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How to write a good hook and reel in your reader

One of the easiest ways to stand out from your competition is to create compelling content. That’s where a ‘hook’ comes in…

Do you ever wonder what percentage of your blog viewers actually read your article all the way through? According to research, only around 20%. There’s not much point in crafting a masterful blog or article if none of your readers makes it past the first sentence.

Drawing your readers in with a catchy hook is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your blog posts actually get read. And once you know how to write them, they only take a minute or two to create. In this article, we’ll explore what a hook is, why they’re so important in your writing, and how to write a good hook that increases engagement and conversion.

Table of contents

  1. What is a hook?
  2. How to write a good hook
    1. Pose a question
    2. Impress them with a claim or statistic
    3. Create a unique and personal hook
    4. Serve up an inspirational quote
  3. Our tips for hook sentence starters

What is a hook?

A hook is an opening sentence, or two, that catches your reader’s attention and makes them want to read more.

It’s important that a hook introduces the topic of the article or text you’re writing while also demonstrating why it’s important and why your blog will answer all of their questions about this topic.

Hooks are used in all kinds of writing, from creative writing to essay writing and marketing. Whether you’re writing a blog post, an email, an essay, or a story, it’s important that you draw readers in from the first sentence. Starting your writing off with a catchy hook can help you to:

  • Ensure your readers make it all the way to the end of your posts
  • Increase post engagement on social media and blogs
  • Boost your conversion rate from blog posts and other marketing materials

The best thing about writing a good hook is that they only take a few minutes to write and they can have a huge impact on the success of your writing.

How to write a good hook

The simplest way to illustrate how to write a good hook is by demonstrating different types of hook strategies and what kind of applications they’re effective in.

Below are some of the most common types of hooks that you might come across in blog posts and marketing materials, with tips on how to write them and when to use them:

1. Pose a question

Rodin's Thinker - How to write a good hook

Doesn’t hearing a question just make you want to know the answer?

Opening your blog with a question is an effective way to grab your reader’s attention: a question can hone in on your reader’s pain points, asking something that they may have asked themselves before and promising the answer within.

Questions are also a simple way to engage your reader right from the moment they start reading your blog because questions require an answer. Whether readers think they know the answer to your opening question and want to check if you agree, or whether they don’t know the answer but you’ve piqued their curiosity, questions make great opening hooks.

Start your blog post, article, or email with a succinct and interesting question and you can build an immediate connection with your reader.

2. Impress them with a claim or statistic

Each month, your blog is competing with 70 million other blog posts published on WordPress alone.

That sounds like a big deal, which is why we’re hoping it hooks you into reading more. Of course, of those 70 million other blog posts, most will get few views and aren’t your direct competitors – but we don’t need to mention that in the hook.

Starting your blog off with a hard-hitting statistic or, better yet, a claim about your brand’s achievements is a simple way to get your reader’s adrenaline going and incite an emotional response right from the first sentence of your blog post.

3. Create a unique and personal hook

Woman writing in cafe - How to write a good hook

“As a child, I wanted to write fiction novels. As an adult, I’ve realised that writing meaningful articles for real people can be just as rewarding as writing a bestseller.”

Another way to grab the attention of your readers is by starting with a personal anecdote or fact. It’s not what people expect to see most of the time when they’re browsing professional blogs and emails, which is why they can be so effective.

Personal stories key into your readers’ human desire for connection and honesty. This type of hook isn’t appropriate when you’re writing a very formal blog, but if you run a small business and you want to connect with your readers on a personal level, it should be one of your go-to hook styles.

4. Serve up an inspirational quote

“A good writer possesses not only his own spirit but also the spirit of his friends.”

These are wise words from 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Quoting others, whether it’s a friend of yours, a celebrity, or a famous figure, is a great way to imbue the first sentence of your writing with a little extra personality. You can choose a quote that’s funny, moving, or profound to match the tone of the blog you’re writing.

Not only does quoting someone else enable you to borrow the words of some of the smartest wits in history for your article, but you can also use a quote to frame an interesting concept that your blog might argue for or against.

Our tips for hook sentence starters

If you’re still struggling to write a good hook for your blog, essay, or social media posts, follow these tips to get started:

Remember that your title is your first hook: The first opportunity you have to grab your readers’ attention is the title of your post, so make it catchy and unique.
Be emotive: A lot of the hook styles discussed above rely on playing into your readers’ emotions, whether that’s shock, amusement, joy, or fear.
Keep your hook concise: A good hook is one or two sentences, and each sentence should be concise and to the point.
Practise, practise, practise: If you’re feeling hesitant, the best thing you can do is practise. Why not read a list of 50 blog titles and practice writing different opening hooks for each title? By the end of this exercise, you’ll be well on your way to writing effective hooks that make all of your blogs required reading.

✏️If you’re interested in perfecting your copywriting craft, take a look at some more examples of hooks on the Copify blog.


Header image: Anthony Da Cruz

Embedded images: Kenny Eliason, Bonnie Kittle

Vicci Noreiko

Vicci is a Content Delivery Manager at Copify who's gained over ten years' experience in content creation since graduating from university with a degree in English and Philosophy. When she's not writing copy, she's probably reading, playing video games, or being bossed around by her three cats.

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