Associated Content Tip of the Day 21 March 2007: Abstracts


Writing Good Abstracts

The abstract serves as an advertisement for your article. It is displayed along with the article title where ever your article is listed on the Associated Content site (front page, library section, CP home page, etc.). A well written abstract will mean the difference in dozens of hits versus hundreds of hits.

A well crafted, easy to read paragraph is crucial. It should highlight the main theme of the article and entice the reader. Think of it as your article’s resume. If it gets the reader’s attention, they are likely to “hire” your article.

Don’t

  • Write a short, pithy sentence
  • Repeat your title/subtitle
  • Telegraph the punch line (humor articles)

Do

  • Explain the main topic/theme
  • Hype your article to pique a reader’s interest
  • Keep it to 2 or 3 sentences

Example

Title: Top 10 Songs of the 1970s.

Bad: 10 Best songs of the the 70s.

Good: Explore a pivotal decade in rock music. Find out why these 10 songs represent a fundamental sociological change in American culture. Elton John v Iron Butterfly? Let’s get ready to rumble!

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4 Comments

Add yours →

  1. “If you had just one opportunity to seize everything you’ve ever wanted… by promoting just one headline… would you know what to write?”

    Guess what? You better because one shot may be all you get!

    You have less than 2 seconds to catch your readers attention. Your headline better work or your time and money has been wasted.

  2. This is always the hardest part for me. I find that I almost always ask a question in the abstract. I think it works okay; my page hits are good.

  3. That’s a great tip, Jamie. Questions are great hooks and transitions from abstract to article. Thank you.

  4. Great advice here. If the abstract is not catchy, as well as keyworded, you can forget the search engines or the people noticing them at all. I still have a bit of work to go in this area, but I think I’m improving. :-)

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