There is absolute power in the written word, especially in the marketing arena. Even though to err is human, the simplest error can change a consumer’s perspective towards a brand – and not in a good way. Typos are frowned upon and don’t you dare spell stationery as stationary. But, while clear to anyone with the time to search for the answers online, not knowing the difference between the words ‘you, your, and you’re’ can end marriages, ruin friendships, and create lifelong feuds. Content forms part of our everyday stories and ingrained in us is a deeply rooted love of tales.
In the same light, your business is often judged by the content that you churn out – and if your content does not engage the reader, captivate their interest, or invigorate their soul, you may be at risk of losing a valuable customer.
Creating content is the continuation of your brand story – and if you treat all your content this way, then you will, without doubt, lead your customers along the path to a productive end. The end, though, is up to you. Do you want to generate sales, create awareness, inform, apologise, boast – the onus is on you, and likewise, upon the content you make and how it is wielded to hook your audience? That is where content hooks come in.
What are content hooks, and why are they important?
A content hook can be anything. It can be an emotional connection, an urgency, a promise, a mystery. It is entirely up to you. However, too many companies have fallen prey to the lie that to market your content successfully, you need to have nine, ten, or twenty different hooks.
In efforts to provide these hooks, companies bend over backwards, losing their tone of voice, and sprouting all types of writing, forming a disconnection with a reader. You, as a reader, may not immediately spot it, but you will feel it deep within your soul.
Take our blog, for instance. Read a few of our posts here and note how we weave humour, wisdom, and industry knowledge to guide you on your marketing journey, whether you’re just starting or looking to grow exponentially.
The trick to creating great content, and simultaneously, great hooks, is to tell a story.
Applying storytelling tactics to create exciting content hooks
A great story relies on five key aspects, namely:
1. The emotional connection
You begin by introducing your characters. You give the reader a bit of the character’s life, their interests, etc. Then, you answer specific questions like what makes them unique, their values, their beliefs. You make your reader care about the character.
2. The predicament
Through the story, the main character will face problems and must find ways to overcome these setbacks. Therefore, the reader needs to understand the cost of this situation to the character’s life.
3. The journey itself
The character must change, travel to new lands, make new acquaintances and friends, and overcome the predicament, which forms an essential part of the journey.
4. The twist
Every story has some twist. The expectation that the journey creates is challenged and does not meet reality. The friend is a foe. The road doesn’t lead anywhere.
5. The solution
The story ends with a solution to the problem. The reader learns a lesson about the characters, or perhaps even life itself, and then puts down the book to live life a little differently.
But what does this have to do with marketing and content hooks?
Well, you see, your content tells a story about your business.
1. Your characters
It would be best to make your consumers care or find some interest in your main characters – usually your staff, management, stakeholders, etc. This is where marketing people like us will tell you about personal brand stories, biographies, and so forth.
2. Your predicament
Other than making money, earning a living, or creating a legacy, your business must have experienced some mishap along the way to success. These are stories that your customers want to know. Express and humanise your brand by sharing your failures as much as you would your accomplishments. Tell customers why you choose to donate to specific charities or assist with causes that relate to you and your business in marketing language. Consumers will support you out of care and consideration alone.
3. Your journey
The ‘About Page’ on a website is now ingrained in cult and custom. Almost every business has one – and the reason is simple. We, as humans, want to know a bit of the journey that a company undergoes to become what it is.
4. Your twist
We are yet to find a business with no competition – and likewise, we are always looking at marketing similar goods and products differently. Your twist is essential here as it continues the storytelling narrative to inform your reader why you’re different and what you do that is different.
5. Your solution
Entrepreneurial definition: An entrepreneur sees a need in a community and then opens a business or service to satisfy that need. Your business meets some needs and provides some solutions other than financial independence for you. That solution is your content hook here, and if weaved into the tale of your beginning, your customers will be willing to stand with you right to the end.
Content hooks can be exciting, stimulating, emotional. Using your content hooks to generate interest in your Black Friday campaigns will ensure success for your sales. Most importantly, you will form a connection and relationship with your customers.
And that, dear reader, is the best type of marketing you can have.