Phrases to sell: learn to create a good hook for your text

“Let the games begin, and may luck always be in your favor!” Do you know that phrase? Sounds familiar but you don’t know where you heard it?

Then try to identify the authors of the following hooks that became so famous that they ended up becoming almost fillers:

  • A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
  • It sparkled at me:
  • My name is Iñigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die;
  • To be or not to be, that is the question!

So? What is your score? If you’ve guessed the author of all the sentences and figured out where each one is present, you already know the power and impact a well-written and planned hook can have!

The only hook is a tactic normally used by great writers, journalists, publicists and scriptwriters and which consists of developing an impressive sentence to capture the public’s attention for what is to come: be it the next scenes of a movie, a piece advertising, a strong statement, and so on.

But writing hooks isn’t just a matter of creativity and talent. It is necessary to know very important elements before putting your fingers on the keyboard and activating the muse , such as the target audience and the context. Read on and you’ll find out everything you need to know to make good hooks!

Know your audience

Regardless of whether you are writing an article, blog post, or a movie script, knowing your audience is a requirement not only for creating good hooks, but also for achieving the goal of getting your message across without interference.

Imagine that your hook promotes a funny pun on a song by the band One Direction. Now, if you are writing a blog aimed at an adult audience, your phrase may be out of place and will go unnoticed and the reader may no longer want to read.

But if your person is the typical pre-teenager aware of everything that happens with their stars, your text has a much better chance of being immediately read and even shared.

Evaluate your audience

As you already know, when writing a final year project, we usually don’t worry if the text will have good hooks to keep the reader attentive. That’s because the reader, in this case, are professors who are paid to perform that task.

In relation to “commercial” texts, we do not have a captive audience, that is, we need to use the best possible hooks to attract readers to our good content offer.

Think about the subject line of an email: it needs to be short, creative and impactful to convince the recipient to click. The same idea goes for the hook.

relate to the context

Damn insect! One of the reasons why we tend to remember hooks is the simple fact that they all have to do with the context (or lack of context) in which they were created.

Well, if you were surprised by the swear word I put at the beginning of the previous paragraph and still kept reading, congratulations: you’ve just been the victim of an out-of-context hook, which is to say, it’s so absurd (and risky) that it attracts attention. However, the hooks within the context always seek reference in time and culture to become controversial (and eternal).

Define the type of emotion you want to experience

Urgency, fear, reflection, anger, panic … A good hook is the starting point to tune the reader into your content. Have you seen the sensational headlines in the newspapers? It’s more or less the same!

A news report, for example, can highlight an alarming statistic as a hook to generate outrage. A digital marketing publication , meanwhile, can benefit from a hook that feigns a sense of urgency and arouses the reader’s willingness to invest in that promising area to escape the crisis.

If you were producing an “experimental” article, introducing a joke in the form of a hook can have the intended effect of amusing the reader. Everything will depend on the type of emotion, or even the desire to buy, that you want to arouse. In the end, as every advertiser knows, hooks are the best selling phrases.

CTA and hook: similar but so different

If your niche is Content Marketing, you must be wondering how you can apply the concept of hook to action buttons. Although the meaning of “provoking” the reader with an original and creative call remains the same, the CTA cannot deviate from its specific purpose of convincing the visitor of a blog or page, for example, to click to receive something in return. .

In other words, a CTA button cannot afford to be abstract or too different, since the reader, within the Content Marketing strategy, is a prospect.

Focus on the introduction of the text

As we have already said, we writers have a lot of competition and few opportunities to attract the reader to the texts we produce. So the best place to insert an amazing hook is in the introduction, and preferably in the first sentence that opens that crucial paragraph, which is the reader’s first contact with what you wrote (besides the title, of course).

Actually, there is no word and phrase limit for the hook: you can even transform it into the whole intro of your text. Ideally, you should always be more economical and accurate, as we will see below.

choose the correct words

“Don’t think about what your country can do for you; think about what you can do for your country”. The right combination of words, context, and purpose creates incredible hooks, like the one given by former US President John F. Kennedy.

If in all the texts you write, you get at least one shocking phrase like Kennedy’s, rest assured: they will be successful.

How about opening your text with it and taking it up again at the conclusion with another type of approach? Keep an eye out for puns, synesthesias, skits, and metaphors—they’re all good linguistic resources to help you come up with the right words.

Now that you know some tactics for coming up with hooks that will impress your reader, it’s time to practice and still look for more and more references. Cinema, theater, literature, newspapers, magazines, or the Content Marketing blog…

No matter the medium, always have something that helps define your style, to the point that you are recognized by a well-placed hook.

And then? Did these tips help you?

Ah yes, it’s time to see the result of the challenge at the beginning of the text!

  1. Star Wars franchise.
  2. The guy from 8.
  3. The Princess Bride.
  4. William Shakespeare, in the play Hamlet.

PS: There is another unidentified hook in the text. Did you manage to find out what it is? Reveal it in the comments!

Alex Musk
Author: Alex Musk

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