Biography Essay Definition Of Love
And you have to find perfect hooks for an essay even when you don’t know what to write about.
When you are asked to write an essay, it doesn’t mean that you don’t get to express your own thoughts and creativity. An essay shouldn’t be boring or too formal. As a writer, your first priority is to make sure that you are keeping your audience in mind and writing for them and to them. That means grabbing and keeping their attention so that they want to read every word.
This is exactly why the essay hook exists and is such an important tool.
The use of hooks in writing goes far beyond just essays and college papers. Every writer, copywriter, screenwriter, and storyteller uses this device to draw in readers and keep them hooked. For example, world-famous ad executive, David Ogilvy, relied on a list of 29 “magic words” that he used in titles in order to hook a client’s attention.
College essay hooks can be difficult to generate, especially when you are still working on clarifying what your essay is going to say. So, the very first step in writing a strong essay hook is to do some planning.
This type of hook is appropriate when you are writing about a particular author, story, literary phenomenon, book, etc. Using a quote will make your essay sound fresh and establish your authority as an author.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” These words of Nick Carraway perfectly describe…”
“Not all those who wander are lost.” And yes, indeed, every person is so…”
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” Agree or not, but these words from The Alchemist determine…”
Including a quote from an authoritative and influential person can help support your argument and create an intriguing hook. The key is to make sure that you clearly show how the quote is relevant to your essay.
“John Wooden once said, ‘Never mistake activity for achievement.'”
“Learn to laugh” were the first words from my kindergarten teacher after Ralph Thorsen spilled paint on my daffodil picture.
Don’t be afraid to employ this type of hook. Remember, even if you start with a humorous anecdote, it doesn’t mean that your entire essay has to be funny. A bit of humor can help you grab readers’ attention and spark their interest in the topic.
“As my cousin and I pedaled our new bikes to the beach, 6 years old, suntanned and young, we met an old, shaggy-haired man weaving unsteadily on a battered old bike.”
“When I was a young boy, my father worked at a coal mine. For 27 years, he made it his occupation to scrape and claw and grunt his way into the bowels of the earth, searching for fuel. On April 19, 2004, the bowels of the earth clawed back.”
Keep in mind that most essay assignments will ask you to avoid using the first person. Be sure to check any requirements before using “I” in your writing.
Almost nothing can attract interest better than a well-constructed question. Readers will want to continue reading your essay in order to discover the answer. Be sure to avoid simple “Yes” or “No” questions and try to pose questions that ask reader to consider the other side or engage in some critical thinking.
“What would you do if you could play God for a day? That’s exactly what the leaders of the tiny island nation of Guam tried to answer.”
“Have you ever wondered, whether Anna Karenina still loved Alexei if she hadn’t decided to commit a suicide?”
People respond well to visual cues. Taking the time to set a detailed scene will help your reader have a clear picture in their minds and create an effective hook. You can describe an incident or detail the particular features of a person or a character to help the readers become immersed in your writing.
“The day of his birth began with Hurricane Charlie pounding at our door in Charleston, South Carolina.”
“Deciding to attend Hampton Roads Academy, a private school, was one of my most difficult decisions.”
These types of hooks start by surprising the reader with something that may not have known. Provide an interesting fact about something you are going to discuss in your essay’s body and your audience will want to keep reading to learn more.
“Spain, though hardly a literary juggernaut, translates more books in one year than the entire Arab world has in the past one thousand years.”
“Amiable is the best way to describe Elizabeth’s personality: she was friendly and caring.”
There is no harm in getting right to the point. Start with your main argument and use the rest of your essay to support your point of view. If you have an interesting take on a subject, readers will want to see where you came up with your idea.
“It is time, at last, to speak the truth about Thanksgiving, and the truth is this. Thanksgiving is really not such a terrific holiday. . .”
“Humans need to invest more time and money into space exploration because Earth is on a certain path to destruction.”
The most interesting essays will teach the readers something new. If you start your introduction by showing that a commonly accepted truth is actually false, your readers will be instantly hooked.
“Any parent will tell you that goldfish are a great first pet for a child. They hardly need any attention, and they won’t be around for too long. Flushing a goldfish in its first week is pretty common—it even happened to my first goldfish. But it turns out that goldfish aren’t as helpless as we all think.”
“While most coffee enthusiasts would tell you that their favorite drink comes from a bean, they would be wrong. Coffee is actually made from a seed that is simply called a bean.”
By listing proven facts at the very beginning of your paper, you will create interest that can be carried throughout the rest of the essay.
“The average iceberg weighs over 100,000 metric tons.”
“70% of all jobs found today were got through different networking strategies”
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Depending on the style of essay you are writing (narrative, persuasive, personal, critical, argumentative, deductive, etc.), the type of hook you will want to use will vary. Remember, your essay hook is just a tip of an iceberg and it will not guarantee that the rest of your essay will work. Be sure to organize your research and start with an outline before deciding on the best hook to start your essay. The right choice can make your paper truly interesting and worth reading.
Written by Lesley J. Vos, our blog writer and essay proofreader. Lesley is a big fan of reading, and she is always ready to help students come up with good ideas for their papers and reach their academic goals. You can always find her on Facebook and Google+.
Talking about yourself is hard. Doing it in 160 characters or less is even harder.
That’s probably why so many of us end up stressed about crafting the perfect professional bio for Twitter – or LinkedIn, Facebook or other social networks.
It has to set you apart, but still reflect approachability. Make you look accomplished, but not braggy. Appear professional, with just a touch of the personal. Bonus points for a bit of humor thrown in, because hey, social media is fun!
All that in just a few sentences? No wonder The New York Times called the Twitter bio “a postmodern art form.”
In this post, we’ll go over the universal principles to write a great social media bio – regardless of the network. We’ll also take a look at the big social media networks – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ – and discover how to make the most of the bio space provided by each.
Six rules to write a foolproof bio
“Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” – Henry David Thoreau
Yes, a bio on social media needs to be brief – and that can be tricky. But instead of lamenting the bio’s space constraints, treat it as an opportunity – after all, writing short has its rewards in social media. Think of the bio like a copywriting exercise or a six-word memoir.
A professional bio on a social network is an introduction – a foot in the door so your potential audience can evaluate you and decide if you’re worth their time.
In that way, it’s a lot like a headline you’re deciding whether or not to click – a small window to make a big impression.
“A formula I learned about writing short poetry is that ultimately what you’re looking for is focus, wit and evidence of polish,” says Roy Peter Clark, author of How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times, in an interview with TIME.
“Focus means that we have a keen understanding of what the message is about, wit meaning there’s a governing intelligence behind the prose, polish meaning there’s that one little grace note, that one little word in a tweet that sounds like us in an authentic way.”
Pack in as much focus, wit and polish as possible by by employing these principles.
1. Show, don’t tell: “What have I done” > “Who I am”
Lots of us are fans, enthusiasts, thinkers and gurus on our social media profiles. But might it be more powerful if we talked instead about harnessing ideas, wrangling revenue, obsessing over culture and shepherding our teams?
The “show, don’t tell” principle of writing means focusing on what you do, not who you are – and that means action verbs. Try this list of action verbs for resumes and see if any of them add a little power to your profile.
LinkedIn senior manager for corporate communications Krista Canfield says the more details, the better to add some show to your tell.
“Don’t just say you’re creative. Make sure you reference specific projects you worked on that demonstrate your creativity,” she says.
2. Tailor your keywords specifically to your audience
“Your Twitter bio should position you as an expert in your field who serves a specific audience,” says Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself.
According to a PayScale Inc. study Schwabel was involved in, 65% of managers want to hire and promote subject matter experts.
Skip the generalist route and focus on what you’re an expert at. Those areas of focus are your keywords, and they should be front and center in any professional bio. All social media profiles are searchable to some degree, so being specific positions you to be able to be found easily for what you’re best at.
3. Keep language fresh and avoid buzzwords like the following:
It happens – a once loved and useful word stops being so useful when it’s overtaxed. In your professional bio, think over the language and make sure it feels fresh, not overused.
Check out the Twitter Bio Generator and Silly Twitter Bio to see some bio cliches in action.
LinkedIn recently compiled its most overused words for 2013. Are any of these in your bio?
Top 10 Overused LinkedIn Profile Buzzwords of 2013 from LinkedIn
4. Answer one question for the reader: “What’s in it for me?”
No matter what feats you’ve accomplished, potential followers mostly want to know one thing about you: What’s in it for me? In marketing, that’s known as a value proposition – the promise of value to be delivered. What can followers expect from you? What value do you bring?
5. Get personal and hire a stand-up comedian to write your bio
That last little tidbit of the bio – usually where a funny quip or a more personal fact goes – often trips us up the most. Being funny is tough – that’s why social media agency owner Gary Vaynerchuk often hires stand-up comedians to write social media posts. And it’s tough to pick one element of a fully rounded personality to focus on.
The key again, is specificity. Lots of us love social media, coffee and bacon. But if you love llamas, jelly donuts and spelunking, you just might stand out and connect with some interesting new people. Tell a one-of-a-kind story. What hobbies and passions are uniquely yours?
6. Revisit often
As your skills, areas of interest and expertise evolve, so should your bio. Check it every quarter or so to make sure it still reflects you the best it can.
“The very best practitioners of short writing on blogs, on social networks, are people who are working over their prose. They’re revising it, with the same care they would if they were putting it on paper,” says Clark.
How to max out your bio on each social network
Now that we’ve got an idea of what makes a great social media bio, let’s look at each social network specifically. Here’s a quick cheat sheet from Unbounce to get started.
What you get: A 160-character bio, plus space for a link and your location.
How to: When logged in to Twitter, click Me, then “Edit Profile.”
Stellar Twitter bios
Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State
Why it works: In a word, humor. Hillary doesn’t need to drum up awareness – we know who she is. But modifiers like “pantsuit aficionado” help us see her in a new light.
Maria Popova, Brainpickings.org
Why it works: A pitch-perfect value proposition. You know exactly what you’ll get if your follow.
Joel Gascoigne, Buffer founder and CEO
Why it works: OK, this may be cheating. But check out that string of excellent and specific keywords!
What you get: “About You” section, including the freeform “Write About Yourself” prompt, Work and Education, “Professional Skills” area and Favorite Quotations section
How to: From your Facebook page, click on “About,” then “Update Info.”
Here, you can edit any of your About sections.
What you get: Lots! LinkedIn is home base for all your professional accomplishments, but we’ll focus on your headline and summary.
How to: Logged into LinkedIn, click “Profile” and choose “Edit” from the drop-down menu.
Stellar LinkedIn bios
Krista Canfield, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications at LinkedIn
Why it works: If a LinkedIn manager can’t nail her bio, what chance do the rest of us have? Luckily, Krista does. A reader gets a great sense of who she is from this passage, and the passion shines through strongly. Plus, lots of great verbs!
Brian Massey, The Conversion Scientist
Why it works: If a bio is like an elevator pitch in writing, this one gets you hooked in a hurry by using the power of storytelling.
Demian Farnworth, writer at Copyblogger
Why it works: It’s personal, humble without being a humblebrag and it tells a story by describing the problems content faces – and how Demian solves them.
What you get: Google+ offers you space for your “Story,” including a Tagline, Introduction and Bragging Rights sections. (There’s also space for work history and links.)
How to: Logged into Google+, click on Profile, then About, then the Edit button of the specific section you want to edit.
Let’s see your bios!
Want to share your own bio, or your company’s? Paste it into the comments so we can see more great examples!
We’ll join the fun first. Here’s Buffer’s bio on Facebook:
How did we do? Go ahead; we can take it. 🙂
If you liked this post, you might also like “10 Big, Recent Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Changes You Should Know for a Better Social Media Strategy” and “7 Hilarious And Smart Twitter Bios To Check Out.”
P.S. Once you’ve got your bio down, why not optimize your social media sharing next? Recently we launched brand new Buffer for Business, with Google Analytics support, fan and follower growth options and more. Check it out and see if it can help your social media efforts.
Top Photo Credit: anyjazz65 via Compfightcc