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How to Write Engaging Introductions: Techniques and Formulas

Content Marketing

Published on May 09 2023

Introductions are an essential part of any piece of writing, as they set the tone for the entire work and can make or break the reader's interest. An effective introduction should grab the reader's attention, provide context for the topic, and present the main thesis or argument of the piece.

There are many different techniques and methods that writers can use to create a strong introduction, including using a quote, asking a question, introducing a character, or employing one of several popular formulas like SPY, AIDA, or PPB. Choosing the right introduction method depends on the content, audience, and purpose of the writing. By carefully crafting an engaging and informative introduction, writers can hook readers and set the stage for a successful piece of writing.

Agree, Promise, Preview (APP)

  • Provide the information a target reader would agree with (a problem).

  • Promise a solution to that problem.

  • Preview your content so readers understand what they’ll get when reading.

The APP method is a highly effective way of structuring an introduction for a search audience. The reason for this is that searchers are usually looking for specific information, and they want to find it quickly and easily. By using the APP method, you can immediately let them know that you have the information they need, and that you are going to deliver it in a clear, concise way.

The APP method involves starting with a statement that identifies the problem or question your readers are trying to solve or answer. This immediately resonates with your search audience because it shows that you understand their needs. Next, you introduce your solution or answer. This should be specific and concrete, so your readers can immediately see the value in continuing to read.

Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA)

  • Grab the reader’s attention in the first sentence.

  • Appeal to their interest by saying something new to them.

  • Evoke the desire to learn more, explaining how they’ll benefit from the content.

  • Invite them to take action (keep reading).

AIDA approach is particularly effective for sales content as it aims to grab the reader's attention, pique their interest, create a desire for the product or service, and ultimately push them to take action, such as making a purchase.

In the first stage, attention is captured by an attention-grabbing headline or opening statement. The headline should be designed to stand out and draw the reader in, creating a strong first impression.

Next, interest is piqued by providing more information about the product or service. This may involve discussing the product's features and benefits, outlining its unique selling points, or providing case studies or testimonials to build credibility.

The third stage is desire, where the content aims to create an emotional connection with the reader and a desire for the product or service. This may involve highlighting the benefits of the product and how it can solve the reader's problems or satisfy their needs and wants.

Finally, the action stage encourages the reader to take a specific action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service. This may involve using strong calls to action and creating a sense of urgency to prompt the reader to act quickly.

Preview, Proof, Bridge (PPB)

  • Preview your content asset.

  • Provide proof why it’s worth further investigation.

  • Add a bridge (a short transition phrase to keep readers glued and get them to the next paragraph).

The PPB formula is a simple yet effective method of writing introductions that grab the reader's attention and entice them to continue reading. In the first part, the writer highlights the problem or challenge that the reader may be facing, establishing an immediate connection and sparking interest.

The second part promises a solution or a benefit that the reader can expect by continuing to read. This can be achieved by making a bold claim or by highlighting a unique angle that sets the content apart from similar pieces.

The final part, brief, is a quick overview of what the reader can expect to gain from the content. This could be in the form of a list of key points or a brief summary of the article's main argument. The brief section should be concise and to the point, providing enough information to hook the reader without giving away too much.

By following the PPB formula, the writer can ensure that the reader knows from the first sentence what the article is about, why they should care, and what they can expect to gain. This makes it easier for the reader to decide whether to invest their time in reading the article and sets a clear expectation for the rest of the content. Overall, the PPB formula is an effective way to engage users from the outset and clarify whether the content is worth their attention.

Short, Pain, Yay (SPY)

  • Start with a short sentence that hooks the audience.

  • Address a pain point.

  • Hook with a yay info (say something unusual or unexpected).

Using the SPY method in your introduction can make your content more visually readable, punchy, and easy to digest. By starting with a bold statement, you immediately capture the reader's attention and encourage them to keep reading. Then, by providing proof to back up your statement, you demonstrate your credibility and show that you have done your research. Finally, by addressing the reader directly and explaining why your topic matters to them, you create a connection and increase the likelihood that they will continue reading.

Introduce a Character

  • Introduce a character in your introduction.

  • Explain how the character connects to the content.

Introducing a character is an effective storytelling technique that can create an emotional connection between the reader and the content. When a reader is introduced to a character, they are given someone to relate to and empathize with. This can help to engage the reader and make the content more memorable.

Characters can take many forms. They can be human, animal, or even an inanimate object personified in a story. Regardless of their form, the introduction of a character allows the reader to see the world of the story through the character's perspective, giving them a unique window into the story's events.

Start with a Quote

  • Start with a quote that is relevant to your content.

  • Explain how the quote connects to the content.

Starting with a quote can add authority to the introduction and engage readers by providing a relevant and attention-grabbing statement from a credible source. By using a quote, the writer can immediately establish the topic and tone of the piece while also demonstrating that they have done their research and are knowledgeable about the subject matter.

A quote can also help to connect with readers on an emotional level, depending on the nature of the quote. For example, a quote that is inspiring or uplifting can help to create a positive mood and encourage readers to continue reading. On the other hand, a quote that is shocking or controversial can grab the reader's attention and prompt them to keep reading in order to learn more.

Ask a Question

  • Start with a question that is relevant to your content.

  • Explain how the question connects to the content.

Questions are particularly effective when they are thought-provoking or when they tap into readers' interests or concerns. For example, a question that asks "Are you tired of feeling stressed all the time?" might appeal to readers who are looking for ways to manage their stress levels.

Moreover, questions can also be used to introduce a topic or issue and provide context for the rest of the article. For instance, an article about climate change might start with a question like "Why are temperatures rising worldwide?" This not only captures readers' attention but also sets the stage for a more in-depth discussion of the issue.

Wrapping up

In today's age of information overload, it is crucial to grab and hold readers' attention with your content's introduction. Using one of these seven formulas - APP, AIDA, PPB, SPY, or a combination - you can create an introduction that sets expectations, excites the audience, and communicates the value of your content. Don't underestimate the power of a well-crafted introduction - it can be the game-changer in your content marketing arsenal.

And don’t forget that you can always employ AI-powered tools like eniAI to get engaging introductions tailored to your brand’s tone of voice and any of the introduction technique we have talked about. Start your free trial with 1,500 words and up to 10 AI-generated images by creating your account.