6 Blog Intro Formulas to Hook Readers (+Examples)

We’ve all done it.

You sit down to write an article, and it’s time to come up with the intro. 

In your mind, you know your blog introduction should engage and hook your readers. 

But for whatever reason, that all goes out the window when you start writing.

The end result is a few generic paragraphs that are blander than your diet the day after you have food poisoning.

Sure, you might throw in a random stat or ask a boring question to “spice things up.”

But at the end of the day, your blog intros are the same as every other article, so they don’t stand out.

But it’s not your fault.

Writing a great intro isn’t easy, which is why most are so terrible.

Unfortunately, your boring intros are likely causing people to glaze over your content—or click away—because you lost their interest from the start.

Unless you enjoy losing traffic, you need to fix the problem ASAP.

Lucky for you, the solution is easier than you think.

I’m going to give you six simple formulas for attention-grabbing blog introductions.

The Key to Writing Blog Intros That Don’t Suck

Most blog intros drive people away because writers don’t prioritize the reader.

This is particularly true for articles written specifically for SEO.

When you’re creating content to rank for a keyword, you end up centering your intro around that keyword instead of your reader.

For instance, look at the intro for this article about “plumbing problems.”

blog intro written for SEO

It’s clear the goal of this article is to satisfy what they think Google wants to see. That’s a recipe for a terrible intro.

Great intros satisfy the needs of your reader

To hook readers, your intro should:

  • Be relatable
  • Evoke emotion
  • Make readers think
  • Pique curiosity
  • Make it clear why people should read the article

Your intro might not accomplish all of these things, but doing some of them is extremely important for hooking your readers.

However, you can only pull this together if you truly know your audience. 

You need to understand how their experience and pain points relate to your topic.

Otherwise, you end up with the same intro every other article on your topic uses.

Let’s go back to the plumbing problems example.

Here’s an intro from a different article that does a much better job of connecting with the reader while still keeping SEO in mind.

blog intro written with audience in mind

Here’s another example.

Say you want to write an article about “how to walk your dog.” 

A standard introduction might look a little something like this.
standard blog introduction example

It focuses on the main topic—walking a dog. 

I wouldn’t even call it a bad intro.

However, it’s an intro that anyone could have written.

It doesn’t evoke emotion, make you think, or stand out. 

Anyone who’s ever walked an untrained puppy will tell you this intro doesn’t fully reflect the experience and pain points of walking a dog.

Here’s how I’d write an introduction on this topic:

The first time I walked my new puppy, Benny, I felt like I was playing tug-of-war with a 300-pound bodybuilder.

Getting him to hold still while I put the leash on was a struggle. 

When I finally managed to get the leash on and opened the door, he immediately darted out, taking me with him. 

Then once we got outside, he was pulling so hard I thought my arm would pop out the socket.

It was the exact opposite of every dog walking video I saw on Instagram and YouTube.

Just when I was at my breaking point, I stumbled across a helpful technique that completely changed how I walk my dog.

Now there’s no more tugging. Benny walks side-by-side with me, and I can always get him to come back to me on command.

If walking your dog is as much of a struggle as it was for me, keep reading to find out exactly what I did to transform our walks from chaotic battles into a relaxing bonding experience.

This blog intro:

  • Relates to the target reader
  • Makes it clear what the article will be about
  • Piques curiosity by alluding to a “helpful technique”

Want to learn how to do the same?

In the next section, I’ll show you how to write engaging article introductions using six proven formulas.

Steal These Six Blog Intro Formulas

I’ve written and analyzed countless blog intros over the past decade.

The ones that stood out the most (and performed the best) followed similar patterns.

I’ve distilled all my experience and analysis into six distinct formulas. Here’s what they are and how to use them:

1. Contrarian View

When everyone is going in one direction, the people who stand out are the ones who stay still or go the opposite way.

When it comes to creating intros, having a less popular view or hot take on a topic immediately grabs people’s attention.

The reason why it’s so effective has to do with people’s reasoning for consuming content that conflicts with their personal opinions or thoughts.

Most people read things they disagree with to:

  • Challenge an opposing opinion: You want to debate
  • Hear a new point of view: You want to understand or learn 

Here’s a table that breaks down both motivations for reading contrarian views.

Reader’s motivation


Reader’s goal

Challenge an opinion

A person with far-left political views reading an article that has far-right views.

Debate the opinions and thoughts of the article.

Hear a new point of view

A “white hat” SEO marketer reading an article about the benefits of buying backlinks.

Understand whether or not buying backlinks can help improve their SEO strategy.

Regardless of the reasoning, the important thing to know is that:

Contrarian ideas = views.

Let’s look at an example.

Here’s an intro from a Seeking Alpha article about why buying a house isn’t a wise investment.
blog intro with contrarian view

Notice how the writer leads with a generally accepted truthbuying a home is a smart investment.

Then he introduces his contrarian view—buying a home is rarely a good idea from a financial perspective.

It naturally encourages you to want to keep reading to see what his reasonings are.

As powerful as this tactic can be, it’s not used very often because:

  • Society conditions us to blend in and go with the flow
  • It’s more difficult to develop an argument for a less popular point of view
  • When you write content for SEO, you naturally want to go with what you think Google wants to see, which is the same thing the other top-ranking articles are about
  • It can feel inauthentic if it’s not how you truly feel

That last point is very important. 

You shouldn’t use a contrarian view just to differentiate your article. 

If you genuinely feel the same about a topic as everyone else, that’s fine.

However, if you have a different point of view, don’t be afraid to frame your article around it.

Also, for a contrarian view to pack a punch, it should be about a topic with a widely accepted consensus.

Take a topic like the use of AI for content creation. 

Many people support it, but many people oppose it. Whichever side you lean on, you’ll probably not be viewed as a contrarian.

On the other hand, consider a topic like keyword stuffing articles for SEO.

The general consensus is it’s a bad thing to do. The top-ranking articles for the topic frame it that way as well.

google search results for keyword stuffing

But what if you have a different point of view?

An article that starts like this would catch the attention of most people in SEO:

blog introduction with contrarian view

Another way to use the contrarian tactic is to maintain an “old world” view of an evolving topic or concept.

Going back to the AI example, the general consensus is that AI can be used to improve how we work.

Your contrarian view might be that AI doesn’t help with anything.

Whatever route you take, you’ll need to back up your claim throughout the article to make it stick.

Taking a contrarian view in your intro and then proceeding to fill the rest of your article with the same information as everyone else defeats the purpose.

2. Personal Story or Anecdote 

Storytelling is one of, if not the most effective ways to get a point across.

It’s why our parents would try to teach us life lessons through stories, or why movies, music, and books are so popular.

It’s also why storytelling is great for blog intros—if you do it correctly.

Here are some things to remember while weaving storytelling into your article introductions.

First, make your story short and succinct.

Unless your entire article is about the specific story, it’s best to shrink down your narrative to the most vital (and relevant) parts.

Here’s an example from Sivan Hermon about why most people shouldn’t be managers. 

It starts with a quick personal experience she had:

blog intro using storytelling

Her story sets the tone for the rest of the article. 

It also transforms her content from another generic “here’s how to be a better manager” article to “I have first-hand experience guiding people to become great managers, and here’s what you can learn.”

She also weaves storytelling throughout the rest of the article, which pulls everything together.

Here’s another example from Buffer.

The article is about repurposing content, but the writer starts with a story about her mom and college.

storytelling blog intro from buffer

Some of you might think, “I don’t have any interesting stories to include.”

Don’t worry, I have you covered.

You can use fictional situations to create stories as well.

Here’s an example from The Hustle.
storytelling blog intro example from the hustle

The article is about how lost luggage gets resold. The writer used storytelling to paint a picture of how the process works using a fictional example.

The downside of this formula is it’s not easy to tell a great story.

But if you can master it, storytelling is like a cheat code for writing blog introductions.

If you’re trying to improve your storytelling abilities, I’ve been using this nifty tool to sharpen my skills.

3. Statistics

A lot of people say statistics add credibility to your content. 

While that can be the case, the reality is that a lot of stats people include in their content only look good on the surface.

An article might start with “Did you know 89% of consumers prefer to buy from ethical brands?”

But when you click on the source of the data, you notice:

  • It came from a 10-year-old study, OR
  • The “source” they link to is just an article with a list of stats with no sources, OR
  • The stat came from a survey of 50 people, OR
  • The stat came from a website that nobody’s ever heard of

These are the equivalent of vanity metrics—they sound nice but don’t carry much substance.

Yet, people still use them (especially in B2B SaaS content) because we know most people won’t check the source of the data.

Nevertheless, stats get people’s attention, so I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention it.

But here’s how to do it more effectively.

First, use original data when possible.

Original data is awesome because:

  • It automatically makes your content unique
  • It makes it easier to build organic backlinks
  • You can trust the data because it’s your own

Let’s take a look at an example from Sprout Social

The article is about how to use AI to grow your business. 

In the introduction, they cite a relevant stat from a survey they conducted.

example of using stats in blog introduction from sprout social

The best stats to use in blog intros are ones that support the primary point of your article.

Let’s go back to the Sprout Social example.

Goal of the article

Supporting stat

Show businesses how to make better business decisions using AI analytics.

96% of business leaders say AI can help significantly improve decision-making.

If they would’ve used a stat like “80% of small businesses plan to learn more about AI this year,” it wouldn’t have had the same impact.

Now comes the important part—how do you get original data?

It’s not as difficult as you might think. 

Here are some simple ways to do it:

  1. Use SurveyMonkey’s market research tool to poll your target audience

  2. Use a Fiverr gig like this one to have a survey done for you

  3. Compile existing data into an original report (like this Bankrate example) 

Options two and three have been my go-to because they’re quick and affordable.

If you don’t have original data, using stats from a third party is perfectly fine.

However, I recommend setting some guidelines. 

Here are my criteria for using third-party statistics:

  • It has to come from a credible source

  • The stat needs to be significant—a stat based on a survey of 25 people doesn’t mean much

  • The stat needs to be recent—ideally within the past three years 

  • Link to the original source of the data

You can set your own thresholds, but those four will help you avoid sharing outdated or unreliable data.

Whether you’re using original data or quoting a stat from another source, including claims backed by data is a good way to spruce up your blog intro.

4. Show Expertise

Why should people trust the information you’re about to give them?

Showcasing expertise within your content has been a hot topic in SEO over the past few years, with Google’s supposed increased emphasis on Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).

Beyond pleasing the Google overlords, showcasing expertise in your content is a great way to hook readers.

But how exactly do you go about doing that?

It varies case by case, but the general approach is to quickly explain to readers why you’re qualified to cover the topic you’re writing about.

For instance, say you’re writing an article about the best protein powders for vegans. You might include a sentence in the introduction like:

“I’ve been a vegan for over 10 years and tried just about every vegan protein on the market.”

It shows readers that you have experience with the topic you’re writing about and gives them a reason to trust what you’re about to tell them.

Sometimes, you might not have direct experience or expertise about the topic you’re writing about. 

You can still showcase expertise without faking it.

The “secret” is to use the expertise of others.

Here’s an example of how I did this when I led content and SEO at Baremetrics.

I wrote an article about how to reduce churn, even though I’ve never directly been in charge of reducing churn for SaaS companies. 

However, I interviewed experts with direct experience and highlighted it in the introduction.

example showing expertise in blog introduction

If you read the paragraphs beneath the one I highlighted, you’ll also notice I took it further by teasing some of the results the experts achieved.

That’s a double-whammy that instantly hooks readers.

If you want to do something similar, here are some options:

  • Find experts on LinkedIn (great for B2B content)

  • Use a tool like Qwoted or Connectively (formerly HARO) to find experts

  • Use quotes experts have given in podcast interviews or other content and add additional context (don’t forget to credit the source)

5. Question

Asking questions in your blog intros is like a cheat code.

Questions naturally make people pause for a second and think.

That brief pause is just enough to hook them and capture their attention.

The key is to ask the right questions.

I recommend one of two options:

  1. Rhetorical questions: Questions that don’t require an answer because you and the reader already know the answer.

  2. Leading questions: Questions that guide your reader towards a specific answer.

These questions work well for article intros because they don’t require deep thinking or a carefully thought-out answer.

This isn’t a survey, so their personal response to your question isn’t really relevant. 

The question is purely to capture their attention and hook them into the rest of your article.

Here’s an example of another article I wrote for Baremetrics where I used a rhetorical question at the beginning.
example of using questions in blog intros

Most people would answer no, but the question is intriguing enough to keep your eyes moving down the page, which is exactly what it’s meant to do.

Here’s how that same sentence would look as a leading question:

“You wouldn’t continue to pay for something every month that you don’t use, would you?”

Same question, phrased differently. 

But it elicits a similar response from the reader. It piques their curiosity and gives them a reason to keep reading.

If you’re struggling to come up with relevant questions, here’s a ChatGPT prompt to get some inspiration:

ChatGPT Prompt

I’m writing an article about [YOUR TOPIC]. I want to ask a rhetorical question in the introduction to hook readers and make them pause and think. Can you give me 10 suggestions?

The results might be useable as-is, or you may need to do some editing to make it fit your article. But it gives you a great starting point.

chatgpt prompt for rhetorical questions

6. What’s in It for Me?

Another effective way to get someone to read an article is to let them know what’s in it for them.

Any time someone consumes your content, they give you one of their most valuable assets—time.

Before they fully commit to giving you their time, it’s up to you to show them why your content is worth giving up something so valuable.

While the other tactics I suggested are compelling, nothing is quite as powerful as directly telling people what they’ll get from reading your article.

Take a look at these intros from two separate articles about how to get LinkedIn followers:

article introduction comparison

The hook in Article A is generic.

It essentially says  “here’s a list of things to do that might grow your LinkedIn following.”

Not very compelling.

Article B makes a direct promise that’s ultra-specific and targeted.

It tells the reader, “In exchange for your time, you’ll learn how to get 1,000 LinkedIn followers.”

Before you rush off and go promising the world to your readers, here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver: If Article B said something like “Here’s how to get 10,000 LinkedIn followers in a week”, it’s highly unlikely that it’d be able to deliver. Make your promises realistic.

  2. Sell the result: Depending on the topic, use results-driven language when possible. “I’ll show you how to walk your dog” doesn’t hit quite the same as “I’ll show you how to walk your dog with ease in just seven days.” Just remember tip #1 so you don’t mislead people.

  3. Keep it short: Your promise and entire blog intro should be short for this to have the most impact. Lead in with a few sentences, tell them what’s in it for them, then launch into your article.

How to Combine These Formulas For The Best Article Intros

Each of these formulas is effective on their own. But the real magic happens when you use them together.

Here are three examples of how I combined the formulas above to create engaging blog intros. 

To show you how flexible it can be, I’m making all the articles on the same topic—training dogs with an e-collar. 

Notice how each intro has a different perspective on the same topic thanks to how the intro is structured.

blog introduction example
blog introduction example
blog introduction example

Ready to Write Better Blog Intros?

Writing magnetic blog intros that hook readers doesn’t have to be complicated. 

If you stick to the formulas I laid out, it’s as simple as choosing the right ingredients and customizing them to your article.

The truth is most intros are bland and stale.

Stop beginning your articles with “In this fast paced digital world,” and start writing intros that hook your audience.

And if you want to make it even simpler, download my free cheat sheet with templates for each formula!