Thursday, May 22, 2008

Online Dating Tips - The Opening Paragraph!

Online dating profile tips are great and profile writing help for internet dating is easy to give...

But if someone doesn’t read your whole profile, what’s the point? Today, we’re going to focus right down on the opening paragraph, and how to build it so the reader gets sucked into your profile.

We start with a question:

Hey Mr. Online Casanova
I’ve been following your newsletter and advice for a while now and finally bought the Online Casanova book last week. Totally awesome. Each chapter was like a giant “aha!” moment! The strategies you gave me let me look at online dating in a whole new light, and I’ve re-written my profile from scratch.

One question for you though, in Online Casanova you talk a lot about representing your masculine value, and creating images. I think I’ve nailed the masculine value, but not sure really how to wok in images. Can you take a look at my profile and give me some feedback? Just want to make sure I’m on the same track.

Berle, Vancouver, Canada

“It’s a beautiful day, skies are blue, and birds are chirping. I hope you find yourself in an equally good mood. So who am I? I come from a long line of white water rafters. My family has a tour company up in ******. While I work as a writer in the city most of the year, I take the summers off to go work as a guide on their boats. Yes I get some crazy pleasure out of pushing the boat past its limits, and watching tourists hang on for dear life!”
***Note: for space, I’ve just included the first paragraph*** -Dylan

***MY REPLY***

For starters, thanks for buying the book, and thanks for writing. It’s always good to get feedback. Sure, I’d love to take a look at your profile, but for the sake of length in the newsletter, I’m only going to tackle the first paragraph here.

I’m glad to see you were paying attention, you’ve certainly got a way better opener than most people write. You write “in character”, presenting some personality, and speaking to the reader directly. You also display a very interesting slice of your life, one that most outdoorsy types will jump at (hell, I think it’s pretty cool too!) You also display a family connection, which is very important, and some very masculine traits too (guiding, keeping people safe, etc...)

So what is missing from this opening paragraph? As you suspected... images. Images are critically important in your profile because they give the reader a visual representation of what you are talking about.


Images also make a connection to the subconscious that triggers emotional reactions, creating... gasp... feelings!

For anyone who hasn’t read Online Casanova, there is an entire chapter just for creating feelings through images. Check it out at:

Back to Berle’s profile!
Besides images, there are a few other changes I’d make. First, I’d trim the fat just a little, as your profile doesn’t really take the reader anywhere until about the fourth sentence. Remember, reading your profile should be like a great road trip, every stop should bring new and exciting things. Never stand still fluffing it along.

And finally, I’d dose it with a little humor. Humor is critical in the first paragraph. If you can make someone laugh at the start, they will read everything you write, wanting more. They will also be more receptive to your words, as you’ve altered their emotional state for the better.

So let me take a little shot at re-writing the opening paragraph.

Headline: “Skies are Blue, Birds are Chirping, and the Water is White and Roaring!”


“Wait, let me explain the white water!
My parents have a white water rafting company up in ******, and rafting has been in our family for generations. While I thrive in the heart of downtown as a writer during the dark parts of the year, I take the summers off to head up into the mountains to work as a guide on the family boats. Every weekend from June to August, you’ll find me between the oars of a giant yellow raft, a dozen city slickers hanging on for dear life, like ants on a stick, as I slam us all through white waves high over our heads. Do I get some twisted thrills out of scaring them? Absolutely! But they keep coming back... and I haven’t lost a single one... this week!”

So what did I do differently?
- First, I started with a headline that reflects the topic of the first paragraph. You want to keep everything flowing, and flowing from the headline into the profile will certainly help readers keep paying attention.

- The first line “Wait, let me explain...” is to get their curiosity. If you tells the readers “pay attention, because something cool is coming!” ...they will.

- I cut away everything and just jumped into the opening topic of rafting, just to keep it flowing quickly.

- I’ve kept everything about the family and guiding but tossed a few extra descriptive words in there, like “thrive in the heart of downtown” to give a value adding twist, “generations” for adding depth to the family and “dark parts of the year” for adding mood and contrast.

- I added a big descriptive sentence about rafting, being between the oars on a yellow raft, ants on a stick, white waves overhead, etc.. These visuals are short but very strong, and really help the reader picture and remember you.

-Finally, I added a dose of humor in the last line. “haven’t lost anyone... this week!” While it isn’t laugh out loud funny, it’s good for a smile and lets the reader know you have a sense of humor.

And that’s how you write a solid opening paragraph that draws readers in... and keeps them there! Back that up with 4 more paragraphs that display value, create connections, build comfort, and you’re pretty much guaranteed a full inbox of emails every day.

If you’ve gotten some value out of this, take a minute to go check out my website:
It has resources and articles on online dating that are leaps and bounds above the normal cheap advice you get for free on MSN and other “advice sites” that just rehash the same old boring rules. You can also preview chapters from my ebook there as well!

That’s it for today.


Dylan Alexander

PS. Don’t forget to take my Online Dating Aptitude Test here:


Shirley said...
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