Power words are words smart marketers and marketing writers use to trigger a psychological or emotional response.
Power words evoke emotion and peak curiosity, according to Sumo.com.
They’re called ‘power words’ because they’re so persuasive people simply can’t resist being influenced by them, according OptIn Monster.
As content marketers, we think about power words a little differently than we would when we think about writing for more awareness-driven marketing like Search and social media advertising.
What’s the best way to generate the response we want? It’s to use language that triggers the response we want.
Some language triggers more favorable responses than different words conveying the same meaning.
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But content marketing and content marketers aren’t trying to persuade
At least not right away. First, we want to be helpful, we want to educate, and we want to inform. We’re not looking to close the deal. That’s not our hustle.
Still, we want to connect to our targets with words that help them find out why what we’re offering might appeal to their interests.
The real trick is knowing the words that work, and the ones that don’t.
The answer to that question is an exercise that is as ever-changing as fads and as perennial as our deepest emotions.
The truth is there are no ‘power words’ in content marketing
Or shouldn’t be, if it is to be truly content marketing.
While many others hold to the idea that there are some words—like “You” and “Free” and “Now”—that cause mostly rational, full-grown adults to turn into Pavlov’s dog.
They point to the data, and they say the data proves it.
But what may be true for Search ads and TV commercials isn’t true for marketing that helps to clarify, not accelerate hastily made decisions.
What’s the problem? Everyone is thinking about selling, instead of building trust.
Power words exist in the ecosystem where a list of emotionally charged words can be deployed with precision targeting as if the people we wanted to reach were little different than the shadowy figures we shoot at as we play video games. That it’s just about a better banner ad headline. A catchy blog title. A higher conversion rate.
The problem is the power of persuasive words aren’t universally persuasive
For one group, a “powerful, high-performance engine” revs everything inside them that dreams of driving that new sports car.
For another, the “cool leather interior” of that luxury sedan elicits feelings of relaxation.
The only way a content marketer can gauge the power of words is by taking these simple steps.
- Create a strong offer
- Test it out
- Revise and test it out again
It sounds a lot simpler than the work it will take to implement such a plan for a sustainable future. But if you’re an Issuu Blog reader, then there’s nothing that can hold you back.
Finding your power words
The trick to finding your power words is knowing what your audience wants. When we talk about “customer insights,” we’re not talking about knowing that our target likes the number 41. We’re not trying to understand their thoughts on the meaning of the universe.
But we do want to know why they prefer our brand (or our products and services) over our competitors.
To go back to the car example, BMW has long been known as a high-performance vehicle. But why do the people who buy BMWs want a car that accelerates faster? What does performance mean to them?
To truly answer that question is to unlock all the ways in which your brand connects to the people who matter most for its future.
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