How to hook a blog reader #MondayBlogs #AmWriting #AmBlogging

hook 3Writers love to discuss the ‘hook’. Should you try to hook a reader immediately or have faith in the reader and slowly grab them? Although these discussions center around novels, the hook discussion can – and should be! – applied to blogs and hooking blog readers. In some ways, finding readers for your blog posts is more difficult than for your novels. Before you start calling me crazy and throwing sh*t, let me explain.

When someone buys, or considers buying, a book, they know that they’re going to have to put at least a few hours into reading it. That’s not even remotely true for blog readers. Everyone is busy, busy, busy. Reading and following blogs has to fit in between all the two-hundred other things a person needs to do in a day. Bloggers need to hook a reader quickly before they scroll onto the next blog. But how? In my opinion, there are three ways to hook blog readers to ensure they don’t keep scrolling past your blog.

hook 1The actual hook. Like many blog readers, I have the WordPress App on my phone. The app allows a reader to see – at most – three sentences of the start of the blog. I’m not going to lie. If the first three sentences don’t hook me, I’m scrolling down. This is why I believe wholeheartedly in the hook for blogs (for novels as well, but that’s a different story). There are different ways to hook readers. I’m not an expert, but I usually try one of three things. I make readers laugh, I try to shock readers, or I try to arouse readers interest with an unusual topic. (Ironically, today’s blog post about hooking readers doesn’t contain much of a hook. Oops!)

Sometimes, I’ll keep reading a blog even if the first three sentences don’t capture me. There are basically two reasons I continue to read:

Good graphics. I love a good graphic – as do most blog followers. Humans are, after all, visual creatures. Whether it’s a picture, a meme or even a chart, if it grabs me, I’ll keep reading. What grabs me? Something unique. Not a meme I’ve already seen ten times on Facebook this morning. Any interesting chart about increasing blog readers or selling more books will definitely pique my interest as well.

hook 2Interesting title/topic. In my quest to learn anything and everything about readers, writing, and the publishing industry, I follow a lot of blogs. Like, seriously, I should probably join a support group. I don’t read a ton of blogs, though. Why? Because there aren’t a whole lot of blogs out there, which contain unique material. There I said it. Go ahead and burn down my house, just make sure to bring a fire extinguisher with you. But seriously, I know how hard it is to come up with unique material. Trust me, I try to write three blog posts a week for this blog, not to mention daily posts for my Readsalot blog. It’s freaking hard to come up with interesting topics. Sometimes, I totally cheat and do a blog containing memes. I’m only human.

How do you hook blog readers? Let me know and I’ll totally steal your ideas J

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  1. No advice from me, I’m afraid. Hooking readers is something I need to put more effort into. My natural inclination is write blog posts that work up to their points (if they have points) and ramble a fair bit along the way. I know I should do more to convey how awesome the post is going to be in the first few lines, but it always feels so unnatural trying to cram something that does that in.

    That probably means my titles need to be doing most of the work at getting readers, but they’re more likely to be smoking behind the bike sheds than doing recruitment drives.

    As a reader I’ll keep reading a blog post if I like the voice and the topic (as suggested by the title) interests me. I do most of my blog reading in small snippets, so very long or deep posts are likely to get skimmed over or abandoned.

      1. A.S. and D.E., I seem to have little in common with you guys where blogging is concerned! What I don’t have time for is appetizer-posts – give me the MEAL and I’ll make time, even if I have to go back days later.

        Regardless of the effectiveness of a hook, if a blogger doesn’t give me enough meat to sink my teeth into, I feel like the time it took even to pop up the post was wasted – like picking up a hefty book whose first few pages intrigued me only to discover, once I get it home, that most of the rest of the pages are blank. I read and follow bloggers whose ideas have once intrigued me – hook or no hook on newer posts.

        But then, I don’t tweet (etc.) either, and don’t do ANYTHING on my iPhone but talk and listen!

        As for writing, as long as I can take the time to develop a thought relatively thoroughly I have NO trouble coming up with enough to write about to keep me busy for the rest of my life. I don’t think I’d make it as a short-form blogger, however. Even my comments are longer than many. 🙂

        Different strokes . . . I think the point is to find our respective tribes and write for them.
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
        ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
        “It takes a village to transform a world!”

        1. A phone used only for calling? What a strange invention! But seriously… I think it comes down to what you want to achieve with blogging and the audience you’re trying to attract. Thank goodness there are different bloggers out there. Variety is the spice of life and all 🙂

        2. I think this is a great indication that there’s no one right way to blog. Different styles will attract different audiences, which is great. Personally, I do my more detailed reading in books, whereas online is more for light entertainment.

    1. Disagree! The Weight of Medieval Armour intrigues me with the topic and the top picture. History geeks love that kind of stuff. Or at least this history geek does!

  2. Up until recently, when life interfered, I wrote flash fiction for picture prompts for two different blogs. I read stories by other readers and they read mine. The rest of the week I reblogged other good posts. I intend to get back to it. I consider myself more a writer than a blogger. I also consider myself an author as one of my stories was published in CQ Magazine as I had won one of two 2nd Place awards. This was an interesting blog. 🙂 — Suzanne

    1. 2nd place! Awesome!

      I also consider myself more of a writer than blogger. After all, writing books is kinda my full-time gig. Unfortunately, having an author platform is part of promoting my writing and a blog is part of that. I do think blogging helps with honing my writing skills and learning more about what readers want.

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