12 Ways to Hook Your Reader

This blog post is part of our March DEEP DIVE on Writing & Storytelling Sponsored by IDEAS Orlando, which is the first unit in our DEEP DIVE: Learn, Create, Win! Presented by Your Southern Ford Dealers. This is a free 6-month program focusing on content creation because 2018 is the Year of the Creator!  


How to Hook Your Reader

It’s none of their business if you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
— Ernest Hemingway

See what we did there? We used a quote to pique your attention about writing. 

Perhaps one of the most difficult things for a writer to do in this modern age of short attention spans, is to grab their reader's attention. There is a lot of competition, between scrolling messages, pop-up alerts, and appealing images. So, we've created a list of ways you can hook your reader and then reel them in to the end of your post. 

1. Use a relevant quote

Quotes on just about every topic are easy to find through a simple google search. We love borrowing (and giving credit) to those people smarter than us to kick off our writing!   

2. Start in the middle of the action

This technique is especially effective when the action is exciting or emotionally-packed. Take this as an example:

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3. Surprise the reader

This can be difficult to do, seeing as bloggers write about everything from ugly Christmas sweaters to disastrous baby shower cakes. However, you can surprise your reader by going against your typical niche and going off topic. If you are a fashion blogger, perhaps you start by saying something like:

Today I'm not writing about fashion. Nope, I am writing about herpes. Yep, you read that right: herpes. I'm writing about how herpes can actually cause cancer, so I'm basically like a superhero because this might save your life.

4. State the problem

Sometimes the most effective way to gain your reader's attention is by stating the problem you are blogging about. If it is too many AR-15's in the world, state it. If it is vegans ruining your steak dinner by glaring across the restaurant at you, put it down. Chances are your reader can identify with the problem and wants to know your take on it.

5. State the solution

Conversely, you can start by stating the solution and then backtrack to explain the problem.

6. Set the scene

Descriptive imagery is an excellent way to whisk your reader away to your blog post. Set the scene by describing what you see -- it can be romantic or terrifying. What could you write to describe the following?

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7. Be controversial

Very few techniques are as effective to garner readership as being controversial. Purposely stating things that are inflammatory will not only get people's attention but may also get their blood boiling. Readers will then continue reading looking for ways to disprove your opening statements. (It's human nature!)

8. Use an anecdote

Think of the book Chicken Soup for the Soul, which was full of anecdotal stories - short vignettes that charmed us into reading more. You can use the same technique to open your blog post and charm your reader into reading more. 

9. Give a surprising statistic

52% of boomers use their phones during meal times, the highest percentage of any age group.

This stat is true (according to a 2015 Neilsen study). Surprising stats are a great way to get your reader's attention for your blog post.

10. State a common misconception

Bloggers are just in it for the free stuff. Really!

By stating a common misconception, you are utilizing the same principle as being controversial. Those who know better (that bloggers aren't in it for the free stuff) will be fired up to read and prove you wrong. And those who don't know any better will read along because they think they will be confirming their beliefs... which they won't!

11. Ask a Fellow Blogger to Do an Intro

Similar to when an author asks a notable to do an introduction for their book, you can do this for your blog. (Only it won't be as long!) Consider a blogger within your niche that is more popular, and this can help your website traffic, too.

12. Use a Graphic or Photo

While this would be considered just a tool to aid your writing, if you have a visual that you can refer to or describe in some way, it can grab your reader's attention and get your writing. And remember, nothing truly captures a reader like an awesome photo!

We hope these 12 blog starters will give you some ideas on how to catch your reader's attention. Next, we'll be talking all about crafting the perfect headline. 

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And special thanks to Ford & Your Southern Ford Dealers for making the DEEP DIVE: Learn, Create, Win! program possible!