We see a LOT of clients that lose half of their viewers in the first 20 seconds of their video. This is DETRIMENTAL to your YouTube growth and not something we want to see happen.

We all want stronger hooks that lead to videos viewers stay to watch the whole time… but how do we do that?

Have you ever watched a video where virtually nothing is happening (or nothing super interesting) and you catch yourself halfway through the video going, “why the heck am I watching this?” but you can’t stop?

What about a video where you just need to figure out how to do something and the person takes 5 minutes just to get to the point?

What is the difference between those 2 videos?

Here’s everything you need to know to increase your retention by crafting better hooks.

  1. Your title is your first hook. If your title/thumbnail doesn’t set an expectation or intrigue your viewer, it doesn’t matter how amazing your video is… because no one will watch it. If you’ve been on this email list for any length of time, you know how much we talk about the importance of titles and thumbnails, but you probably need to put way more time into this than you currently are doing.
  2. Drop your viewers in the middle of the action. Have you ever watched an action movie? Think Marvel. Almost every opening scene starts with a fight scene, car chase, etc. As a viewer, your brain starts to piece together what is happening and why there’s a fight going on. Once you do, you’re usually invested at that point and ready to watch the rest of the film.
  3. Bring your viewer back to the beginning. We have this tendency to want to give context before telling our stories (which is what we do in our videos), but it’s okay to drop your viewers in the middle of the action and then explaining context later. Marvel also does a great job of this — especially in their recent shows WandaVision and Captain America and the Winter Soldier. For the majority of these shows, you’re walking through the present without context and slowly getting flashbacks and revealing more and more of the story until you’re caught up by the end. This only creates more intrigue and tension so that you have to keep watching to know what happens.
  4. Form an emotional connection. At Video Creators, we’re often stressing to our creators that we need to make videos for PEOPLE, not robots. In other words, we need to create videos that make our viewers feel something. That connects with them somehow. In Ted Talks, you’ll see something like this when a speaker shares a story that most of the audience can either relate to or they feel a sense of shared vulnerability from them and the speaker. How can you create an emotional connection in your hooks to draw your viewer in from the get go?
  5. Start with a surprising statement. Every niche is different and we’re not saying you need to do all of these things in one video to have a good hook, but one sure fire way to get people to hang out on your video is to say something surprising or shocking – even controversial. This could be a statistic, quote, or telling a crazy story. This can also be a tool you use to form that emotional connection with your viewer. Don’t do this just for the sake of being shocking, but rather to lead into the point of your video.
  6. Leave the viewer with questions. GREAT hooks leave people with questions. “What comes next?” “Why did they do that?” “What do I NEED to know?” Think about that as you’re deciding how to start your videos. Think about who you like that does this the best and try to experiment with different hooks.
  7. Stay AWAY from description. If your title is “how to turn on a lamp”… please do not open your video with “Hi! My name is ______. Welcome back to my channel. Today I’m going to teach you how to turn on a lamp.” They know. That’s why they clicked on your video. Your viewer also doesn’t really care about you yet, so they don’t need you to introduce yourself. Lean more into curiosity – just do stuff. Leave your audience with questions. And they’ll figure it out.

Just remember to answer some of the questions you’ve raised in the hook. If you leave your viewer with ALL of their questions unanswered by the end of the video, you will frustrate your viewer. That’s where they can feel misled or like there was no payoff for them.

Again, this will look different for entertainment vs. education and like any craft, this will take time and practice to find what works, but just get started.

What resonates the most with you? Where do you feel like you struggle the most with hooks?

Let us know. Thanks for reading!

Keep changing lives,


P.S. Need more help with KEEPING your viewer’s engaged for your entire video? We’d love to help! .