Ever stop and ask yourself, “Am I a hooker?”
Do they even call prostitutes hookers anymore? Or is that a word middle-aged people use? You can Google it if you want, but you might want to clear your cache after.
No, we’re not going to spend the rest of this article making double entendres (though it’s wholesome, low-brow fun). And we’re not going to question whether blog writing to market yourself is really just a different way of practicing the oldest profession. We’re going to talk about hooks – real writing hooks that suck the reader in and make them keep reading, like you are now.
What Hooks Them In
As always, writing is about the audience, and writing for marketing is no different. Before you can even think about a hook you need to know:
- Who is my target market?
- What does my target market read?
- What am I trying to accomplish by writing this article?
- What do I want the reader to leave with?
Take some time and really think about this. You might have to do a market analysis. You might find yourself revisiting (or writing) your business plan. You might start putting together an editorial calendar for your content marketing. All this because you asked the magic question, “Who’s my audience, and what do they like?”
Don’t Get Distracted
If you did find yourself straying a bit from the task at hand, no worries. Jot down some notes and leave the bigger projects for later. Right now, you’ve got a blog to write and a deadline to meet – because you know your blogs should come out on the same day each week.
Speaking of notes, they can help you flesh out your article even more, whether you’re writing the hook first or the content first. So write those ideas down, too, but don’t spend a lot of time on them right now. The task at hand is to write the hook.
Don’t Get Hung Up
One of the leading causes of writers’ block is perfectionism. We think, “Oh my god, if I don’t get this exactly right, the whole thing will fail and I’m just wasting my time.” Or, “This isn’t original enough. I have to be cutting edge.” We paralyze ourselves into not writing anything.
Irony: Articles like these can sometimes contribute to writers’ block, so take some time to get to know yourself as a writer. Especially if you’re the anxious type who forever feels like they’re taking a final exam, put this piece away and revisit it when you don’t have a tight deadline to meet.
The best thing to do? Just let the writing flow. Don’t worry about the errors or the grammar…for now. You can edit later. You already did your homework on your audience, so just write. Maybe do some deep breathing first. Or have a glass of wine. We like wine.
Play With It
Yes, we did that on purpose. No, we’re not going to extend the metaphor (if we can help ourselves). We’re going to suggest having some fun. To do this, don’t box yourself in. Try writing your hook using a few different methods:
- Be conversational.
- Be controversial.
- Be punny.
- Be quirky.
Take the same sentence and write it four different ways. Mix and match techniques to see what works. Then pick your favorite hook. Or test drive it on a jury of your peers.
A note on humor – what you find funny, readers might find offensive. Or they might not get it at all. Just be aware you’re taking that chance when you decide to let your inner comedian out.
Now You Know the Secret
“The secret to what?” you’re asking. “To spend a big chunk of time on a sentence or two?”
Yes! You need to – at first. Like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it gets, and the faster you get.
“But I don’t have time.”
Come on. You know what’s coming. The call to action.
When you don’t have time to write and do it well, get in touch with us. We develop content every day. We make the time so you don’t have to.
And don’t worry. We’ll filter and edit ourselves to make you look professional. The wine can come later.
All Things Writing is a full-service content development and content marketing company on a mission to help clients shine online and in print. Our clients are from the private, government and nonprofit sectors.