its purpose, go ahead and cut it. All that extra text is unnecessary and may make the reader feel like the word-to-fact ratio is out of balance.
If your middle sentences are doing that, great! You can leave them. Just remember, every single sentence needs to be something that draws the reader in. That’s the goal.