If you plan to advance anywhere – getting a job, growing your business, or proving your point, you have to focus on persuasive writing hooks. When you can attract readers, you can tell them all that you have to say. It can make it easier for you to succeed.
Understanding how to attract your readers like a magnet takes practice and takes a significant amount of skill-building. The good news is that there are quite a few things that you can do to focus on writing hooks practice.
Determine Your Reason for Writing
When you sit down at your computer, you have to think about what you’re writing and why. Get comfortable. Sink into your office chair and put on your thinking cap.
Writing is always for a specific purpose – to educate, to inform, to entertain.
Additionally, you’re writing with the intention of appealing to a specific audience.
By knowing your purpose and audience, it allows you to choose a hook that is appealing.
The persuasive writing hooks that you use to get the attention of an HR recruiter are going to be drastically different than the ones you’d use to market a specific product or service to consumers.
Often, you have seconds to get people to decide whether they’re going to read what’s in front of them. You don’t want HR recruiters to skip past your resume and you don’t want consumers to flip the page on you.
Once you know why you’re writing, it allows you to make your point. Tell people what they’re reading and why. If you beat around the bush, they’ll lose interest and move on – and leave you without being able to drive your point home.
Writing can be a challenge. However, when you know what you want to say and to whom, it will flow much more efficiently.
The Different Types of Writing Hooks
Not all readers are the same. Not all goals are the same. As such, there are different hooks that can be used so that you can persuade your readers. Understanding the different types of hooks will help you to determine which one is the right approach:
- Startling statement
- Anecdote memoir
- Inspirational quote
- Rhetorical question
- Shocking statistic
A startling statement can be true or not – but it will get people to stop and think for a moment.
An anecdote/memoir can be a teaser about something that has happened to you personally.
An inspirational quote can provide insight into a specific topic – and it can come from a celebrity, a philosopher, or anyone else.
A rhetorical question is asked to give the reader something to think about.
A shocking statistic can be a piece of data that helps people to understand the importance of what you’re about to say to them.
Finally, a musing can be a simple story or thought as a way to give insight into your personality and get the reader to stick around to hear more from you.
Obviously, not all hooks are going to work with every reason for writing or for every audience.
Think about writing a marketing letter. You aren’t going to bother with an inspirational quote or even an anecdote.
You need a hook where people are going to say, “Oh, wow! I need what they have to offer.” This is often done with a rhetorical question because it proves that you’re aware of their pain points. Otherwise, it can be accomplished with a statistic so that they understand the overall need of what you’re about to present to them.
Take a Course in Persuasive Writing
Persuasive writing is just like any type of writing – it takes skill. You have to persuade someone to pay attention to what you have to say. Whether you’re talking about your character for a resume, your product as a business, or even your own personal blog, you want people to pay attention to the words that are in front of them.
Persuasion is not something that comes naturally to everyone – and that’s why it’s beneficial to take a course.
The Elements of Rhetoric by Ryan N.S. Topping is a guide to help with writing and speaking more clearly and persuasively. You’ll learn about the 26 rules of persuasion and how to apply them, too.
Many online courses are offered to help you improve your writing techniques. Often, colleges and universities will also offer courses, many of them in the category of adult learning.
Whether you read a book or take a course, you’re going to learn how to talk about a topic with passion. You’ll learn how to hook a reader and be empathetic with them.
There will be various techniques involved with learning to write persuasively. You’ll need to appeal to your target audience. This can be done by appealing to their authority, their sense of reason, or even their emotions.
Practice makes perfect. Once you learn more about how to construct text persuasively, it will become easier and easier.
Write Out Your Ideas
Before you get too far along in your writing, do some brainstorming. Write out your ideas, focusing on who your audience is and what kind of hook you want to use.
With so many strategies available, you can approach your topic from different viewpoints. You can try different hooks, too.
Persuasive writing hooks have to be powerful, so looking at a few written out can make it easier for you to decide on the right one.
A whiteboard in your office can make it easier for you to see everything in print. Stare at the board for a while with your ideas written out. Once you feel one particular hook call out to you, that’s the one to include in your text.
Often, it helps to create a story map. Whether you’re writing fiction or nonfiction, the concept is the same. Identify what needs to be said. As it sits on your whiteboard, it can serve as inspiration while you write.
How to Maintain the Hook
Persuasive writing hooks are often considered something that is used in the front of a text. The reality is that they need to be used throughout.
There’s nothing worse than hooking someone within the first few seconds only to lose them a few minutes in. Attention spans aren’t that long. If your text is long and it starts to get boring, you won’t keep the reader hooked until the end.
How you maintain your hook depends on what it is that you’re writing.
A cover letter for your resume has to focus not only on your attributes but also on what you have to offer the company. If it’s all about me, me, me, the HR director will lose interest.
Know your audience.
A standard blog is going to be about 1600 words. It will take about 7 minutes for the average person to read it from start to finish. Since attention spans vary, you have to maintain the hook.
Use various types of content. Continue to offer value to the reader.
Longer text, such as whitepapers, essays, and even novels may be hundreds of pages long. Say what you need to say. Stay on topic. Provide insight or storytelling so that readers are encouraged to stay with you through the end.
Ensure that you have an editor to review what’s being said.
There are so many ways for you to maintain the hook. The important thing is to understand that you have to work to maintain it from start to finish. When you know about your target audience, you’ll learn what it takes to keep them interested.
A little bit of audience research can go a long way. You can learn such things as:
- Attention span
- What they’re emotionally attached to
- What they hope to learn from you
When you’re able to give the audience what they want, they’ll stick with you. It ensures that you’re more likely to get what you want out of them – an interview, a customer, or even a dedicated reader.
Stay Updated on the Latest Trends
Oh, and it’s not all about your writing techniques. Attracting your readers like magnets will require you to stay up on the latest and greatest trends. People change. People start to want new things.
You have to know what people want from you. Anticipating their needs and wants will help you with your magnetism.
With your persuasive writing may come various other forms of content. This can include photos, videos, and even links. Interactive content is gaining in popularity.
When you’re persuasive and you’re able to meet all of the needs of your audience, it allows you to gain a better connection. The connection you have will make it easier for you to provide the needed persuasion to get what you want.
Providing the hook is a critical skill in the business world. Once you achieve the skill, it can lead to a significant amount of success.
Founder of Eggcellentwork.com. With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.