Whether you are working on a persuasive unit or preparing your students for assessment, these writing prompts can serve as a starting point for building persuasive (argument) essays. Encourage students to use the PAST strategy to analyze the prompts, and share six strategies for writing arguments to help them do their best work.
Beginning Persuasive Prompts (Grades 4–5)
Share these prompts with students who are beginning to write essays.
1. What Season Is Best?
Some people love hot summers at the beach or pool. Others love cold winters with sleds and snowmen. Maybe you like crackling fall leaves or tender spring flowers. Write an essay that names your favorite season and gives reasons why it is best.
2. My Pet of Choice
If you could have any pet, what pet would you choose? Dog? Cat? Snake? Tarantula? Write a letter to your parent or guardian naming the pet you would most like to have and giving reasons why you should get to have this pet.
3. Time for a Vacation
What vacation would you like most? Hiking in a state park? Visiting Grandma? Going to an amusement park? Write an essay to your parent or guardian naming what would be a perfect vacation and giving reasons you would like to take it.
4. A Change I'd Make
Think of a problem at your school. What causes the problem? What bad things happen because of it? What should be done to fix the problem? As a concerned student, write a persuasive essay noting the problem, suggesting a solution, and convincing your principal to take action.
5. Valuing a Second Language
Many schools require students to take foreign language courses. Does your school? Do you think it's a good idea for students to learn a second language? Why or why not? In an essay, make a case why it is (or is not) important to learn a foreign language.
Intermediate Persuasive Prompts (Grades 6–8)
Share these prompts with students who regularly write essays.
6. What's My Age Again?
Is it better to be a child, a teenager, or an adult? What are the benefits of each age? What are the drawbacks? Choose the period of life that you think is best and write an essay arguing why it is the best time of life. Support your position with anecdotes from your own life as well as facts and details drawn from the lives of others.
7. Preparedness vs. Overplanning
John Lennon once observed, “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” If that is true, is it better to live life without a plan, to carefully follow a precise plan, or to somehow balance planning and spontaneity? Write an essay arguing for how a person should plan (or not plan) life. Support your claim using examples from your life and the lives of other students.
8. Future President
Some day, you and your classmates will be the adults in charge of running the world. Is that thought exciting or terrifying? Which of your classmates would make the best president of the United States? Write an editorial announcing a presidential bid by a classmate of yours (or yourself). Tell why the person would make an excellent president, provide the person’s qualifications, and urge readers to vote for the candidate.
9. What Is Music For?
Archeologists have uncovered ancient flutes carved from bird bones and mammoth ivory, showing that music has been with us for a very long time. Even so, what is music for? It doesn’t provide food or shelter. It doesn’t cure disease or solve problems. What does music do? Write an essay that tells what music does for human beings and argues for its value in our lives.
10. New Class Offerings
Think about a class not currently available that you would like your school to offer. Now write an editorial to your school newspaper that identifies the new class and provides strong reasons for including it in your school’s curriculum.
Advanced Persuasive Prompts (Grades 9–12)
Share these prompts with high-school level writers. Refer them to the 7 C's for Building a Rock-Solid Argument infographic to review the key parts of an effective argument.
11. Drug Testing for All?
The Supreme Court ruled that random drug testing is constitutional for high school students involved in athletics and other extracurricular activities. Write an essay that argues for or against random drug testing of all students.
12. Would You Eat Test Tube Meat?
Some 9 billion animals are killed and used for food each year in the United States. The animal waste produced by factory farms causes water and air pollution. Yet the demand for meat grows stronger. In an attempt to curb the use of factory farms while satisfying the population’s demand for meat, food scientists have begun producing in vitro meat—muscle tissue that’s cultured from animal cells and grown in a laboratory. How comfortable would you be eating test-tube meat? Write an essay that argues for or against in vitro meat.
13. Tests, Tests, Tests
Standardized tests are used as a measuring stick for student performance. Your test scores decide, in part, whether you are admitted to certain colleges. They are also used to measure readiness for certain careers, such as law and medicine. Test scores impact the funding that public schools receive from the federal government. Write an essay that evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of standardized tests. In your essay, decide if standardized tests are the proper measuring stick for student performance. If, in your opinion, they are not, describe alternatives that could be used to measure achievement.
14. Should the Internet be Copyright Free?
In 2011, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill was introduced to the United States House of Representatives. Among other things, SOPA would expand criminal laws to include unauthorized streaming of copyrighted movies, music, and television. Many free-content sites such as Wikipedia and Reddit boycotted the bill as a threat to free speech. A draft of the bill was postponed in 2012, and it remains tabled today. Write an essay that weighs the interests of copyright holders such as recording artists and movie producers against the rights of users of the free Web. Should sites be able to host copyrighted material free of charge? Is it ethically right to stream pirated music and movies? Provide reasons for your response.
15. Tackling National Debt
In last 40 years the United States federal government has accumulated unprecedented debt, meaning that it has spent more money than it has collected in revenue. In fact, the national debt is approaching $20 trillion and rising by the day. The debt crisis is a complex problem that could eventually cost citizens and weaken the U.S.'s standing in the global community. In a problem-solution essay, explore the causes and effects of the national debt problem. Then outline possible solutions and recommend how the federal government should act to solve the crisis.
Is blogger’s block getting you down? Have no fear, blog topic generators are here!
Blog topic generators will help kick start your inspiration, ensuring that you continue to generate fresh, enticing, clickable content.
1. HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator
HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator has you input three different nouns and dishes back five blog topic ideas that will get those creative juices flowing.
I put in art, creativity, and design. The suggestions: not half bad!
2. Portent’s Content Idea Generator
Portent’s Content Idea Generator is as simple as they get. Just toss in a keyword and go to town. This generator has some personality, adding little quips and jokes in bubbles alongside the topic suggestions.
As is common with these generator tools, some blog topic suggestions will come out a bit silly, but spend enough time on this one and you’ll definitely find some gems.
Want to boost traffic to your site? Download our free guide: 25 Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website
3. Build Your Own Blog’s Idea Generator
The Blog Post Idea Generator from Build Your Own Blog is a bit different in that you don’t put in any keyword related to your industry – you just tap the “generate blog post idea” button and off you go.
You’ll naturally need to customize these suggestions to fit your target audience. The ideas aren’t quite strokes of genius, but you may find something that tickles your fancy.
Some titles this random blog topic generator gave when I had my hand at it:
- X Myths About ….
- 10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About…
- Top X Must Have’s For _________
- 7 Reasons Why ___________ Always Works
4. Blog Title Idea Generator
This Blog Title Idea Generator from Inbound Now is basically the same as the one listed above. It’s fine. You’ll probably find some nice blog post title ideas. Not much else to say.
5. Link Bait Generator
The Link Bait Generator isn’t as flashy as the other blog idea tools, with a simplistic, barebones design.
Type in your keyword and then choose whether you’re looking to write a blog post that is:
- A List
What’s interesting about Link Bait Generator is that it gives you some nice insight about what certain phrasing or title structures will work best depending on what type of post you want to write. No other blog post idea generator takes into account what kind of style or spin you’re shooting for.
When I said I wanted controversial topics, I got ideas like:
- X Things the Media Hasn’t Told You About _________
- The Connection Between X and Sex. (Heh heh, I’m curious about putting PPC here)
- X Reasons Why ________ Is The End of the World As We Know It
While the suggestions might be a bit too Buzzfed-esque for some tastes, they’re certainly aiming for clickability. I consider the Link Bait Generator an interesting little dive into human psychology to help you consider what makes people tick and what kind of wording gets them fired up.
MORE:The Ultimate A-Z Marketing Buzzwords Bible
ContentIdeator is another blog topic idea generator that offers suggestions based on the keyword you type in. What sets ContentIdeator apart is that it generates pages and pages of suggestions (although by page 4 it starts to look like nonsense).
Some suggestions are oddly specific. For example, when I typed in “art” I got blog topic ideas like:
- Reasons to Start Your Own Stamp Collection
- Music and Art Are Inextricably Linked' A Look at Ronnie Wood Art
- What Batman Can Teach Us About Cartoon Fonts
Other suggestions are ridiculously vague. My first four generated suggestions were:
- How To Buy Modern Art
- Modern Art Online
- Ways To Find And Buy Modern Art
- Choosing Art
You need to put in a broad keyword to get any results. My search for “health food” generated only one suggestion (and it was a lame one), while “health” worked just fine.
I’d suggest going to other tools before this one, but if you’re willing to dig around a bit, maybe you’ll find a subject that speaks to you.
7. Content Strategy Helper
The Content Strategy Helper by Built Visible is actually a Google Doc tool that generates blog topic ideas right into your Google spreadsheet.
The tool gathers information from Google News, Google Insights, Reddit, YouTube, Topsy, and more sources to show the stories everyone is talking about. As a bonus, it also offers outreach contacts for relative topics, which is always handy.
This tool is different in that it’s providing info on existing stories. However, looking at these hot topics can help influence your content strategy choices and also makes it easier to find news-worthy stories that you may want to jump on the bandwagon for.
While not a blog topic generator in the classic sense, the Content Strategy Helper isn’t a bad content tool to have in your arsenal. However, if you have your own preferred tool for keeping track of hot news stories, you probably won’t gain a ton by using Content Strategy Helper.
Buzzsumo is favorite tool of mine. It’s similar to the tool listed above, as it shows the most popular existing articles (vs. pure concepts for articles).
Buzzsumo is a great study in what kinds of title structures and topics are most appealing. It’s straightforward and easy to use – search by topic or by site URL (it’s always a good idea to check out what your competitor’s topic articles are).
Also don’t forget to mess around with the filters. Confine search parameters to the last week or month if looking for newsworthy stories.
3 Final Tips on Generating Blog Post Titles & Ideas
- Blog, Borrow, Steal. What headlines do you see that capture your interest? Steal that headline and tweak it for your own purposes. Imitation is flattery x5!
- Same But Different. You’ll find that, for the most part, the ideas spun by most of these topic generators are largely the same. These generators are using formulas that work and applying them to your key themes. If you find that you prefer one generator over another, go ahead and stick with that one.
- Expand Upon Generator Ideas. The “X Things You Don’t Know About ___________” is a standard blog topic. It’s overdone and overused, but it’s still spit out as a good idea because it works – it generates curiosity. Don’t be afraid to use one of these tried and true blog structures, but make sure that you add some creativity to make it your own.
What do you think of these blog post title generators? Which are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!