Monday, February 13, 2012

Blogging Tips Weekly - What is a Hook, and How to Use a Hook to Draw Readers in?

If you are going to die, how would you spend your last seconds on earth?

Okay. That was dramatic. But I got your attention. (And don't you worry your pretty, little head. I'm certain you have a long and prosperous life ahead.)

Your blog, however, is much more ill fated. With millions of blogs on the web, readers don't stay in one place for long. This gives your blog mere seconds to "live."

How long do visitors stay on a blog?


Visitors to your blog are on a strict timer. Don't let them leave so quickly.


I haven't actually conducted an analysis myself. But according to online resources, visitors stay on one site for anywhere between a few seconds to a few minutes.


Problogger used a metric tool once, and concluded that visitors spend, on average, 96 seconds on his site. (You can read his article here.)


96 seconds is short, especially for a blog as interesting as his. If you want your readers to linger, then, you need to capture their attention, and do it quickly. 

What is a hook?


In journalism, a hook is something that draws the audience in. It sparks curiosity in readers and tells them why they should read your blog RIGHT NOW.

So, want to capture readers and make them stay? Add a hook (or two) to each blog entry.

Hook your readers, so they'll stay and come back.



Why are hooks helpful?


Do I have to explain this part? Okay. Fine. Consider this scenario: I'm blogging about a lipstick haul from target.


Here's a version without hooks:


I wandered into Target today. 
I walked through the makeup aisle, as always. 
I saw L'Oreal's latest spring collection. I picked one of the lipsticks from this collection in "bubble gum pink." 
I love this color, because it's so pretty and spring-y.

(Insert swatch.)

Excuse me, you still awake? 

Wakeup lazy cat. The good part's coming.
 

Here's a version with hooks:


Have you seen the latest spring collection from L'Oreal? Bursts of pinks, reds and funky colors, all with some type of yummy name -- mango peach or sugar plum berry, anyone?

No thanks, but I'll take -- and I did -- a lipstick in "bubble gum pink." Its color looks as delicious as its name.

(Insert swatch)

Thanks again, L'Oreal, for offering us the latest and best makeup for spring. Now that I've just hopped into Target and got mine, when are you getting yours?


Hope you get the idea.


Where should I place hooks?



Essentially, anywhere you want. However, I suggest two places: 1) In the beginning, to "hook" the reader, and 2) in the middle, when your writing starts to "lag." The minute you feel like you are blabbing, wake it up with a catchy tune.

Suggestions for writing hooks


Your hook should reflect your own personality, as well as the unique voice of your blog. Do what you are comfortable with, but if you run into writer's block, here are some suggestions:

Question

This is my favorite type of hook. Ask a question, let readers think of an answer. Then they have just invested in your blog, and will most likely remain.

Quotes

Quotes work because they are interesting and exudes a personable approach. They don't even have to be from famous people.

Example:
"Time heals everything," said my best friend, who survived one of the worst breakups with a boyfriend.

If she can let something as precious as a 5-year relationship go, you can part with the brand, new Jimmy Choos you cannot afford...


Dilemma

Bloggers, especially women, like to lend a hand and offer advice. Start your blog entry with a dilemma. Ask people for their help.

Example:
Polka dots or stripes? I just can't decide. With a limited budget, I can only pick one trend to buy. Really need readers' help today.


Metaphor


Metaphors make people think on a different dimension -- and everyone likes intellectual stimulation.


Example:
If blogs are like books, then my blog is a comic book. I write with humor and use a lot of pictures.




Wow. I just said an earful. That's all for today girlies.

Do you use a hook to draw readers in?


If so, do you have any good ideas for writing a good hook?

39 comments:

  1. really nice tip. i think it's definitely important to keep things light and fun sometimes. thanks for the info doll xx
    My Blog: Boho Vanity

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  2. I need to do this. I think I am kind of blah with my blog writing and too casual. I am a very visual person so I always hope the pics will lure people lol. Not the case always and it is true. I have feedjit in my sidebar and I can tell sometimes how long someone will stay on my blog and it is a few seconds in most cases like the research shows. Thanks for the tips!

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  3. Bah, no need to worry about the length, all of the information is useful, so that is what matters.
    The hooks I tend to use are questions, small dilemma's, relate-able stories (try to at least), hmm and humor if that can be counted as a hook. Oh, lists on occasion as well. Lists can help keep things visually stimulating, break up paragraphs.
    Hmm, perhaps writing 'comparisons' can be a hook. Comparing one product to another or types of food, anything. This just helps the reader understand the material/topic better.

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  4. Great tip! It's so true that I only takes a few seconds to decide if I want to read more!!

    www.heatherhoneyblog.blogspot.com

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  5. You always provide excellent insight! I absolutely use hooks to draw my readers in! I start with photos, and a very short post, and end with a question of the day. I have a stat counter that tells me how long is the average visit, it's about 2.5 min on my blog.

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  6. Great post! I try to just keep my posts short, funny and at least a bit interesting. Maybe I need to include a hook here and there..
    Sarah
    http://comingunstitched.blogspot.com

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  7. Thanks for the post, very helpful!

    http://nyorkeratheart.blogspot.com

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  8. Thanks for these tips--very useful!


    www.wayoutsidelookingin.blogspot.com

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  9. These are great tips. Thanks for taking the time...great job expanding on the points. XO

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  10. Had these in my public speaking classes. Loved reading it again. :)

    xx
    Heel in Mint
    www.heelinmint.com

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  11. great tips! Thanks for sharing. I think My main weakness is the lack of writing skills. I can't write well so I compensate with pictures, I try to let the pictures do the talking.

    mongs
    mythriftycloset.blogspot.com

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  12. Great tip n blogging!!!
    I think I use a different types of hooks from time to time. I like quotes and questions!!!
    You're definitely expert in hooks!!!
    I want to read your blog as often as I can!
    Good job!!!
    Happy Valentine's Day!!!

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  13. I am glad you like the feedjit thing! So many people stop by blogs and don't comment so it is easier for me to keep track of visitors.

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  14. I stumbled across your blog, blog hopping and as a fairly new blogger (less than a year)really fascinated by this article, as I am still trying to work out how to get people to add themselves as followers.

    I do think I have a lot of good things on my blog visual and editorial but still low on followers. I wonder if you can you write something about how to get people to add as a follower or reader.

    Lee

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  15. aww you are so helpful

    THanks for the tip

    <3 Una

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  16. What an interesting point! As a writer I use hooks all the time for work and school, but I never even thought of it for my blog! Thanks for the helpful tip :)

    xoxo,
    Paris

    glitteratiandglamour.blogspot.com

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  17. Very interesting post I must say. I think I am going to start to notice if I am getting "hooked" in the future :)

    /Cindi

    http://cherriesandsunflowers.blogspot.com/

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  18. great post, you certainly had me hooked in reading it!

    need to take these tips on board :)

    http://cosmeticsshoppingandintoxication.blogspot.com/

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  19. Really enjoyed this post. You are very right!! Thanks for the blogging tips :)...www.absolutleybeautiful.blogspot.com xx

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  20. Feliz San Valentín!
    Un besito!
    http://janakitchen.blogspot.com

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  21. these are great tips and I love that you are writing this. I also thank you SOOOO much for always commenting on my blog and saying such nice things. I truly DO appreciate it. I cant get on your site from work but I always try to visit!

    Jen
    www.commecoco.com

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  22. another great post :) You sure had me wanting to read the entire post above :) Very helpful and informative. I generally write whatever comes into my mind. I know my posts are WAY,WAY TOO LONG but sometimes I just can't help it. However I believe that my posts are helpful aswell so in the end bloggers can try their best to improve their writing but it all boils down to the readers.Some just don't have the time and patience to read anymore and it's incredibly sad especially when posts are worth reading.

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  23. Thanks for the tips! :) It's always great to relook on how to improve blog entries so that readers stay happy reading!

    Ash :o)
    ftashion

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  24. Very informative post! I think I use hooks in the beginning and yes, it can be hard to read through a whole post so you have to keep it fun!

    xoxo,
    Chic 'n Cheap Living

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  25. thanks for these tips :=) I hope this works :) let's see in time :P

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  26. Thanks for the tips! I like to ask questions and sprinkle humor throughout my posts, but I need to remember to do it more often. Sometimes I get rushed and just want to hurry and get a post up and that's good for nobody! lol

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  27. Interesting. I just write about things I love :) I feel people will be drawn to your content (if interested) no matter what you do. I do it without charts, analysis, constant twitter updates, graphs etc.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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  28. Thanks for sharing this. I need to apply this on my blog. =)


    http://sassychunny.blogspot.com/

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  29. omg thank you for the tip!! lol i needa start adding some hooks, i can see huge differences hooks and not.

    The Ugly Moments

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  30. Interesting article! It's definitely longer than I usually spend reading an article :p Great job!

    ekatya.blogspot.com

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  31. this is awesome!!! I definitely will be trying to use hooks whenever possible now!

    xo Jackie
    ...livingaftermidnite

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  32. I am enjoying your articles on blogging. I even added some Meta Tags the other day.
    Thanks for the posts. Now all I need to do is get Facebook going!
    Thanks again,
    Melissa

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  33. great tips. it's similar to giving speeches and i believe in a great attention grabber. i try to put a lot of thought into my posts, but sometimes i just get so busy!

    [oomph.]
    Share the Love Giveaway

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  34. This is really interesting!! Im so bad on writing :/ and I think I will be terrible writing hooks... maybe I will need help on that....

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  35. This was REALLY helpful! Gotta start doing those "hooks" and show my personality! Or maybe that'll just give me fewer readers... (like that's possible) :P hehe.

    Thanks again, I really do like reading your blog :)

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  36. Awesoooome post!!! thanks for the tips!!! :)

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