September 26, 2022 I The Marketing Guru I by Tracy Hoeft

Become a Scroll Stopper

Five, four, three, two, one ... believe it or not, that’s the countdown that determines your success or failure with your store’s video content. You either hook viewers in those first few seconds or they scroll right past you to that hilarious cat video. In those first few seconds, you must prove to the viewer that your video is worth their time. If you want to succeed on YouTube, Instagram or TikTok, you have to master the first five seconds. You must become a scroll stopper.

Before we go any further, put this article down and go watch the first five seconds of your last few videos. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

How did you do? After the first five seconds, did you really want to watch more? Or did you have no idea why anyone would want to watch more? If the answer is the latter, the time is now to learn how to make a good video intro, and how to deliver a strong hook.

What’s a hook you ask? A hook is something that grabs attention and gets a viewer quickly invested in your video. Your job is to hook your viewer in the first few seconds to get them to want to see the rest of your video. A successful hook clearly answers the question, “Why should I watch this?”

There are endless ways to craft an effective hook. Here are three frameworks that can be easily applied to most videos to help you craft hooks for your content.

Ask A Question
When we’re presented with a question to which we don’t know the answer, it opens a loop in our minds, and we all have an internal drive to close any open loop. Starting with a question that your viewer can’t answer is one of the easiest types of hooks. If you are doing a demo on a new product, starting with a question like “Is this new Acme mic as good as people say?” I guarantee this will work better than just saying, “Today I am going to show you the new Acme condenser mic.”

The Promise
Tell viewers what you will tell them. A quick summary of the content or outcome is an effective hook. If you will teach them how to play a song, the hook might be “Learn how to play ‘Stairway To Heaven’ in 60 seconds.”

A statement that would make the user curious will get them to stick around and watch more. Try statements like “You need this if interface if you’re going to gig this fall.” Or “Try this crazy idea.” Or “You have to see this new pedal setup.” These trigger curiosity and, much like asking a question, this can open a powerful mental loop in the viewer’s mind.

Like most new skills, making hooks will get easier with practice. When planning your next video start by outlining your core video content, but before you hit the record button, define a hook that fits. Prioritize the hook, practice making scroll stopping introductions and it will become second nature over time. If you need more inspiration, watch top-performing videos on TikTok and YouTube. Focus on the introductions and you’ll get a masterclass in hooks.

Video are going to continue to be the most important content on social media and across the web, so hooking viewers in is a critical skill. If you commit to making content that your target customers will want to watch and create it all with a hook, you’ll gain a competitive advantage. MI

Tracy Hoeft is the president of Amplify 11, a marketing firm specializing in the musical instrument industry.

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