Hook me up

Tips and tricks for writing the perfect hook for client copy


Mr Michael Cobb

2021-06-09 4 min read

Need to get people to click into your copy?

In all of the models about writing compelling copy, the hardest is probably the first part, enticing the reader. Whether you leave writing it until last, or write it first to set your own mood the hook is the one part that has to work 100% of the time.

In this post we’re going to explore some of the techniques that help draw people into your site or stop them putting your marketing materials straight into the recycling.

First off I firmly believe simplicity breeds interest and writing in the active voice is vital to encourage interaction. What is the active voice? Well, in short, putting the reader at the heart of the action, saying “buy the toy” rather than “The toy is yours to buy”. Use the active voice and no matter what other method you use to hook your reader, this is the proven way to get readers involved.

Let’s start the main tips with solving a problem. Take for example “Want to help remote communities access water?” Here the audience may not even know they want to solve a problem, but by suggesting you have a solution you have placed a curious thought in their head. if they follow up, you’ve gone one step to answering their question. If they don’t click into the page, they probably aren’t the person you wanted digging wells anyway.

While you’re solving their problem in that first line it is best to avoid the click bait hard sell. Words like “guaranteed”, “no risk” or “never” are hard to justify. People will click in, but ultimately be disappointed over the long term. And disappointed means your copy hasn’t worked, which let’s face it, the client isn’t going to be too happy about.

Another common tactic to hook in the reader is to exploit our natural fear of missing out. “Your last chance to be James Bond” would be a good intro for MI6 recruitment for example. With this you’ve built up excitement that there is still a chance to get involved in whatever service you are offering. The reader will benefit from clicking through and have a better life.

The problems with this approach are perhaps obvious, for one there’s only so many last chances you can get away with before readers catch on that it’s a ploy. Also, what your offering has to be something that people want. The fear of missing out on something you didn’t want or have no interest in is not an effective way to get people interested in something new. Used sparingly though the fear of missing out is an effective hook for readers who are maybe already aware what it is they want, just not where to get it.

Using a positive emotion is a more effective route in a lot of cases, particularly when linking the product to a feeling of success of happiness. “Lay back, relax, we’ve got it” sets an image of relaxation and happiness where the client’s service is doing the work. It doesn’t say much about that service, it doesn’t have to. In most cases this type of hook is used to entice people who are actively thinking about a similar service, going on holiday for example.

Selling happiness is a much stronger and longer lasting feeling than fear, associating your client’s service with a feeling of happiness is likely to remain in the reader’s minds over the long term, and worth finding a way into your hook. Think positive, write happy.

One of my personal favourites, though possibly one of the hardest to get right, is the story. Telling a story is a way to get the reader to see themselves in the centre of what you want them to feel. Get it wrong though and you have done the opposite, put people off the product. “This week I was driving through the countryside, roof down with the Eagles playing loudly…” There are a number of issues with this. It may work for middle aged, well off readers, but it is too specific for a general audience, even an aspirational one. “A drive through the country, wind blowing in your hair and listening to you favourite tunes…” generic, but better. It still sets up a story that clients will want to be a part of, but without putting off the casual reader.

If you need to pin your idea to the side of a giraffe and march it through the living room, then do it. In other words, be unusual, be unique. Being generic isn’t a great hook for your client. A business has spent a long time building a brand and you selling them in the same way as you would anyone else doesn’t do them or you any favours. You don’t have to be completely bizarre, but it may be a good way to go. A sense of shock is a great way to grab attention. And if you get it right, you will have your client stick in the memory of its clients for a long time.

The beauty of copywriting is that there are no right or wrong ways to hook your reader into the body of the content. There is only the way that works.

Next time we’ll look at writing the main content of your copy, how to keep the reader reading and ultimately buying your client’s product.

If you would like to talk about other tips and tricks, get in touch. I’m happy to help and work with you on any projects you have.

Mike Cobb Copywriter

Cobb Communications Ltd.

Vat registered: 372 6181 91

South Woodford- London - United Kingdom - E18