What is a hook?

If you have been playing around with marketing for any length of time (or if you have been a journalist) you will have come across the term ‘hook’ many times, and even perhaps asked the question ‘what exactly is a hook’?

It is the most important part of any article you put out. I would go further though, it is part of everything you put out. A hook is the start of your elevator pitch. It is the headline or first sentence of anything you write. It should also be the first sentence of anything you say.

The biggest problem though is deciding what your hook is and how to write it in an appealing way. That is what holds most people back. And the reason for that is straightforward. If you don’t know what your hook is, then you don’t understand your audience.

Now, we are not talking about ALL your audience, just the intended target of whatever it is you are saying or writing about.

You need to get right under the skin of your target audience. The proof of you knowing what it is you are trying to convey will produce a great hook. But the question is how to write that.

Let’s take an example. Suppose you are a landscape gardener. How are you going to answer the question someone may ask of you ‘what do you do then?’. You could answer ‘landscpae gardening’. Wow, really interesting. Or you could say ‘I transform people’s landscapes so they never want to move’.

Now, which would you go for? Even if you were not into gardening, I am pretty sure you would want to ask at least one more question after an opener like that, right?

All you have to do now is look at your audience and ask questions. Find that burning desire or want and reel them in.

Good fishing 🙂

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Quentin Pain

Quentin Pain started his first business, a courier company aged 23. He sold it 4 years later and used the profits to start a recording studio. A couple of albums later, he started two software companies, the last one being Accountz, which he grew from zero to 36,000 customers and retired from in January 2013. His current company is ProofMEDIA, a specialist digital consulting business. He's also a published author (including a Dummies title), and has won many awards including the IAB Small Business Mentor of the Year. Copywriting is his speciality and he runs 3 groups on Facebook under the Science of Copywriting brand, which combined has nearly 80,000 members. Quentin is also Chief Executive of the International Copywriters Association.

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