Power words are, simply put, words with strong emotional associations that provoke a reaction from the reader – and hopefully, a reaction that leads to a click through or other type of action.
They’re sometimes used ‘trigger words’, in fact, for this very reason!
They’re used to craft better copy which gets more of a response and is more engaging, either from improving the ranking in a search engine, or by selling more products, or by getting more traffic to a website.
Here are some example of Power Words
The list goes on and on (check out the extra resources at the end of the blog for more information).
Power words can be categorised three ways
Like ‘new’ and ‘free’ – both are used in a lot of advertising as they invoke an ‘oooh’ feeling which people react to (a.k.a are easily seduced by).
‘How to’ words, offering knowledge are appealing, and ‘reason’ words (why is a thing being done, why is it needed etc) are also under the seduction banner as people are more likely to respond when they think there is a reason behind it, whatever the reason might be.
Like ‘cheerful’, ‘desire’, ‘angry’ and ‘forbidden’. You see these words a lot in ‘click bait’ like titles as they stir curiosity/trigger emotion in people, driving them to act.
Like ‘dazzling’, ‘sensual’, ‘aroma’, ‘deafening’ – describing the scene or story so you feel like you’re there. Often used when you want a sense reaction, like that restaurant advert that literally makes you salivate in anticipation of eating the food.
How can power words be used in content?
They can be used anywhere in your copy – for blogs, for website copy, for social media, for advertising…everywhere and anywhere but keep reading for some ‘don’t-do’ tips, too – there are limits to their use……
They should absolutely be used in your blog titles, sub-titles, paragraphs, and in your SEO meta titles/descriptions.
If you have an ecommerce shop, use them for product headlines as well as descriptions.
They should definitely be used in your social media posts – preferably in the opening line to make people click into the post to read more. And, of course, for the call to action.
They’re perfect too for advertising, to persuade people to do the thing you want them to do – click, buy, sign up etc. So, they are often used in ads and leadpages.
They can even be used for email marketing as well as within the website domain name itself…
But…. here’s what not to do with power words
Don’t use click-bait like titles or social media posts; your content must be able to live up the expectations of the person clicking to action…
For example ‘learn how to make £XXXX from your blog posts’ would have been misleading for this blog post and people would have left feeling very disappointed.
If there’s one thing Google doesn’t like is a load of people clicking onto a blog because it had a fantastic title but then the same people instantly clicking off when they realise it’s not what they thought it was about and they don’t want to read it, after all. This is called ‘bounce rate’ and we have more about bounce rates here.
Using power words in a blog title
So, let’s look at an example….
This blog is called ‘how to use power words to create engaging content’ but I could have extended it to ‘how to use power words to create engaging blogs people want to read’
But I feel the latter is a little too long for a title – it would work for a social media post though.
Let’s examine it section by section…
- ‘How to’ are seduction words
- ‘Engaging’ is an emotional word
- ‘Read’ is a sensory word
Now, let’s do one together:
One blog headline I see a lot is ‘the new website is launched’ – people don’t get many clicks on these types of headlines, generally.
But, we could change it to…
‘Find out why we changed our glitchy website to make it work better for customers’
Although, again this one is far too long for SEO, but we’ve got seduction words (find out why) and I would say ‘glitchy’ and ‘work better’ are both seduction and emotional.
Equally we could use a snappier ‘Our website wasn’t working! Find out how we made it better’
‘Wasn’t working’ is emotional and again, ‘find out how’ is seductive.
Either way, they are much more engaging titles, as people’s curiosity will be piqued to learn why it wasn’t working in the first place. Or, maybe they want to learn how they can improve their own website.
If you want to learn more about this subject, good news! There are hundreds of resources, many with power words lists and downloads of their own, just a small google away… and here are the best ones that we’ve already checked out:
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