“Did I Ever Tell You About the Time We…”

This post was written by John White on Thu, 20 Jan 2011 17:56:12 +0000
Posted Under: call to action,content marketing,ideal reader,marketing communications writer

Good content should leave your readers wanting more. Really wanting more. What’s the best hook there is?

hook your readersHere’s a new challenge for your marketing communications writer:

Come up with a teaser as good as “Did I ever tell you about the time we…”

The ultimate hook…

Last week I sent e-mail to an old friend, Eric, with whom I’ve only recently re-connected (thanks to LinkedIn).

I asked him to recount an anecdote he’d told me when we were in college about a veterinary mishap with a parakeet. He replied with a number of details I’d long forgotten that made the story even more amusing (“more engaging content,” in marketing terms).

He ended his note with a question so disarmingly simple –

Did I ever tell you about the time we set fire to a Samoyed?

– that it took me a moment to realize that it was how every marketing communications writer would love to finish every piece of content.

With the ultimate hook to the next piece of content.

This was better than all of the chestnuts we trot out to tempt readers to the next bit of content. War horses like:

  • “Call us for more details.”
  • “Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.”
  • “If you liked this post, you’ll probably enjoy…”
  • “Let us know what you think in the comments below.”
  • “But no, wait – there’s more. If you act now, we’ll send you…”

…and the ideal response

So, of course, I had the responses I want the ideal reader of all my content to have:

“No, you didn’t.”

“Please.”

“Tell me.”

Even if I already know the story about the flaming Samoyed or don’t care about it, it’s an achingly good teaser from one piece of good content to another. It’s another way of saying,

I’ve got more stories like this, and I want you to read them.

For Eric and me this is just a conversation. Don’t forget, though, that you and your followers (customers, prospects, influencers, investors) are in just a conversation as well. How can you get a hook like this into your content and elicit this kind of response, the response that asks for more stories, more information, more relationship?

Eventually, of course, you need a call to action that will result in money for your product or service, but this is a good way to keep readers following you through the sales funnel.

So, two questions for you:

  1. Did you ever set fire to a Samoyed? (translation: Do you have the next piece of content ready for your followers?)
  2. Can you get your marketing writer to turn it into the next hit?

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a marketing communications writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s dirty work, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Marketing Communications Writer.”

photo credit: Let Ideas Compete

Reader Comments

Excellent piece. I’m looking forward to cleaning up the cliffhangers at the end of some of my content using this.

#1 
Written By Mani on February 3rd, 2011 @ 15:26