Building Emotional Hooks 7 Ways


Have you ever forgotten something right after you read it? I’ll bet that you’re nodding your head.

I recently watched an intriguing “Ted Talks” video Feats of Memory Anyone Can Do. The speaker said, to remember something we have to be able to put some emotional hooks into it. We have to connect the new information to things we already know, or else we forget it.

As writers, bloggers, or speakers this is our challenge; to make our words relatable and memorable. Here are some common connections.


When writing includes some humor, our emotional hooks file some of the information under “funny things”. Later when someone relates a humorous story, we find we Writing - hookscan fish out that specific information we read and re-tell why it made us chuckle. James Watkins, author, speaker, and (self-proclaimed) threat to society, has written on some serious subjects with a touch of humor. He also penned, Writing with Banana Peels – Principles, Practices, and Pratfalls of Writing Humor.

ExpertWriting - hooks 2 Witness

Did you notice my name-dropping above? You may not have recognized the name, but once I explained his qualifications you had a hook to file it under. An expert witness can make the difference in a court case, and it can do the same for your writing.

Writing - hooks - starStar Power

Using a famous personality can enhance your impact. I heard a writer/speaker recall an assignment to write about a new eye surgery procedure. He believed the information alone would not interest readers. During research, he came across several unrelated celebrities who had the same treatment. Then he started the article by listing the famous names and asking the reader what each of these people had in common. Now he was excited about finishing the article.

Writing - hooks - tensionTension

Book authors talk about creating tension often and for good reason – it works. In a novel you raise suspicions, build excitement, and drag your reader closer to the story’s conclusion. In an article, you raise questions, build an argument, and draw readers toward the close.

Writing - hooks - inspireInspiration

Writing that inspires is memorable. We all need to be encouraged. We all need a pick-me-up sometimes. We keep stories in our mind that provide that inspiring lift when we need it. Here’s something to keep in mind as a writer.

If your writing touches a reader’s heart today, they will remember it tomorrow. Click to Tweet


Listen to the news headlines to see this technique in use: “Deadly warning about a food that may be in your refrigerator – right after this.” Use this one sparingly. It can be effective, but it can backfire if the information doesn’t deliver on its importance.

Answer the need

Find a need and write about a possible way to meet it. People with the same need will instantly connect with you because you are considering the same solutions. Those that never heard of the need with learn something new and will file it in their mind under things that they care about.

In most of my writing I inject some humor. Sometimes I’ll pull in an expert witness, and occasionally use star power. I try to keep a particular rhythm and tension to my words. My intention is to inspire you to reach your writing goals. I sometimes allow my fears to show in what I write, but I sincerely hope that I am answering a need.

Writing - hooks- organizeNext week I plan to write on ways writers can get a handle on organization. I thought about doing that for this post, but then I thought maybe I should put the ideas into practice before writing about them. Until then, Write on.

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11 comments on “Building Emotional Hooks 7 Ways
  1. wendymc12 says:

    Great article. I really liked your checklist it had some great points. I will have to check back and read the post on organizing. I think it might be quite helpful.

  2. Pat says:

    Great article. Not sure I do any of these, so I will be keeping tabs on these things in future. And do write the article on being organised. Hope you have some good ideads.
    I need them! 🙂

  3. Vie H. says:

    Great blog, Peter!

  4. This is terrific, a useful checklist to refer back to. A Happy New Year to you sir.

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