How to Create a Hook for your Video

Mar 1, 2023

(read time: 3 minutes)

Short form video has arrived and once again the rules are shifting. The way you create content and how you structure it is becoming more and more important.

Social media feeds are quickly becoming dominated by short video. Often the feed you’re watching isn’t even based on the accounts you follow.

TikTok started this with their ‘For You’ feed which is their default setting.

Twitter now has a ‘For You’ feed and other networks are jumping on the bandwagon after seeing the success.

These curated feeds are fast moving. As a viewer you are served a wide variety of content, based on your assumed interests, as you scroll TikTok is evaluating engagement and upgrading the content when it seems popular. Its first metric of success is passing a 3 second view time.

Yes, 3 seconds.

So that’s how long you have to make an impression. So if you’re starting your video by introducing yourself, you’ve already lost most of your audience.

Using a hook at the front of your video can help catch that all important attention.

What is a hook?

A decent hook is a sentence that is designed to create intrigue right off the bat.

This isn’t a new concept, anyone who has worked in SEO or titled blog posts will know the importance of getting those first few words right.

In fact we’ve actually come full circle because if you study the copywriting greats from the last century who had nothing to work with but a one page ad in a magazine, you’ll see lots of similarities.

Copywriting great Joel Sugarman teaches that the essence of good copy is to start with a great heading that makes the reader want to read the first sentence.

The job of the first sentence is to get the reader to want to read the second sentence. The job of the second sentence it to lead to the third and so on.

It’s poetic that fifty years on, our social algorithms are essentially asking us to do exactly the same thing.

Some things never change.

So what might a video hook look like?

Broadly we can divide them into a handful of categories. The essence with all content is to deliver what you promise. So don’t make bold claims or exaggerate to entice viewers. The last thing we want is clickbait. If you’re highlighting the worst mistake you made last year, make sure it actually is!

Actionable / process

This is content 101, break a process down into simple steps, jump straight in and deliver.

Do this now in order to ___
Top 3 ___ I use to save time in ___

Challenging norms

Conventional wisdom is exactly that, conventional. Sometimes you need to break out of the box or think differently in order to move ahead.

If ___ didn’t work for you, try ___
4 surprising facts you need to know

Exclusive insights

If you have a unique experience or perspective on something then lead with the story.

This is the truth about ___
This is how I started in ____

Niche markets

Counter intuitively you might actually get more engagement from publishing a post that is for a smaller group of people. In a sea of content, something that connects to an individual can often stand out.

For my male/female audience
If you like *film/book/band* you’ll love this

Negative positioning

Whilst you don’t want to deliver too much negative marketing, there is room for a bit in the mix. Positioning things from a pain point can be emotive and draw people to action more effectively than positive messaging.

If you like ___, you’re gonna hate this
5 mistakes that kill your ___

Curiosity

Intrigue can be a big scroll stopper. If you can hint at something that you later deliver, it can provide an intoxicating reason to keep watching. Story tellers use this technique all the time.

  Did you know _____ just blew up in popularity?
I never leave the house without ___

It’s not hard to make up your own hooks, or borrow and adapt others.

But spending some time on those first few seconds could make the difference between a few hundred and thousands of views.

 

If You Need Help

You can book a 60 minute 1-2-1 call with me to discuss your strategy and content.

I have three structured calls to choose from (but if you need to discuss something else let me know).

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