Looking to sell like hell?

You’re going to need a hook sentence.

Whether you choose the written word or short form video, the hook sentence grabs attention.

Nail it in 3 seconds or less, and you’re on your way.

Fail and your post is just another lost to the doom scroll.

So if you want to be a captivating copywriter, marketer, or storyteller, you’re going to have to master the art of creating the perfect hook.

I see posts all the time with formulas and templates for creating the perfect hook, but what if you knew how to create you’re own so you never needed a template again? (But just in case you do, I got you.)

Sound good?

Let’s go:

What is a hook sentence?

Very boringly:

“A hook is an opening statement (which is usually the first sentence) in an essay that attempts to grab the reader’s attention so that they want to read on.”

East Stroudsburg University

Here in the wild west online world of copy and marketing, the hook is what gets people interested in what you have to say. Posts will live or die based on that first sentence.

The hook sentence has the ability to put your reader/customer into the perfect frame of mind for what you want to hit them with next.

You can make them curious, engaged, concerned, angry, a whole myriad of emotions are at your fingertips.

Most importantly:

You can make them feel.

And if you can do that, in 3 seconds or less, you’re halfway to having them showing you their cash.

Yannick Pulver via Unsplash

4 Top Tips for Hook Sentences

If you are looking for a quick win and don’t want to read the rest of this post, the most valuable tips I can give you for writing hook sentences are:

1. Keep your hook sentence short

People are busy. Keep your hook under 10 or 12 words. It should be short and impactful. Don’t believe me. Go back to the start of this post.

2. Use simple copy.

If you have to keep your sentence short, your copy should be simple and easily consumed. You don’t want a confused reader. Your copy should be accessible to all and understood by a 12-year-old.

3. Create swipe files of what works

I tell everyone I meet to create swipe files and word banks. The internet and marketing are old. Everything you need to captivate and grow a following already exists online. All you have to do is look, listen, and reverse engineer. If you come across a post or a hook that grabs you, pop it into a swipe file. This can be a word doc, Notion template or your second brain. If you do use a swipe file:


Put your own spin on things. You have a different market, a different following, so speak to them.

4. Write your hook last.

Never, and I mean never, start with a blank screen and type out a hook. You write your hook last after you are sure of what you’re about to deliver in the subsequent copy. The worst thing you can do for you or your brand is have a hook that captivates and leaves the reader feeling like they just met a snake oil salesman. You get one first introduction to you and your brand. Make it count.

Pereanu Sebastian via Unsplash

Top 5 Copywriting Hook Types

Before we go on, I should admit that I use 10 different categories of hooks. But to get started crafting your own hooks, here are the five that get you selling:

Hook 1 – Confirm Beliefs

THE biggest competitor that you will come across in online spaces is the reader themselves. To get them motivated is hard. In fact, there are whole books and studies and niche areas of marketing that are dedicated to consumer psychology.

Try taking your product or service and slip it into this sentence:

“You’ve always known it deep down: [product/service] is the key to unlocking your [desired outcome].”

or this one:

Many X know that [reader’s pain point] can wreak havoc on [ double down on pain]

By reaffirming thoughts that they already have, you’ve warmed them up and worked on trust. Not to shabby for one sentence.

Talking about pain, it’s an incredible motivator:

Hook 2 – Pain and Threats.

These types of hooks are old-school. Think print advertising at its peak. Joesph Sugarman to me is the master of this.

By highlighting a pain or a threat, you instantly grab attention. The response is primal. These types of hooks work best when your reader is already aware of the problem/threat and they are already feeling pain of some type.

This could be a Problem – Acknowledging hook like:

“”Are you tired of dealing with flaking paint and unsightly cracks on your walls?””


Solution-Centric Hook:

“Discover the breakthrough paint technology that not only beautifies your walls but also provides unmatched protection against black mould”



“Imagine a world where your walls are not only stunning but also shielded from black mould.”

The list goes on, but the idea behind these types of hooks is that it’s easier to sell to an audience that already knows it has a problem and you hold the solution in your expert hands.

Hook 3 – Educational

The awareness level of your reader/customer determines the hook type that is used.

Yes, that sentence is so important I’ve popped it in bold.

Sometimes, you are going to have to do the heavy lifting with an unaware audience. This is where an educational hook comes in.

These types of hooks work well when you open a loop, inciting curiosity.

These hooks can be questions or statements of figures, e.g.

[Percentage]% of [industry] professionals recommend [product/service].

Discover why [percentage] of people prefer [solution] over [competitor].

See where I’m going here?

By asking a question, inciting curiosity and backing it up with figures/ percentages you also build trust as you go. Not bad for a first sentence.

Hook 4 – FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)

Ugh. Personally, I am tired of this hook. Scarcity is everywhere. It’s been used so much, I’m sure somewhere in the great wild west of the internet, certain companies have to be seeing a decline in leads using this tactic.

Nadia, why are you recommended it then?

Because scarcity works. When it’s done right.

Scarcity and social proof go hand in hand. Taking a proven system backed up by testimonials and make it limited.

It works.

To use it right, be aware of your competitors and your wider industry. How large is the overlap in your audience? How burned out are they?

This type of hook is basically the shool yard equivalent of “Everyone is doing it, why aren’t you?”

Some examples are:

  1. Limited Stock Hook: “Hurry! Only a few units left of our exclusive [product]. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity.”
  2. Time-Sensitive Offer Hook: “Act now to secure your spot and take advantage of our special offer. It’s available for a limited time only.”
  3. Exclusive Access Hook: “Join our exclusive community and gain access to insider perks, content, and offers. Don’t miss your chance to be part of something extraordinary.”

You’ve seen this hook online. Has it worked on you?

Hook 5 – Relevancy

If you want to create a strong customer bond, you’re looking for a relevancy hook.

What’s relevant to your customer or in your market today?

This hook gets into your reader’s mind and has them nodding along saying “You get me. You know where I’m at.”

Think trends, pop culture, politics, current events. How you apply it depends on your brand.

Relevancy hooks have the most potential to go viral because of their potential to land with a broad base.

If you’re on Twitter at the minute, think about Crocs

To do this type of hook, you need to know your audience, know the platform you want to use this hook on and be ready to jump on that trend. They usually incite humor and leave your customer feeling great.

Clark Young on Unsplash

9 Tips for Creating Your Own Hooks

If you want to create your own hooks and you have no idea where to start, here is my top tip for you:

  1. Don’t – head straight to your swipe file of what works.

Okay, you think you’ve upped your game enough to write your own hook?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What am I trying to achieve?
  2. How aware is my audience?
  3. Where is this hook going, post, video, blog?
  4. Read your post/script then write your hook.
  5. Edit it down to ten words or less.
  6. Does this hook speak to the audience of #2 above?
  7. Does the hook suit the platform from #3?
  8. Does it make you want to slide into the body copy seamlessly?
  9. Test and Iterate. Continuously test and refine your hooks to see what resonates best with your audience. Pay attention to your platform metrics and feedback to make data-driven adjustments.Don’t guess.

Slowly, over time, you will build up a base of hooks that work for your brand and your audience. Keep writing, testing and analysing results.

If after reading this post you still need a little help, you can pick up my grab and go Hook Inspiration guide right here. It’s filled with 100 hook ideas broken into ten different sections so you can easily apply it to your brand.

See you next week as we take on Body Copy.

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