Your Content Headlines Attract Attention — But How do you Set the Hook?

Hint: This excellent article from Marketing Profs on how to get prospects to read past the headline of your Content Marketing piece utilizes fishing analogies — so we won’t. But we are going to encourage you to read on to get some great tips on how to close the deal with your readers.

Let’s assume you have some great content for your audience. Maybe a great way for them to use your products to gain more Millenial users, or a new marketing offer that’s sure to snag more Boomer business for them. But, like most B2B marketing messages, it is somewhat complex and requires some explaining.  Like maybe four of five hundred words of explaining or even a full page plus some charts explaining. Even though your headline was a SEO masterpiece, many viewers first inclination is going to be to break for the exit while the door is still open when they see that much content. We all do it. It is instinctive.

So, what do you do to get them to read on? How do you say something in that next sentence or two that will, in the author’s words “set the hook”? The article has some great suggestions, so do read on, but here’s a few of our own.

  1. Lead with the punchline.
    As marketers and story tellers we all want to tantalize our readers with the build-up and then wow them with a grand reveal at the end. It’s a natural tendency born of our confidence in our excellent writing skills — or not. About a hundred years ago someone at Procter & Gambel (or so the legend goes) established a premise for memo writing that said “Tell them what you are going to tell them. Then tell them. Then tell them what you told them.” In other words, lead with your key point so the audience knows what they are going to get. Then dazzle them with the details. It still works.
  2. Create a burning platform.
    Chances are, your product or service is a solution to a common problem among your target audience. So lead by painting a vivid picture of the most urgent scenario you can imagine for them. Make them feel that tension that says “I have to fix this right away!”  The give them the solution. Perhaps they will thank you by placing an order.
  3. Leap off the building.
    Most people cannot avert their eyes from an impending calamity. So set yourself up in one in your opening lines…”I went to the client’s office prepared to do a demo for the buyer on my laptop. Then they escorted me into the conference room with 50 people looking at me expectantly…”  Try not reading the rest of that one.

So click the link to learn more ways to deal with the challenge of “setting the hook” and driving client engagement with your content.

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