Grab readers with snappy introductions: The art of the hook

I used to bomb introductions. I did it constantly. During my school days, red ink went flying just a few sentences in. I like to think they’ve gotten better since then, but I’ll admit it: Sometimes, my first attempts still fall flat. Unlike my teenage self, I know it and (importantly!) I don’t just shrug my shoulders and hit “send” anyway. While it would certainly be easier to give up and hope my readers will skip to the next paragraph—you know, the one after that ride through “what is she thinking?” land—I know most of you don’t have that much time on your hands. And I know when it comes to considering your own audience, you’re savvy to that observation, too.

But how do you improve a rough-‘n’-tumble beginning? It’s all about the hook.

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3, 2, 1, launch! Get your content strategy out the door

Last month, I covered the three essential content strategy questions you and your business ought to consider before launching so much as a Twitter profile. Let’s recap:

#1. Who is your target client?

#2. What is your product?

#3. What are your short-term and long-term goals?

“So Brittany,” you say, “I’ve thought about all three of these things really hard. Really, really hard. What do I do now?”

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How to figure out your content strategy—and why having one matters

When I first started playing pool, I drove my dad crazy. Not because I was good, but because I was lucky. I’d pull back my cue, whack the ball, and somehow, I’d send the right ball into a pocket (just don’t ask me to call it).

Not having a content strategy can put your website in my position at the pool table. If luck isn’t on your side, you can waste resources on content that doesn’t do a thing to help your business. Taking the time to put strategy behind your content is like lining up a shot: the more forethought you give it, the more knowledge you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Will you win the game in a single turn? Maybe not. But your chances are far greater than if you crossed your fingers and put your success in the hands of Lady Luck.

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If content is king, stories are god

I have a confession to make: I am a story hoarder. From Pocket to Evernote to Goodreads to an old-school paper file, I have stories shoved in every type of technology that could possible hold them. Will I read them all? No—yes!—well, probably not. Why? Because the great thing about stories is that there are always new ones to share and read and, sigh, hoard.

The other great thing about stories: They soar above the buzz of content that’s flooding our consciousnesses. Everywhere you turn, there is something new to read. What is it that you choose to spend your precious time reading and processing and remembering? The one with the great story.

Guess what: It’s not just you who makes that choice—your customer will, too. And here’s why.

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How to humanize your website content

It’s not much of a secret anymore that customers want brands to talk to them rather than at them. If you need proof, look at the rise of storytelling via the increased interest in longreads, Twitter stories, and Vine. Look at customer complaints that focus on phone trees and the dearth of human operators. Look at the popularity of House of Cards, in which Kevin Spacey breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience.

What is a secret is how easy it is to make the change from content of old to content 2.0. It’s not tough to connect with consumers. In fact, you can do it in three easy steps. Read on…

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