Are you having flashbacks to your high school English class?
Well, sorry to bring back cringey memories, but your English teacher was right... When you’re writing, you really need a hook!
The “hook” is that opening of your writing that draws people in – they want to keep reading. It was crucial to your 11th Grade final, and it’s even more crucial now that you’re writing in a professional context.
So, let’s have a little refresher, shall we?
Why does your hook matter?
Your audience is inundated with so much content EVERY day. Think about it – how often do you stop your own scroll when you’re online? This means that you need something that jumps out and catches someone’s attention.
From the consumer perspective, you need to know that this person has something important/interesting to say. We very much do “judge a book by its cover.” That’s okay; it just means you have to make sure yours is good!
How do I find my hook?
Think about examples you’ve seen, just in the past couple days, that have made you click “expand” online to read more. What was it about that first one or two sentences that drew you in?
You have power as a writer, not just because you can write, but because you are also a consumer of other people’s writing – this means you have an inside look into the mind of the consumer! What would make YOU interested in your post? Try to get in the mindset of a person who doesn’t yet know what your post has in store.
How do I move past my hook?
After your hook… There’s a whole lot else to follow up on!
You might find it easier to write whatever you’re writing in its entirety, and then writing the hook at the end; or, maybe you prefer having an idea, getting your hook first, and then letting it flow from there. Whatever method works for you is valid; we writers are all unique in our techniques!
When you start with your hook, it can be hard to know how to follow up (especially if you feel you have a particularly stunning one). The good news is that you already know what you promised – so now you just have to follow through. Whether it's long form or short form, stick to what your readers will be expecting. No clickbait here!
For writers who need to circle back to the hook after the bulk of the writing is done… Look at the rest of your post. We’ve already talked about staying true to your voice – make sure that your hook ties in with the rest of your writing so that your readers don’t feel “bamboozled” when they click in.
Play around with writing hooks – it's not only crucial to drawing in attention from your readers, but it is also a fun creative exercise! You might even discover your next writing topic by examining the "hooks" that fascinate you!
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Written by Jordan McAndrew