What Do Fishing Hooks Have in Common With Viral Articles?8 min read

A few months ago I read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, a book that examines how first impressions have a powerful effect on us on a subconscious level.

Or in other words, we do judge a book by its cover.

Now, let’s think about your article. The one you just published.

When it went live, it was shared on your blog. Of course. But it was also made part of a network within a network. It became instantly accessible to anyone who has the resources to connect to the internet. It was indexed by search engines, and it was set for discovery by content curators and aggregators. At the same time, if you opted to share it on social networks, it became available there as well, to be liked, shared, retweeted, and pinned by other users.

But the same thing happens to over 70 million articles every month. This, of course, means that there’s a genuine risk that potential readers might feel too overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of content to even bother to spend more than a fraction of a second on our content.

In the digital world, people see your article in the context of thousands and thousands of other articles that are being shared at the same time, about the same topic, or aggregated by the same outlet or publication.

Now, one thing you should know is that at least 8 out of 10 people who see your article will scroll past it. They will spend less than a few seconds trying to figure out if your article is worth reading or not.

What are they looking for?

Well, they want to be hooked. As simple as that.

In other words, you must convince your readers your article is worth reading even before they click to read it. This, of course, is harder than it sounds.

Because most readers are lazy and bored.

Imagine a long line of…

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