“The doctor cleared his throat. ‘I’m sorry, but I have bad news.’
He paused, looking down at the floor. He looked back up at her. He started to say something and then stopped, looking back down at the floor.
That’s when Pat began to cry.”
Jon Morrow wrote that opening section on one of the most popular blog posts of all time at Copyblogger.com.
After reading that section you’re probably wondering, “What in the world is going on with Pat and this doctor? Why is she crying? What’s the bad news?”
Jon’s opening for this post immediately creates open loops in the reader’s mind. 10s of thousands of people were compelled to read the post, comment on the post and share the post because of the open loops it created with those few opening lines.
When you create open loops in someone’s mind it’s like an itch that has to be scratched.
The reason why open loops are so powerful is because it plays on people’s curiosity and the desire to know what happens next.
Also known as the Zeigarnik effect.
Open loops are used all the time in soap operas and many late night TV shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The Flash and many more.
Just think of all of the season finales you’ve watched over the years. The hero has her back to the wall and it looks like she’s doomed. There’s nowhere else to go. What is she going to do? She’s looking around frantically but the zombies are everywhere and there’s no place to run.
The screen goes dark and all you see next is, “Tune in next season…”
That open loop is why so many people love watching TV shows. We love suspense, and we can’t stand it when we don’t know what’s going to happen next.
Leveraging these Loop Formulas below for your email subject lines is a great way to help you get more opens and more engagement.
When creating open loops make sure you close them or else you run the risk of upsetting a bunch of people. Use responsibly.
FYI + [The Missing Piece]
- FYI…There’s more
- FYI I messed up – Big time
[Incomplete Statement] + …
- A web developer walks into a bar…
- I yelled, “Stop!” She turned around and…
- The biggest thing to happen to podcasting since…
[Something Cool] + For You
- A free gift for you
- Jared, letter for you.
- We made a fun video for you