Teacher Insights- YA Book Review of Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Feel free to chime in if you read Graceling or if you’re considering reading it.

Snapshot of Max, A Teen You Might Recognize

He struggles to finish an essay on Notability this morning before school, but with help from Siri, Max doesn’t have to hear his mother say, “Look up the word in the Dictionary,” as her mother used to cajole. EasyBib.com creates his Works Cited entry for him. Whew. Done. Why do they teach this stuff anyway? He checks his “Here Comes the Bus” app and packs up as soon as his bus enters the target zone in Maps. “Bye Mom!”

Max’s classroom instruction is a mix of lecture, group discussion, and self-guided work via his iPad. When the teacher isn’t looking, he and the others sneak silly pictures of each other and filter them through face-squeezing, picture editing apps or they surf the web, all with earbuds in their ears listening to rap. It’s too bad the school filters out certain websites, but there’s always a work around and he knows the kid in the class that knows all of them. Max nonchalantly touches the screen he’s supposed to be reading when the teacher turns around and stares.

After cross country practice, Max delays doing his work on Canvas to check sales on his Ebay account. Fantastic! It looks like someone finally bid on that skateboard he got for his birthday two years ago. Now, he’ll have money for a better skateboard he wants to buy. Max then checks his stream and likes on Twitter and Instagram. Who’s the bare butt following him on Twitter? Block. He’s not one of those kids. Max takes a moment to Skype one of his 1000 Subscribers to his hobbyist YouTube account. These guys are his best friends and they live all over the country—in Michigan, North Carolina, and California. He knows the friend in California is still at school, so he leaves a note for him on a forum to be read later. He notices that an older teen who posted a YouTube video degrading an eight-year-old’s video already has twenty-five nasty comments deriding the youngster in support of the older teen. Should Max post a comment in defense of the kid being bullied or say nothing? It reminds him of his bus ride home only worse. He decides to play a few rounds of Minecraft, while munching on graham crackers and milk. Then, he opens his lap top and starts to read tonight’s homework and to watch the teacher’s instructional videos.

Does Max sound like a teenager you know? Max lives at home and virtually everywhere else.


He pulls Graceling by Kristen Cashore out of his backpack. He chose to read Graceling for his independent book project due in a couple weeks. He thought it might be cool because of the sword on the front cover and a woman’s eye staring at him. But, it’s thick and he hopes it doesn’t turn out to be a stupid girl book. The print seems big enough. He probably would have chosen another novel, but the other kids were faster to the teacher’s book shelf.

Questions to Probe in Kristin Cashore’s Graceling 

In “Young Adult Literature in the 21st Century; Moving Beyond Traditional Constraints and Conventions” Jeffrey S. Kaplan notices that “The authors of many articles say, the world of young adult literature is being transformed by topics and themes that years ago would have never been conceived” (11). His and other writers’ observations suggest new questions that critical analysis discussions might address today.


  1. Science Fiction in the Post-human Age: Do human values and human nature prevail no matter what the human body endures? (14)


  1. Stretching the Boundaries and Blurring the Lines of Young Adult Genre: Are there identifiable markers that identify a novel as a particular genre or as fiction or fact? (16)


  1. Identity: What choices have been made in the creation of today’s novels that influence how teenagers are being constructed as adolescents and how do such constructions compare with each teen’s own attempts to form his or her own identity? (16) How do young people find who they are if they live in a seemingly rootless social world? (17)


The Appeal of Fantasy to Teens

Fantasy Island was a television show that entranced viewers in the 1970s. Pay $50,000 and you too can stay on an island for three days to have your fantasy come true.

The appeal was as obvious then as it is today. Escape the chaos. Be whoever you want to be. Make your world right again. Live in a fantasy—if only until you finish the book. The danger of the fantasy novel arrives the day a parent discovers that her teenage daughter crawled out of a second-story window to sit on the roof to gaze at the sky willing that vampires exist— clearly influenced by a scene from the tween’s favorite vampire series.

If that same teenage girl had read Graceling, she instead might sign up for judo or fencing. She might kick the kickball a little harder in P.E. or stand up to a bully at the lunch table. In Graceling, the protagonist, Katsa, is gifted with the grace of killing (actually survival) and is capable of outlasting very formidable male characters on her journey to save seven kingdoms. Do any men sweep in to save Katsa? No, but she does fall in love with a man who helps her to identify and to accept who she is. She does the same for him. The relationship is balanced and equal, which is refreshing and a healthy example for both females and males.

Measuring Graceling to the Questions posed by Kaplan’s Article

Graceling does rub shoulders with post-human age literature. However, the setting, like a fantasy video game, is held in a Renaissance-like world with horses; campfires; hot baths poured by hand; and hunting with daggers or bows and arrows. Because Katsa and anyone, who has eyes with two different colors, is “graced” with an almost super-human skill, in the kingdom of Randa, where Katsa grows up, she is ostracized and feared. She does have a handful of friends, but her skill puts her at odds with most citizens. Her skill makes her valuable. Power-hungry, egotistical kings (Randa and Leck) desire to use Katsa as their thug killer. They employ psychological entrapment to try to manipulate Katsa. Through her interactions with her friends, she learns that she has the power, the will, inside voice, and the choice to be who she wants to be. She learns to accept herself. In Graceling, yes, human values and human nature prevail no matter what the human body endures.

Students will be able to recognize that this is a fantasy novel, however, the idea of embracing and developing special talents might heighten after reading the work. The novel realistically addresses mastering a temper or overcoming a stronger opponent and the fact that most girls are physically weaker than boys. Katsa makes the argument that weaker beings should therefore be trained to become stronger to defend themselves.

Asking students how and why this novel was constructed will provide insight into the lack of novels like it on the market– where a woman saves a man. Graceling was constructed to fill the void of strong and capable female characters who don’t need to be saved. Katsa evolves with help from others, but she is not saved by them. Boys will find capable men who help and are helped by Katsa. Like a journey into a video game, the paths of Katsa and Po – are explored with curiosity about what’s around the next bend.

One Teacher’s Suggestions for Using Graceling with Students

As a teacher, I wouldn’t spend instructional time on Graceling in a middle school or high school setting, however I would use it as supplementary or independent reading or to deconstruct writing with certain students or populations. I love the play of the characters, but would shy away from the descriptions of torture, romantic sex scenes, incest, sadomasochism, cutting, and animal mutilation. Sadly, these are topics that kids today are exposed to and are dealing with, but in a general classroom setting a read like this could spell trouble. I’d be very selective with the book. I think it would be an uplifting read for students who like fantasy, but have a good grip on reality; who could use a self-esteem boost; who are struggling with anger; who are the youngest in their families; who are bullied by peers or adults; who are exceptionally bright but searching for their special talents, career, or direction in life; or those who want to become better writers to learn technique from Cashore’s debut novel.

What Would Max Say?

“For my book report, I chose Graceling, by Kristin Cashore,”

Max mutters while fumbling and looking down at his notecards. It took forever for Max to get half-way through his book pick that has 471 pages. He won’t mention that, of course, because he doesn’t want to disappoint the teacher or get a bad grade. He didn’t finish the book in two weeks because he’s a slow reader and there were cross country practices, meets, and a boatload of homework given by teachers the week after NWEA testing. So, he turned to Cliff Notes to get through the rest of his report.

“My favorite characters in the book are Katsa and Raffin, but Po is cool, too.” He does like Katsa. She’s strong and able to waste entire armies. She reminds him of a few girls on his school’s soccer team. He’d like to meet a girl like that, but not get into a fight with her. He could relate to Katsa. Because of Max’s strength– compared to his little brother’s—his dad told Max to defend his little brother if other boys teased. Once he shoved a kid to the ground for taking his little brother’s books.

“Giddon, a noble, likes Katsa but she doesn’t want to get married. She has a bad temper about it.” He could relate to a girl with a bad temper. Sometimes Max’s older sister was crabby like that and would throw a punch when their parents weren’t looking.

“Katsa and Po fall in love, though Katsa doesn’t want to get married.” Max can’t understand why Katsa wouldn’t want to marry a guy like Po. If she doesn’t want to marry someone who is strong, handsome, kind, and smart then who would she want to marry? Girls are so confusing. He wouldn’t want to fall for a girl who’d push him away. He wouldn’t act like Po. He’d probably find a different girl, though if he really thought the girl was cool, maybe he’d stick around. Maybe. Typical girl story…

“This is a fantasy book. What I would change is to make Raffin heal Po’s eyes in the end. I liked the book and would recommend it…especially to girls.” <Class laughter> He bobs his head and fist pumps as he sits down.

“Did I get a good grade?”

Of course, not every teenage boy or girl will see Graceling this way. Setting up students with plenty of time to read the entire book, thoughtful focus questions, and subsequent discussions will make the read more meaningful.



Works Cited


Cashore, Kristin, Jeffery C. Mathison, and Cathy Riggs. Graceling. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2008. Print.


Kaplan, Jeffrey. “The Research Connection- Young Adult Literature in the 21st Century: Moving Beyond

Traditional Constraints and Conventions.” The ALAN Review ALAN 32.2 (2005): n. pag. The Alan

Review. The Alan Review, Winter 2005. Web. 26 Aug. 2016.



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Filed under Education Strategy, Women Writers, YA Book Reviews & Teacher Insights

Pursuing Informatics

There’s no doubt that finding meaning in the data your company has amassed is necessary to staying competitive. But, as you scan your available talent pool, you might be wondering, “Who?” Who will be able to make sense of it all?

Differences between Informatics and Computer Science

According to Charles P. Friedman in “What informatics is or isn’t”, “Sciences basic to informatics include, but are not limited to: information science, computer science, cognitive science, and organizational science (224).” He goes on to say that informatics is NOT “scientists or clinicians tinkering with computers (225).”

In “What is biomedical informatics,” Bernstam, Smith, and Johnson suggest “information technology-oriented definitions focus on technology and tools…These definitions usually emphasize computer-based technologies.” They reason that “clearly, computers are very important tools for biomedical informaticians. Many activities associated with biomedical informatics such as data mining or electronic medical records would not be meaningful without computers. However, by focusing on computers, technology-based definitions emphasize tools rather than the work itself. (105)”

If you want to find the “why” of a problem or even potential solutions, delve into informatics. Berstam, Smith, and Johnson define it as, “the science of information, where information is defined as data with meaning (106).”

Social Drivers for the use of Information Technology

At digital marketing conferences, you’ll hear speakers discuss the latest innovations in data gathering as key to having better “personalized” results. While the driving facade is always “we want to better meet customer needs,” there’s no doubt that banks, hospitals, search companies, and businesses in general are driven by economic gain.

An altruistic view of informatics could be applied to education. Educators use online testing and measurement companies to gather and plot data, so that our teachers can analyze and strategize to improve professional development reports, curriculum, and lesson plans. But, while the driver in any given district is to bring special needs students to the next benchmark or give AP students specific problem areas and resources needed to obtain higher test scores, third party testing companies could be using student information to develop a broader portfolio of data collection and problem-solving services for economic reasons. Data could be shared, in some cases, with partner vendors to develop services identified to address district needs. Additionally, the government could access data. In 2014, My Web Writers published “Do You Trust the Internet?” about how to protect children from data gathering.

Information is power.

According to an April 15, 2014 article entitled, Study Finds Big Data is the Driving Force Behind Growth in Public Cloud Services, “public cloud providers are using big data to drive their own operations, get new customers and expand product portfolios. According to the analysis, the turnover of the 50 leading public cloud providers increased by 47 percent to $6.2 billion in the fourth quarter compared with the same period last year.” The increase in the Cloud size indicates an increase in the public’s thirst for knowledge.

On the bright side, advancements in cures for diseases, delivery of food, water, and medicines to third world countries, or forging new technologies into space are closer than before because of advancements in this field.

Is Informatics a Science? 

Because the government and corporate world are thirsty for talent who can interpret data and knowledge into information, one suspects the question of whether or not informatics is a science can be waved in favor of it being a science. Companies enroll employees in college programs to develop talent because the potential pay-off for corporate profit is so great. College administrators know a money-making degree when they see one. Informatics may or may not be a science, but a degree in it will give one a competitive edge today.

According to a mini lecture by Josette Jones, Mayo says, “A science has:

  1. a theoretical foundation, a set of generally accepted principles and well-supported general hypotheses, termed a paradigm by Kuhn (1970).
  2. a set of well-validated methods and techniques that do not depend on the underlying paradigm, although interpretation of the results of these methods may depend on the current paradigm.
  3. the ability to directly test hypotheses through empiricism.
  4. the ability to attribute failures in testing to specific features of a hypothesis.
  5. the ability to question the underlying paradigm of the discipline (Week 1 p. 3).”

Bertam et al. suggest that “Defining the central study of informatics as data + meaning allows us to distinguish informatics as a science from computer science, mathematics, statistics, the biomedical sciences and other related fields. It also clarifies each of these fields in informatics” (107).

Validating methods, testing, and attribution can be answered by the Tower of Achievement model as presented by Friedman. The steps of model formation, system development, system deployment, and study of effects nicely address the above list of requirements to be a science.

Friedman's Tower of Achievement


Commonalities between all sub-disciplines of Informatics

Finding the meat of the matter unifies the various sub-disciplines of informatics. E.V. Bernstam et al. say that “Despite the lack of agreement, most definitions, regardless of their category, focus on data, information and knowledge as central objects of study in informatics (105).”

Lingering Questions about Informatics

How will the bar rise as artificial technology continues to better decipher meaning? To what extent would the field change if computers advance enough to determine significant meaning or question the underlying paradigms or disciplines? Deciding who determines meaning and how he or she determines it before programming AI or artificial intelligence requires attention. Courses in informatics ethics should be required.

The science of informatics is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing on (and contributing to) a large number of other component fields, including computer science, decision science, information science, management science, cognitive science, and organizational theory. ~ AMIA.

Consider cross-training your staff in informatics to continue developing your company’s competitive edge.


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#ThankATeacher for Teacher Appreciation Week

The caterpillar is a curious little bug. It eats and eats and then wraps into a cocoon– slowly transforming into a butterfly.

This week is teacher appreciation week. Who should you thank for transforming your raw talent into professional genius? Slowly, you grew into your best self—flying like a butterfly. #ThankATeacher!

He or she saw a spark in your eye and fueled it. You smiled more, stayed awake, and loved learning. Where would you be without certain teachers at particular intersections in your life?

Sadly though, some of our best teachers aren’t staying in the profession. They’re born to teach, but they choose other careers.


NBC explored teacher shortages at the start of the 2015 school year.

Educators stay out of or leave teaching for many reasons. They lack support, are dissuaded by excessive paperwork, or low pay. The average educator spends thousands of dollars on college tuition, tests, certification expenses, and supplies. Conversely, the income earned by teachers limps along at $30,000 – $50,000 per year. A substitute teacher makes even less at $65 – $75 per day.


Teacher Appreciation Week Ideas

How can you show appreciation to a teacher this week?

  • Write a grateful note to those teachers you remember (and even those you’d like to forget.)
  • Volunteer at your child’s school.
  • Give back financially to pay for supplies.
  • Visit a retired teacher in a nursing home.
  • Participate in these five other ways to give back to teachers.

Your flight wouldn’t be the same without inspiration from those special teachers who shaped you along the way. Take a moment to demonstrate gratitude during teacher appreciation week.

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Adwords, Facebook, and Twitter Advertising Tips for Small Businesses

Online advertising is an infinitely growing area of expertise that can seem downright daunting to the average business owner. How much money do you need to spend? What platform will help you reach your target audience? How can you do better than your competitors?Adwords, Facebook, and Twitter...

These are all important questions! While they cannot be simply answered in a sentence or two, we can provide you with a starting point for better understanding the best practices of advertising through Adwords, Facebook and Twitter. Take a look!


Adwords is Google’s online advertising program and a smart place to start if you’re just jumping into online advertising. Luckily, Google provides a depth of information to help you understand what they offer and how to get started. First, explore their different campaigns and identify which one is right for meeting your goals. Google will then walk you through setting a budget, formatting your campaign and choosing your keywords and placement.

If you’re ready to get a bit more advanced with your Adwords campaign, here are five strategies and money-making tips worth trying. One of the hottest features, and one you’ve likely experienced personally, is Google’s product-specific remarketing. You can advertise the exact product a customer was viewing on your site, allowing you to hit a hot lead and close the sale.


Shifting the gears toward social media advertising, it’s only fitting to begin this conversation with a highlight of Facebook advertising opportunities for small businesses. Facebook is one of the largest and best ways small businesses can reach their target audience, build “likes” and push people to their website through social media. But you can also waste a lot of money, too, if you don’t know the basics.

Much like Google Adwords, Facebook has made it simple and straightforward to learn about their advertising options and get started creating an ad. But, also like Adwords, not all campaigns are created equal. You want to create several different versions of an ad (varying photos and test) and test it out before fully committing to your final version. You can track the clicks and then choose the best performing ad to run with.

Instead of creating traditional ads, you can also pay a little bit to boost a post. For example, if you are announcing a new product or promotion via a post on your business’s Facebook page, you can pay to boost this post and several thousand more users for an investment of only a few dollars. But be sure to share a link or call to action to encourage people to visit your website or make a purchase based upon your post!


Last but not least, let’s talk Twitter advertising. Start by logging in and exploring your own advertising dashboard. You can see recent and popular tweets with the opportunity to promote them, similar to Facebook. A new addition to Twitter is their conversational ads which aim to make it easier for users to share and promote your brand with the simple click of a call to action button. For small businesses, this may be a good option for you if you want your customers to easily share your products or links to your content. The addition of hashtags makes this an even more powerful advertising tool.

Most importantly, keep in mind that you can dump a ton of money into Twitter (or any type of online) advertising without achieving meaningful results unless you are strategic with the content in your ads. Carefully think through your promotions and include calls to action. You’re paying for people to see your campaign, now what do you want them to do with the information? Be sure you have an answer to this question before you spend any money on Adwords, Facebook or Twitter!

Do you currently use Adwords, Facebook or Twitter to advertise your business or brand? Share what you’ve learned or ask a question by commenting below!


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Pay Per Click, Impressions, Display, or Text- Choose the Right Adwords Options for Your Business

Google Adwords is a powerful and robust internet marketing tool, but only if you know how to use it. Countless options and advancements continue to roll out, making it challenging to stay on top of the latest trends and to really know all the options that are available to you.

For businesses, there are four basic types of campaigns you can run through Adwords that will help you reach your target audience. Here’s an essential overview of how each of these options work to help you decide which one will give you the biggest bang for your buck!Pay Per Click...

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay Per Click online marketing campaigns (PPC) are pretty much what they sound like. Search engines (like Google) allow you to buy listings that appear in their search results when people search for terms that are relevant or related to what you’re trying to advertise. These listings appear along with the organic, non-paid search results and are denoted with a small “AD” symbol.

PPC campaigns are great because you bid as much as you want to pay and only pay when you receive a click. However, if you’re competing for very popular search terms, another business can easily outbid your budget which will decrease the amount of times your ad appears in search results, thus decreasing the amount of clicks you receive back to your website.

PPC campaigns are a good starting point for businesses just beginning to explore internet advertising. Google allows you to start, pause and stop campaigns at any time, change your keywords and adjust the run-time and your audience as often as you wish.

Impressions (CPM)

Through Google Adwords, you can run a Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) campaign in which you pay for the number of times your ad is shown; however, there is no guarantee that users will click on or engage with your ad.

CPM works through a bidding process similar to PPC. You tell Google how much you’re willing to pay per thousand impressions. This type of campaign is best suited for businesses who are focused on brand awareness, not so much a direct call to action.


The Google Display Network includes all types of ads (text, image, interactive and video) and places these ads on websites that are relevant to what you’re trying to sell. The main benefit is that you’re reaching an audience that is going to be most interested in your service or product.

Display ads go beyond search engines and allow your message to be placed on countless websites where you can reach your target audience even if they’re not specifically searching for your type of business. This type of advertising is ideal for new and non-standard businesses that users may not know to search for. Display ads help you find and get in front of potential customers without them having to first find you.


Lastly, a text ad is the standard type of AdWords ad. Typically, this includes a link to your website and a 2-line description of your product or service. The title of your ad is also clickable to further drive traffic. These ads can appear on Google search results pages and across the Google Network, often with a label that denotes this text as an advertisement.

Text ads must be brief and attention-grabbing. As the name implies, you only have text to draw in your audience and entice them to click on your link. This type of Adwords advertising is best for businesses who have a clear and direct call to action and are not as concerned with building brand recognition.

Try Google Adwords to promote your brand or business. You can go it alone with Google’s help or hire a company to manage your Adwords campaigns for you.


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Filed under Adwords, PPC, Search Engine Marketing

The State of SEO- Pillars and Changes

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an ever-changing and ever-growing field of expertise. To add to the complexity of this vast topic, there are so many unknowns – even by the people who are closely linked to implementing some of these major changes (we’re looking at you, Google).State of SEO

While the Internet is responsible for producing these constant changes, it has also become a great source of information to stay in the know. Let’s take a look at the latest predictions for 2016’s pillars and trends as they relate to SEO.

Pillars and Predictions – What Will Shape the Face of SEO?

Mobile searches will surpass desktopMobile searches will finally reach the point at which the majority of spend, organic traffic and paid clicks come from mobile devices rather than desktop and laptop searches.

Voice searches will change how we advertise Voice searches are on the rise from mobile devices and even in vehicles. When you think about how people phrase a search, it changes based upon whether they’re typing it into a search engine or simply speaking it. SEO and keyword advertising will need to be mindful about these differences and adapt their ads accordingly.

Everything must be mobile and search friendly – This is not necessarily new for 2016, but will certainly maintain its importance into the New Year and beyond. Everything you do needs to be mobile and search friendly. This means your website, apps, content and advertising need to be optimized for the user who is likely finding you via search on their mobile device.

Quality is still king – One pillar of SEO that will not change in 2016 is the emphasis on quality content that is foremost written for the reader and not a search engine. Google’s continual updates (we’ll touch upon this next) have one overarching theme in mind – reward good content and punish the bad (i.e. spam). Don’t take shortcuts! Keep your content top quality.

Changes and Updates – Why Worry Over a Real Time Penguin?

On January 8, 2016, an unnamed core search ranking update took place impacting many websites’ rankings. The internet was abuzz with people speculating over this “massive update” and how it may be related to Penguin.  Google has since confirmed that this was indeed a “core algo update,“ but not a Penguin update. However, the details and full implications of this latest change remain mostly unknown.

While Google strongly maintains that this is not the highly anticipated Penguin update, it’s important to note the concern of so many SEO gurus and businesses who initially thought it was. What could a Penguin update do and why should businesses care? Here’s what we know:

A real time Google Penguin (as opposed to the current Google Penguin that only rolls out every 8-12 months) could result in more link spamming and ultimately hurt the power of links in search engines, which have always been a top metric when determining search ranking.

When it first came out, Google Penguin aimed to clean up spam links and punish websites (via search rankings) who used them. Because Penguin only comes around about once a year, if you are caught, you are punished for quite a while before your site starts to properly rank again.

A real time Google Penguin, which would update constantly instead of every once in a while, decreases the penalty for trying to “game the system” with bad links. As you can imagine, websites with good links that follow the rules would prefer to not have the real time Penguin update and leave things just as they are – hence the apprehension over this looming update.

Looking at the pillars and changes of SEO in 2016, which one do you think will have the greatest impact? Do you anticipate any other significant changes and when? Share your thoughts by commenting below!


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Filed under Penguin, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Your Jaw will Drop When You Read these Headlines

Oh my goodness. It worked.jaw drop

You actually clicked to this article based on my cliché headline and a blurry pic of a hospital mannequin.

Let’s figure out why.

I just saw a version of the headline earlier today on a sponsored article and wondered, what is it about the secret, the awful, and the surprising that makes us click to read?

According to Psychology Today,

Humans seek out news of dramatic, negative events. These experts say that our brains evolved in a hunter-gatherer environment where anything novel or dramatic had to be attended to immediately for survival. So while we no longer defend ourselves against saber-toothed tigers, our brains have not caught up.

Fast Company suggest several psychological theories that are responsible for getting us to act. Persuaders often tap into ultimate terms.

Certain words carry more power than others. This theory breaks persuasive words into three categories:

God terms: those words that carry blessings or demand obedience/sacrifice. e.g, progress, value
Devil terms: those terms that are despised and evoke disgust. e.g., fascist, pedophile
Charismatic terms: those terms that are intangible, less observable than either God or Devil terms. e.g., freedom, contribution

Headlines that Produce Clicks

The following “you should know better” lines might be helpful the next time you create content for ads or articles. Tell us your favorites.

“TV Host Reveals Real Hair”

Just change up this click-getter for anything.  We want the truth. Here’s another example- SEO Guru Reveals Real Algorithms.

“Epic Prank Pulled on So and So”

You could create an entire video series based on spoofs and pranks. People like anything funny- or not. Are you selling facial cream for a company? Try something like “Her Wrinkle Cream is Not a Prank.”

“12 Things Only People with Lots of Kids Understand”

This headline makes your customer feel smart because he or she is in on the advice. It also appeals to those who want to know more about something they lack. Switch out parents and kids for dog lovers and dogs. Dress up the phrase for writers and work or accountants and clients, etc.

“10 Pumpkin Spice Latte Hacks Every Coffee Lover Must Try”

Again, we want to know your secrets. What lies over there in the greener pastures of hidden hacks? Anything “hacks” shows off your trendy.

“The Weirdest Thing I Saw At My Conference”

The weirdest anything appeals to one’s inner weird. Could there be people weirder than you? Worst yet, maybe the stuff you do is consider weird?  Use the word to harness your targeted demographic with something the audience does or a trait it has.

“This Trick Could Save You Hundreds”

Because most people want to save money and aren’t doing so, show how your product or service will help Christmas to come early this year.

“New Craze Wipes Out Slow Computers”

What is this new craze that everyone else knows about, but I don’t? New crazes are manufactured everyday because phrases like this one bring the clicks.

“Everyone is Voting for” or “The Numbers Prove”

You’ve heard these lines from candidates and they work for products and services, too because basically few people check their facts. If you say it’s true, it must be. Tell the population this enough and it’ll become fact.  Of course, there are a few advertising rules you need to be mindful of and organizations like Truth in Advertising that will expose pathetic claims. The FTC says,

Under the law, claims in advertisements must be truthful, cannot be deceptive or unfair, and must be evidence-based. For some specialized products or services, additional rules may apply.

Eh, such a spoiler, but the industry needs rules. Get familiar with them.

What makes you click and why?

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Filed under Advertorial Writing, Audience, Capturing Audience, Email Campaigns, Introductions, Marketing, PPC, Queries & Articles, Search Engine Marketing, Speech Openers, Words Which Sell