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The First Sentence of Your Blog Post – 7 Tips to Hook ‘Em Hard

Picture your reader suddenly breaking into a smile,

They’ve just started reading your latest blog post. Something in it tickled them – and touched their imagination, arrowed deep to a passion they hold dear.

It’s an awesome image, isn’t it?

You’re already 6 seconds into this blog post… Why have you read so far?

I’m guessing it’s partly because you respect this spectacular blog and it’s fed you value in the past. Also, the power of a title will carry you some way into even the dullest of posts, like a 100-metre sprinter who realizes he’s on the wrong track after the gun’s been fired.

But also I think you dived right in because in the very first sentence I evoked an image in your mind:

Picture your reader suddenly breaking into a smile’.

It’s something as a blogger you desire, right?  Maybe even crave. It might be the solution to a problem or fear you have. It’s emotional. It’s visual. It was carefully thought out, because;

The first sentence – the Hook – is the second most important part of your post.

I’ll call it ‘the hook’ like we do in copywriting and journalism. Because in my un-humble opinion, blog post-writing should be just as potent. We’re taking up someone’s valuable time and we have an important message to get across.

So, how can you use your first sentence to truly hook that mind-wandering visitor?

I’m about to reveal some little-known copywriting wisdom.

But first;

Here are 13 examples of hooks that work a treat

#1

“You want more free time, right?”

(Use a question which gets the reader to scream ‘yes!’)

#2

“Want more retweets? These seven expert tips will reveal how: ”

(Ditto)

#3

“What’s the second most important part of your blog post, after the title?”

(Another kind of question. The kind that gets them guessing, and itching to know the answer)

#4

“Let me tell you a quick story” or “Once upon a time there was…”

(Who hasn’t got time for a story?)

#5

“In 3 minutes you’ll know how to make $20,000 on Elance”

(BIG, exciting promise)

#6

“Grab them from the first word. That’s step one”

(This is a powerful sentence, inciting action. And refreshingly unusual)

#7

These days, I write pretty darn fast. The first draft of this 1,300 word post took 51 minutes”

(Impress them with an almost unbelievable claim. And show your credentials)

#8

“I was frozen in terror”

(Use some good old-fashioned novel-opening tricks. Start in the centre of some exciting action)

#9

“So I was standing there, drenched in water – in the middle of Starbucks!”

(Same again)

#10

It will please some of you to know that I almost called this article ‘What’s My Name, Bitch?’

(Be funny, or shocking. Or both)

#11

“Do you sound smarter when you use big words? According to a study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, the answer is no.”

(Challenge conventional wisdom)

#12

“Imagine this:” or “Picture this:”

(Immediately get their imagination running wild)

#13

“A seasoned marketer like you will know this already.”

(Tell them what they know already, and flatter them a little. It builds trust)

 

I nicked a couple of these examples from this top post on blog post openings by Michael Pollock.

And now it’s time for some more delicious copywriting knowledge.

Hungry?

The mindset for a powerful hook; 7 juicy tips

 

  1. Be fast and punchy

No more slow introductions. Just begin fast. Boom.

To shake your style up, try starting your first sentence with ‘Ok’ or ‘So’ – as though you’re already slap bang in the middle of a story with someone.

 

  1. Make it a short sentence

Cut out unnecessary words. Trim the fat. Say it fast, strong and well.

A quick example – as I reread this post, in the second sentence I wrote ‘went deep like an arrow to a genuine passion they hold dear.’

Then I realized I could say it with less words: ‘arrowed deep to a passion they hold dear.’

Start thinking like this. Don’t ramble. People hate ramblers. (Sorry to people who like walking in the mountains; I don’t mean you. Everyone loves you guys).

 

  1. Make it a one-sentence paragraph

Don’t be afraid of that ‘Enter’ button on the right hand side of your keyboard, just under your right pinkie. I love that button. I hit it all the time. In fact, I’m gonna hit it right n…

 

  1. Evoke an emotion

Try to picture your reader, all serious-faced at their computer. Picture them breaking into that grin, or at least their eyes lighting up with eagerness, like a toddler watching their favourite cartoon.

Think hard. What can you say in those first few words that will make them have that deep emotional reaction? What will ignite that flame?

 

  1. Get straight to the heart of the matter

Don’t piss about. Get straight to the meat of it. Bam.

Right into the action, like the opening scene of a good movie or action novel.

 

  1. Address their deepest problem, instantly

What is your reader’s deepest problem and desire around this topic? Say it in the first words, and also let them know that if they keep on reading – they might just be closer to solving it.

Tease them with what’s to come. Build anticipation.

 

  1. Bonus trick; leave out the full stop

Here’s a little copywriting trick. A ‘full stop’ or ‘period’ (as I believe my American buddies call it) – at the end of a sentence – unconsciously tells a reader to ‘stop’.

Leave it out!  Use a comma or nothing instead.  Your reader will flow right on into the next sentence and get lost deep in the depths of your blog post.

“But wait Konrad, you’re breaking the grammar rules!”

Well I guess I’m just the kind of crazy badass rule-breaker who breaks a few eggs to get results. Just please don’t tell the grammar police, ok?

Found this valuable?

Then share away my friend, and smother us with compliments below!

Love you,

Konrad x

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About the author

Konrad Sanders
CEO, Founder and Strategist at The Creative Copywriter

Hey you, I’m Konrad. A content strategist with a pretty darn creative noggin on my shoulders. I run a team of word-slinging cowboys who go by the name of The Creative Copywriter. Let’s connect!

Comments

  1. Perfect! This is just what I was talking about with a fellow blogger this morning.

    Thanks Konrad for these awesome tips as always 😉

    Kind regards.
    Anja

  2. Awesome post,
    Got lots of informative information which will implement on my online business and blogs,

    Thank you for your kind informations

  3. Awesome content Konrad!
    It has certainly been way too long since I last stopped by
    and learned a few much needed lessons!

    You have shared some outstanding content as usual!Extremely practical and helpful!

    I had forgotten just what a copywriting/ marketing ace you truly are! Your excellent post just reminded me!LOL!

  4. Great post, Konrad. I think it was Joe Sugarman who described the ‘slippery slide’writing technique where the title in most important, then the first sentence, and so on. It’s about creating enough interest to get the reader to the bottom of the page.

  5. Huh, I never even think that “hooking” reader could be so… simple 🙂 Simple to describe – harder to do but still – It is not so hard as I thought 🙂 Thanks for sharing your knowledge – very good, positive energy 🙂

  6. Hey.. i just wanna say this.. 🙂 Perfect! This is just what I was talking about with a fellow blogger this morning.

  7. Nice tips for beginners, as I am. Now I’m trying to make career online as copywriter. So I’ve registered on a service called 2Polyglot, and found some customers. But I was really unhappy with quality of my own work, so I try to be better and your tips help me very much I think.

  8. Hi Konrad,

    Excellent post Your creative energy is contagious! I just happened upon your blog as a result of clicking on an ad on the Problogger Job Board tonight.

    Thanks for the great tips! I’m definitely adding this post to my favorites.

    Karen Doll

  9. KonRAD your name says it all. Rad write up rad advice no need for me to think twice. I think I got the gist and I’m down with this list. Clearly I’m counting my chickens before they hatch but all my words are sure to catch.

    Cheers for creating such an enjoyable , informative and straight to the point article. I’m also a big fan of “get shit done”.

    Love from Loz, from Aus

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