Blogging has to be persuasive and informative, written with a rich and distinct voice. You can’t just pick a pen… err, get your hands on a keyboard….and start giving your thoughts words.
Blogging is fun and quite different to other forms of writing, including academic writing. However, it does not mean that essay writing has nothing in common with blogging. At the end of the day, it is all about putting your thoughts out there. Plus, there is a lot one can learn from blogging when it comes to essay writing.
Students who are struggling to find a way to express their ideas in essays can look to the numerous tricks bloggers use. A blog writer has to appeal and reach out to thousands of users. This isn’t as easy as it sounds – one has to come up with great ways to do just that. So without much ado, let’s have a look:
Essay Hooks: the Rubicon of Attention
An essay hook is the beginning part of your essay. It is usually comprised of one to two sentences. Consider it the Rubicon of the reader’s attention. Help them cross it by making your hook interesting.
Students can use tried and tested blogging techniques to lend an interesting dimension to their academic work. And let’s face it; blogging is more fun than academic writing. One does have to get into the pain of citation (APA, Chicago anyone?) and can write their ideas without really having to dig deep. However, the presence of facts and stats always help, and can be a good beginning point.
For example, if you’re writing a piece on smoking, you can always start with something like ‘According to stats these many deaths per year can be attributed to smoking’. This simple stat is grabbing and will hold your reader’s attention.
Attention Saturated World
“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” – Martin Greenberger
Today’s bloggers live in an attention-saturated world. The readers have a lot of options to go to, and it is getting more and more difficult to grab their attention. However, a number of bloggers are successfully doing it and one can learn a lot from them. One of the most important points is to make your writing appealing and readable.
Effective writing needs to include a hook that will draw in the reader. It must keep them glued without going the predictable route. If they already know what’s coming next, they’ll lose interest. It’s definitely not your favorite thriller’s script, but it has to be attention grabbing. Making others read your words is not an easy task, and convincing them with the help of written material is an even tougher battle. This becomes much more difficult when your target audience is a busy professor who is forced to read hundreds of essays and papers every day. If your goal is to write an interesting essay and get good grades then double your efforts and get creative. Instead of using turn of the century vocabulary, use short and simple words that are easy to comprehend. Also, try to summarize your sentences and make sure the point is easily delivered.
Hooks That Will Reel in the Bait
What kind of forms can hooks take? There are lots of styles and forms you can use. There are a few suggestions given below that will work in almost all types of essays. Feel free to get as creative as you want.
- Interesting Story or Anecdote
A bit unorthodox but don’t be afraid of using these. Just keep it short and make sure it fits into the overall argument you make. You can even tell your readers about ‘one time this happened with me…’ and of course, the anecdote does not have to be true! It works with bloggers just fine.
A thought-provoking question will almost instantly get your readers hooked. They will continue to read just to get to the answer. Formulate questions that do not have simple “Yes” or “No” answers. Questions that invoke views across a spectrum are easier to address in the essay. For example, if you’re writing about divorce issues, start with something like ‘Are divorces really due to couple’s own mistakes?’. This will make people think and they’d like to read what you have to say on this matter.
- Literary Quote
An appropriately used literary quote will serve as a great hook. Choose a relevant one and it will also serve an introduction to the ideas you will be exploring.
- Quote from a Famous Person
The words of a popular person hold authority and influence. Writing a quote from a speech is a great hook, but make sure the quote is relevant to your topic and you also mention the person.
- Visual Senses
Describe a visually appealing or emotional scene in vivid words and details.
- Important Statistic
These must be properly researched and established numbers in order to have the powerful effect. Make sure you use authoritative sources and proper attribution. A proven fact will make the reader want to know more, as given in the smoking example above.
- Interesting/Shocking Fact
Use something that isn’t well-known but relevant. It should be related to what you are going to describe.
Writing hooks will become easier with practice. Try to get your professor’s detailed feedback. It will help whether the feedback is negative or positive. Most teachers will have set office hours or hold short question/answer sessions. If the feedback is positive it will serve to motivate you and if negative it will help guide your efforts in the right direction.
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