Make Your Ideas Stick

Please read the resources in the module titled: Make Your Ideas Stick–How to Create Memorable Documents.

According to the resource, what is the definition of a "sticky idea"?

What can a writer do to add "sticky-ness" to his/her text? Be specific!

Look around the internet and present ONE example of a text WITH sticky-ness and ONE example of a text that does not have sticky-ness.

Explain how and why these texts work/don’t work by using direct quotes (a minimum of THREE DIRECT quotes) from the resource text. Use APA format for in-text citations and the reference page.

Post an individual response. Answer goes into the message box. No attachments.

Minimum of five paragraphs with five sentences each.

Format: YOURLASTNAME: Make Your Ideas Stick

An old man living in New England is very close to his dog. Every day, they walk together to the grassy cliffs overlooking the coastal town and watch the big, orange sun go down. As time passes, the man becomes frail and is no longer able to hike to the cliffs. His dog still travels there every day, and the old man finds solace in his long-time friend still enjoying the sunset. Ideas conveyed by anecdotes like these stick with us, but why? There are principles upon which this stickiness is derived. Ideas stick by forming connections with the intended audience.

An idea is sticky if it has truly captivated your audience and stayed in their thoughts. Stories grounded in real life examples done with an unorthodox approach intrigue audiences without alienating them. The idea doesn’t have to be complex to stick, as even a simple animation or song can be memorable. The video “Dumb Ways to Die” is a song about death using cute cartoon characters. It’s effective because of the catchy rhythm and juxtaposition of these characters experiencing death. At the same time, the causes of their deaths are very real possibilities. The audience connects with it emotionally, because deep down we know the danger of the scenes depicted.

Stickiness comes from linking with your audience. A writer focusing on making their text stick should concentrate on the human element. Appealing to emotions is a great tactic along with using stories and anecdotes. This engages the reader’s mind both consciously and subconsciously. While they concentrate on the story, the reader’s subconscious is reacting to feelings aroused by your work. The writer must remember to keep their story simple and tangible while simultaneously doing things the reader won’t expect. This way, the connection is not lost while the audience becomes increasingly engaged. Below is an example of a text which follows these rules of stickiness.

If there’s anything you can convince people of, it’s to help animals in need; many of us have a pet we’re emotionally connected to. “The inspiration to help can strike at a young age. For Jurnee Carr, it hit at 13, when she visited an animal shelter for the first time,” (Williams, 2017). “Animals Want You to Volunteer” instantly draws the reader in by introducing a real story about what led a young girl to eventually become an adoption center manager. Building off of this, the article explains how to begin volunteering for the humane society. “With the wide range of animal issues we take on, there are many ways for supporters to become more deeply engaged with our work…,” (Williams, 2017). Ten easily-digestible methods of getting involved with humane efforts follow this introduction. Cute images relating to the points stated are integrated with the text, raising visual appeal. Other stories are placed into the list as well: “’When there’s a baby seal on the beach, volunteers stand there and watch guard until Mom gets back,’” (Williams, 2017). The entire article elicits emotional appeal while simultaneously remaining simple; its elements combine to stick the idea of volunteering to the reader. The next article is what happens when elements fail to make your idea stick.

Learning to search the internet doesn’t need to be a boring, complicated ordeal, Yet, “Internet Search Tips and Strategies” by Robert Harris convinces you otherwise. This waste of server space didn’t help with the arduous task of finding sticky and non-sticky idea examples. “What are you looking for? Facts, opinions… statistics, narratives of personal experience, eyewitness descriptions, new ideas, proven solutions, reference material?” (Harris, 2000). I tried using its advice, but it still took hours to find examples of “sticky text” and “non-sticky text”. The entire article could definitely be explained in simpler terms. It creates an unneeded acronym “…called FOREST LOG, to help generate search terms,” (Harris, 2000). Remembering what the acronym stands for doesn’t help me remember the paragraph of text that comes with each group of letters. This emotionless burden of print suggests “If you’re willing to spend an hour looking around, however, you will almost certainly be rewarded,” (Harris, 2000). It certainly takes less than an hour to find something about this exact same subject that’s entirely more interesting to read. Why anyone would force someone to read this for a class is beyond comprehensible. It’s unengaging, poorly formatted, and redundant to tears. The article’s lackluster acronyms and “tips” are lost quickly upon suffering through its text. Connections it tries to make are ruined and ultimately its message doesn’t stick.


Harris, R. (2000, July 6). Internet Search Tips and Strategies. VirtualSalt. Retrieved from

Marsden, P. (2004, March 25). Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die [Speed Summary]. Brand Genetics. Retrieved from

Williams, K. (2017, February 16). Animals Want You to Volunteer. The Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved from


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