There I was, writing a blog. It was for a new client and the piece would accompany an announcement on funding for advanced energy and building technologies. Sitting back in my office I could hear the Olympics revving up. This was confirmed when I was walking down the hallway and could hear in the background chants of “goal, goal, goal!”

Looking back at how I came to take the risk at a cheesy hook, I was definitely influenced by the concept of making something basic and routine (funding and building upgrades) more fun. I got thinking, and realized a building with stellar energy performance was not all that different than an Olympic athlete going for gold. I didn’t know if the client would go for it (it being the cheesy hook) – being how technical their program was – but I could back up the idea that a building can usually do more to improve efficiency just as an athlete can train longer or eat better for greater endurance, and more strength to perform.

This was seriously the first a-ha moment I ever had when it came to crafting a lead to an energy story: a cheesy and timely hook works sometimes and only when it applies to a circumstance of social phenomena, and that is really it.

You can’t compare energy savings to pizza making or cake stacking – not everyone cares about that. But you can compare energy actions and tactics to big social events that impact the way people live their lives and entertain themselves. Just as energy savings is a feel good topic so is social phenomena, but only when in a blog, for social content, or certain trade outlets. That’s because in press announcements or official reports, usually this is serious stuff with real dollar investments and important outcomes.

For this case, writing a cheesy hook for a blog post, beat a forced lead. The hook, “don’t let your building become a couch potato; get your building fit!” was a classy way to allude to the Olympics without actually stating it. It got folks reading, employees wanted to share it, and those that read it clicked on to read about the opportunity for funding. The blog post in its entirety was friendly, informative, and engaging to a wider audience – which mattered because the client wanted to grow its network of applicant, beyond its usual engineers and scientists in the research community, to energy managers and building operators in the private sector.

While I knew that, if this was a press release, announcing what the funding topics looked like, then the lead should cover the technology savings potential, and impacts on market transformation or innovation. But for a blog, that would have been a forced lead because a blog should be more fun. So for those writing cheesy yet classy hooks, “come as you are, and tie those cheesy hooks to social phenom, all the time!”