While they might take offense at the comparison, your prospects are a little like fish. We all are. We swim around the internet having a quick taste of some of the trillion pieces of marketing content out there to consume. In the vast majority of cases, we immediately let go and keep swimming. But every now and again there’s something we just can’t release. We’ve been hooked. This doesn’t happen by accident. The content marketing angler at the other end of that line knew exactly how to get your attention. And now, having engaged, you’re much, much more likely to become a customer.
The Art of the Hook
In marketing terms, a hook is a statement or an idea that interests or challenges a reader, encouraging them to go further into a piece of content. There are a number of tried-and-true hooks that seasoned marketers use to keep people reading or watching. Implement them properly in your marketing materials and you can count on an increase in interest, qualified leads, and sales. Here are some of the best tactics:
- Surprising statistics. “It’s been proven that 75 percent of people have problem X and don’t even know it.” These kinds of statements work for a couple reasons. First, they are about facts, not opinions. And second, they leave the reader wondering if they fall into that 75 percent—and if they do, how they can correct the problem.
- Interesting questions. “How would you respond if you found out that…?” Everyone loves to express their opinion, even if it’s only in their head. By asking a question, you engage that natural response and draw a person further into your content.
- Startling contradictions. “It has long been believed that X, but the truth is Y.” The feeling of having experienced a “revelation” is a very powerful one. And, having learned the truth, the reader can now share it with others, which feels good, too. The bonus here is that in sharing this new truth, your reader may also share the source of it—you!
- Reassuring parallels. “The advantage of product X is that it is very much like product Y that you are already familiar with.” People love to learn by comparing a new situation to one they have already experienced.
- Challenges. “Most people can’t grasp the importance of X, but someone like you may be able to.” You have to be careful not to offend when you use this hook, but if you can find the right tone, it’s very motivational. Even people who say they are not competitive are actually quite willing to compete!
- Clear connections. “We understand. We’re parents, too.” We’re all looking for allies in life—others who can relate to the challenges we face. Your organization can be that ally.
Now, of course, anything you use as a hook must be genuine. The fastest way to lose a prospect and damage your reputation is to get them interested and then have them discover that you’re being untruthful. But if you can come up with an interesting or intriguing premise to start a piece of content, you're in the driver’s seat!
Let’s Talk About Your Hooks
Often the people best able to see what’s fascinating about your offerings are those outside your company. For more than two decades we’ve been helping people create and sharpen their hooks. Today, as a leading content marketing agency and HubSpot Certified Agency Partner in Colorado, Missouri and Washington, we help clients around the country find better ways to engage with their target audience through content marketing and marketing automation. Let’s talk about your marketing objectives for the second half of the year and beyond.