In 2009, the Global Language Monitor pegged the English language as having breached 1 million words and by 2014, there were over 1.025 words in the English dictionary. The millionth word? Well, of course, it had to be related to the Internet, and it was “Web 2.0.”
The average native English speaker has a vocabulary of fewer than 5,000 words and weeding out most words, and one can come up with 30 powerful words that can pull emotions and reactions so much so that readers will feel compelled to take action. This is what engaging a reader is all about and one of the reasons why social media has become so popular. Social media is a reflection of life, and the more powerful your words are, the higher your chances of getting support for your cause from people you never met or may never meet.
The use of words has been honed to a science, and this has tremendously helped those in the business of copywriting, writing, marketing, and sales. Power words can inspire, change moods and motivation. Power words can affect the way your business grows and combining power words with social media combines a powerhouse combination that is unbeatable.
Today’s most relevant power words can be categorized into personal power words, success power words, and action power words. They work both online and offline.
Personal Power Words have to do with one’s growth, and they are:
Success Power Words all have to do with building your business and endeavors. These words are:
- How To
Action Power Words are great for getting people to do something for you, your nonprofit organization, or cause. These words are:
- Tell Us
- Become a Member
The Reasons Why Using Power Words Makes Sense
With so much going on online, grabbing and retaining the attention of your reader, visitor, or subscriber has to happen in seconds. Therefore, you need to use simple words that capture their attention and hold it long enough for them to want to follow it up with an action such as sharing, donating, subscribing, or bookmarking.
By using a word like “revolutionary,” you can bet that people will want to know what is “revolutionary” especially if it will get them ahead of their competition or give them the inside track so they can boast about “knowing about it first.” That’s right; power words can increase conversion rates by as much as 103%!
When power words were tested by renowned social psychologist Ellen Langer, she revealed that saying she was “in a rush” made people step aside and give way compared to when she used the words, “May I?”
Using power words though is an art. You can’t just toss them into your post and wait for the numbers to increase. There are ways to use them, and if you go about using it in the wrong way, you end up abusing the words and doing damage to your reputation. It’s what Frank Luntz once said in his book “Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear.” In this book, he basically stated that effective communications have to be in the proper context, or it becomes destructive.
Thus, know your audience before picking your power words. Then, know where to use them, so they stand out.
Power words are most effective in:
- Subject lines
- First paragraph and last paragraph
- Call to Action
Finally, avoid the temptation to abuse power words by using them too often because they will screen out the attention of your audience and make them feel they are being intimidated or annoyed.
Power words communicate in the most effective way possible, but power words can also corrupt so be careful and temper its use, so your efforts do not go to waste.