You know, the more I do copywriting, the more I get amazed by what just words on the computer screen can do.
Power words are the words that induce an emotional response and are the bulk of this course, but first, I'd like to talk about a broader term- loaded language.
Loaded language is verbiage that influences the reader by appealing to emotion rather than logic. It is used in politics to sell or condemn ideas, in religions to sell or denounce beliefs, and in advertisements to sell products or critize a competitor. For example, “When did you stop beating your wife?” is a loaded question. In news media, a Soldier can be referred to as a terrorist or a guerilla – One negative, one positive.
In other words, loaded language is used to manipulate people. It turns regular, often empty, dull, ineffective copy into a powerful message that influences people to your way of thinking.
You can use loaded language for anything, not just to sell something and make money. You can use it to get any conceivable action you want from people.
But what's real amazing about loaded language is that, if used properly, it enables you not just get people do anything you want, but manipulate them in a very elegant and non-intrusive manner.
Something I'd like you to remember, though, is that people are not stupid. If you overuse or misuse the powerful concept of loaded language then you are at risk of your turning off your audience.
But, if used properly, loaded language is going to deliver great results. It really works!
An interesting form of loaded language is a loaded question. Questions are said to be loaded if they make a false presupposition. Loaded questions can be very effective for both headlines and the main body of the copy.
Here's another example of a loaded question like that: “Have you stopped wasting money on advertising?”.
This question presupposes that the reader did at one time waste money on advertising, and either a yes or no answer appears to confirm this presupposition as fact, when it may be false.
Loaded questions do a very good job on capturing attention of the right audience.
But of course, the biggest part of the loaded language are loaded words.
Loaded words are words or phrases with strong emotional overtones that evoke strong reactions beyond their literal meaning.
As an example, let's take the phrase 'tax relief'. Literally, this refers to deductions that a person might claim in order to reduce the amount of tax they must pay to their government. However, use of the emotive word 'relief' implies that the tax was an unreasonable burden to begin with.
While loaded words can have either strongly positive or negative emotional overtone, power words generally evoke positive reactions, and are used to make the statement stronger.
For example, let's take the following phrase: “This system is very easy to use”. So far it doesn't contain any power words. But let's make this statement stronger by transforming it to something like: “This system is so easy a fifth grader can use it”. Here we have a power phrase that creates a strong overtone making it clear that almost anyone can use this system.
OK I hope you get the idea. I'll have more in-depth information on power words for you in the next installment.
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