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  • Writer's pictureErin Ratliff

Stop the Scroll: Dozens of Sure-Fire Hooks to Bait Your Reader

Whether you're publishing a static post on Linked In, a reel on Instagram, or sending an email pitch, the secret to going viral or getting a sale is to immediately get your reader's attention. How do we do this? With a great HOOK.

The bulk of your content might be awesome, but if you’re slacking on your hooks, your audience simply won’t get to it. In this post we'll go over why hooks are the key ingredient to successful copywriting and provide some examples to uplevel your copy game.

What is a Hook?

A hook is any combination of words or phrases that is simply irresistible to your audience. It usually falls in the first 1 or 2 lines of your post captions, your Reel, your carousels and beyond.

In media res is a Latin phrase that means "in the middle of things." It refers to starting a story or narrative in the middle of the action, rather than at the beginning. In copywriting, the concept of "in media res" can be used to grab the reader's attention right away and create a sense of intrigue or excitement.

The hook is vital because you want your content to be seen and enjoyed by as many people as possible. Otherwise, what's the point of posting?

"The most important sentence in any article is the first one. If it doesn't induce the reader to proceed to the second sentence, your article is dead."

William Zinsser

Why is a Hook so important?

The harsh truth: You only have about 1-2 seconds to grab your reader's attention before they habitually scroll on.

The purpose of a hook is to

  • capture the reader's attention

  • entice them to click, read, or engage with your content further.

A good hook is the gateway to visibility and engagement. The better your hook, the more likely people are to continue following your content.

"The first sentence can't be written until the final sentence is written."

Joyce Carol Oates

How to Nail Your Hook

Start strong by triggering an emotion such as

  • Surprise

  • Shock

  • Intrigue

  • Interest

  • Curiosity

  • Compassion

  • Relatability

  • Discomfort

Some experts say you should even draft your post/story first, and then spend the bulk of your time working on the hook. To do this, identify the most important point in your story and lead with that.

To get the most "bang for your buck" remember to...

  1. Tailor your hooks to your specific audience and niche. Know who you're writing for and WHY you're telling the story.

  2. Include a select word or phrase in ALL CAPS, or incorporate an asterik or parentheses to create emphasis, visual interest and dynacism.

  3. Cut the clutter (avoiding excess or fluffy language)

  4. Use words like "Best","Top" or "Proven" to build authority and credibility

  5. Tell a story by including a specific timeline or other numeric detail

  6. Provide a valuable takeaway in your final lines and through a CTA.

Types of Hooks

Having a collection of hooks is vital for your content creation. Here are some of the most popular types of hooks you can use and some common examples that will get your reader clicking "See More..."...

Question Hook: Pose a thought-provoking question that resonates with your target audience. Examples:

  • Are You Guilty of These Common Mistakes?

  • Wondering How to Achieve _____?

  • Permission to Rant?

Numbered List Hook: People are often drawn to content that promises a specific number of tips, ideas, or steps. Examples:

  • 7 Effective Ways to Boost Your ______

  • 10 Secrets for a Successful _____

  • 5 things I'd do if I was starting over....

How-to Hook: Provide a solution, hack or promise to teach your audience a valuable skill or technique. Bonus if you can call out a silent objection! Examples:

  • How to Master the Art of _____

  • How to Win The ____ Game Every Time.

  • How I _____ in (time) without _____

  • You've been doing it wrong...

  • This trick will save you hours

  • How to ___ without losing____ or looking)

Controversy Hook: Make a bold, unapolgetic statement or take a stance on a controversial topic to pique curiosity. Examples:

  • Why ____ is Dead

  • The Surprising Truth About ____

  • Unpopular Opinion:

  • Hot Take:

  • Harsh Truth:

  • The problem with...

Curiosity Hook: Create a sense of intrigue and curiosity by offering a teaser or hint of valuable information. Examples:

  • Unlock the Secret to_____

  • The One Thing You Need for ____

  • I was too scared to... Until I learned this trick to help me get over my fear

  • Watch til the end...

  • This will blow your mind...

  • I’ve got a secret..

  • I'm going to let you in on a secret...

  • Quick reminder…

  • The craziest thing just happened...

  • What if I told you...

  • I wasn't going to share this but...

  • What I DIDN'T do to find success

  • Today I'm spilling my secrets...

  • Expectation vs Reality

  • I'll get straight to the point

Vulnerability Hook: Share a personal anecdote or story that connects with your audience's authentic emotions or experiences. Examples:

  • How I Overcame_____and Found Success

  • My Journey from _____to _____

  • 2020: I knew/I did/I was.. vs Today: I know/I am/

  • I've never felt like I belonged in the … world

  • The biggest lesson I've learned

  • Vulnerability Share:

  • I'm gonna be honest here

  • I changed my mind about...

  • This is hard to write...

  • If I could do it all over again...

Statistical Hook: Use a surprising or compelling statistic or data point to grab attention and establish trust and credibility. Examples:

  • 80% of People Make This Common Mistake

  • Studies Show _____Increases Happiness by 50%.

  • Myth vs Fact

Urgency Hook: Creating a sense of time sensitivity compels the audience to take immediate action. Ex: I need your help

Belonging Hook: Establishing a sense of belonging helps the audience feel special, unique and seen.

  • This one is for _____ only (insert a group of people)

  • Calling all _____!

  • I know what you're thinking

  • Only __ will get this

Wrapping It Up

Mastering the art of compelling copywriting is all about the hook. It's the gateway to connection, engagement and sales.

If you're ready to elevate your brand's messaging and captivate your audience, I'm here to help. Let's transform your content into a compelling narrative that leaves your customer always wanting more.


Erin Ratliff is a holistic business coach and organic growth & visibility marketer serving energy-sensitive, earth-loving, heart-led soul-preneurs, self-starters, and founders with the mission of personal and planetary healing.

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