Len Williams

Freelance Writer

Category: Businesses

How to write a blog intro – 7 useful hooks for business blogging

You have done the research into your topic. You have ordered your points into a logical structure. And you have a good idea of how will end your blog. But you’ve run into an obstacle – how are you going to start writing the thing? 

Many people find writing an introduction one of the hardest parts of producing content. A less-than-compelling introduction can immediately turn readers off and means they may not read the rest of what you have to say. And that means all the effort you put into producing corporate blogs goes to waste! 

The good news is that there are plenty of easy writers’ tricks to get your blog going. So, let’s look at how to write a blog intro – I have put together several kinds of hooks that writers use all the time to draw readers in. I’ve also provided examples of how they might be used in different industries.  

7 tips on how to write a blog intro 

The following seven methods can be applied in any industry or medium – you just need to tailor them to your subject. So, here are my tips on how to write a blog intro with examples from different kinds of business: 

1. Set the scene 

Setting the scene can be a very useful way of starting an article. Describe a particular scenario or event which relates to your topic. This gets the reader immediately interested as they start imagining the scene unfold. I recently used just this technique when describing the experience of eating plant-based meat for a finance publication.  

Example of how to write a blog intro for an accountancy business: 

“Sweat is rolling down your brow. Your heart is palpitating. Your palms are moist. Why? It’s time to file your VAT return and you can’t seem to find all of your receipts.” 

2. Ask the reader to imagine something

Tell the reader to picture a memory, image or hypothetical scenario which leads into the rest of your article. Again, this method gets the mind working and the reader will be unlikely to walk away! I used this technique a couple of years ago to describe the notion of a 6-hour workday

Example of how to write a blog intro for an IT support company: 

“Imagine you come into the office one morning to discover none of your computers will turn on.” 

3. Ask a question

Do you know why it’s impossible to ignore a question? Ask someone a question and they’ll almost always feel the need to find out the answer – it’s like a mental itch that won’t disappear until it’s ‘scratched’. Here’s how I used this technique in a blog last year.  

Example of how to write a blog intro for a food business: 

“Do you know how long you can leave cooked meat in the fridge?” 

Woman looking ponderous

4. Hit them with an amazing fact or figure

Extraordinary facts or huge figures are a great way of getting a reader interested. Can you tell them something that surprises, amazes, shocks or scares them? Incredible facts and figures open people’s eyes – and they’ll inevitably want to read on and find out more. I did this in an engineering magazine article, showing how cement is humanity’s most-produced item.  

Example of how to write a blog intro for a higher education institute: 

“By the end of 2019, more than 20% of the world’s population will have completed a degree of some kind” (I just made this number up for illustrative purposes!). 

5. Find a powerful quote

Using quotes can be an effective way of starting a blog, although do so with care – you don’t want to come across as cliched. Readers might also find it a bit distasteful if you use a quote from Gandhi to sell them some product or another! 

Ideally it would be a quote from someone at your organisation, a person you interviewed or from one of your customers. I recently wrote a piece about fintech which began with a quote from one of my interviewees that encapsulated the topic at hand.  

Example of how to write a blog intro for a waste treatment business: 

“’It makes me sick to see how much rubbish I produce’ said Mary Jones, a local teacher, shocked by the annual waste measurement system at our Exeter facility”.  

6. Address the problem directly

It’s not necessarily the most imaginative approach, but addressing your customer’s problem directly gets you right to the heart of the matter fast. Seeing their problem described will make the reader feel that you empathise with them and there’s a good chance they will decide to read on. Here’s an example from my blog of just this approach – if a little jazzed up.  

Example of how to write a blog intro for a physiotherapist: 

“Lower back pain can ruin your day and leave you feeling miserable. The good news is that there are tons of things you can do to manage it”.  

7. Describe a trend

People are constantly seeking out new information about the world around them. If you can describe an interesting new trend or technology, most people will want to learn more so that they feel informed. I used this approach for a BBC article about a new form of public transport. 

Example of how to write a blog intro for an import/export services business: 

“Import/export businesses are finally catching up with the digital revolution. Over the past year, we’ve noticed ever more customers using mobile apps to manage shipping and logistics…” 

Knowing how to write a compelling blog intro is essential if you want to keep people reading your content and learning more about your company. By using some of the techniques described above, you can hook your audience in and keep them reading till the end! 

I help companies like yours write blogs and other content. Contact me today to talk about your content marketing strategy.  

What hair tells you about here: the wig shops of Finsbury Park

One of the best ways to understand a place, is to understand its shops. The shops tell you what’s important to the people who live in that place. Where I live now, my local shop is part of the Costcutter franchise. Inside, you find all the things you’d normally expect in a local shop – milk, bread, jam, cucumbers, peppers, salt, a range of detergents, olive oil, dustpans and brushes, tea. Things like that. Things people need in their day to day. Tellingly, in the fridges you also find a lot of halloumi, feta cheese, Cypriot yoghurt. It tells you what people in the area are like, what they want, what they need, what they like to spend their money on.

I used to live in Finsbury Park, a place in north London. As I’d make my way around the area – whether it was going to buy milk or tea or jam, or going to a pub or getting a haircut or going to meet someone or anything like that, I would often walk down Stroud Green Road, which starts just by Finsbury Park station and goes west to Crouch End. One shop on that road – in fact it’s a series of shops on both sides of the road which has expanded and absorbed four or five storefronts on the street – is a place called Pak’s.

Pak’s is a chain of cosmetics stores founded in Finsbury Park (there’s an outlet where I live now, too). With names like Wig World and Hair Centre, it’s pretty obvious what they’re all about. Step in from the street and you find shelves of mannequin heads lining the walls. Empty faced, they wear a huge array of black, brunette, blonde and multi-coloured wigs of every length and tone.

Wigs in a window

Some wigs in a Pak’s window

Aimed primarily at a black clientele, the stores sell real and synthetic wigs, relaxers, extensions, shampoos and pretty much any other product you could possibly want. Officially established on Stroud Green Road in the 1990s, Pak’s has gone on to become a nationwide brand, with 35 outlets across London and the UK, become a provider to major supermarkets and an exporter of hair products to mainland Europe.

You can guess a lot about Finsbury Park from the fact that Pak’s (and quite a few other stores doing similar things) line Stroud Green Road. But you can understand even better by finding out how it got there.

“There’s a lot of heritage around this area” explained Peter Mudahy, CEO of Pak’s, when I asked him. “For a long time, Blackstock Road (which connects to the bottom of Stroud Green Road) was a very black-populated area. Back then you would have a lot of black barber shops where people would come from all over to get their afros done and shaped and all that. Again, the Aquarius Salon on Stroud Green Road has a lot of history from back in those days”.

Pak’s in its present incarnation has only existed for just over 20 years, but it emerged out of a much older series of developments.

“It originated from when people began coming over in the 1950s – from Jamaica, Trinidad, Barbados. They would come up to Finsbury Park to buy fruit and veg from home – bananas and yams and what-have-you”. Mr Mudahy explains that the area was something of a hub for the needs of the Caribbean community in London and beyond. “You used to have coach trips with people coming down from Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, and buying food on Blackstock Road, going to Monsell Road for fashion and coming up to Stroud Green Road for cosmetics”.

Between the 1950s and the late ‘80s, the industry for cosmetics targeted at black women was run from a business based in Tottenham, a nearby borough in north London. However, when the owners of that firm decided to pack it in (“one went on to become a councillor, another one got an MBE and wrote a book”) the customers hadn’t disappeared. “When they closed, the manufacturers in the USA realised there was a gap in the market. The question was: how to fill that gap?”

Their sales people took an innovative approach. My Mudahy explains that they visited Caribbean fruit and vegetable stores in different areas of London such as Brixton, Dalston and Finsbury Park; all areas with large Caribbean communities. Pak’s was originally a fruit and vegetables grocery store, importing produce from the tropics. If you wander further up Stroud Green road, you’ll still come across shops selling coconuts, yams, allspice, banana chips, salted cod, sugar cane, scotch bonnet peppers. Things like that. Pak’s began selling hair products as a side business, but eventually decided to go all-in with the cosmetics, and hasn’t looked back since.

Changing business

The industry for Afro-Caribbean cosmetics is expected to reach £475 million by 2017, and new lines from industry giants such as L’Oréal are feeding already high demand. However, the chain’s traditional customer base is apparently on the decline. “Our target demographic has actually diluted somewhat because it’s becoming increasingly integrated with the Caucasian population”. The Caribbean, and British-born Caribbean population in the UK is just under 600,000 – plus another 400,000 who identify as mixed Caucasian and Black Caribbean according to the last census. “The Caribbean population is so integrated with the Caucasian population the market is shrinking” says My Mudahy. However, the business is adapting – he explains that the store is now catering to a much more diverse market – “anyone with curly hair” – including Africans from all over the continent, Brazilians, French, Portuguese and more.

A Pak's store

A Pak’s store in Homerton (I’ll update next time I’m in Finsbury Park)

Another change facing the business is trend setting. As with most industries, the Internet has radically changed how companies market their products and influence tastes. Mr Mudahy sums it up as such: “bloggers, bloggers, bloggers”. The industry is now primarily led by the Internet with “hype about a beauty product on social media becoming much more important than a celebrity endorsement”. A quick venture into the world of beauty and cosmetics blogging confirms just how big the Internet hype machine has become.

Changing shops, changing place

If Mr Mudahy’s business is changing, so are the streets around Finsbury Park station. Once dominated by Caribbean stores, there’s a whole new clientele and a whole load of new businesses meeting their needs today. On Fonthill Road, parallel to Stroud Green Road, are fashion stores aimed at Nigerian customers and general corner shops run by Turks. Blackstock Road is now more remarkable for its Eritrean restaurants and Algerian butchers and Stroud Green road is an eclectic mix of Pakistani grocers, Spanish tapas bars and Korean dining.

Whenever I’m back in Finsbury Park – maybe to meet someone, or to catch a bus, or go to one of its pubs or go to a vegetarian Indian restaurant I like – I’m always glad to see Pak’s. The way it still dominates the bottom of Stroud Green road with its loud green logo. And even though I’ve never had any need to shop there, I think I like it because of what it says about that place, and what its shops can tell you about it, and what the people there value.

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