• Jen Haken

A-Z of Copywriting – P is for Power Words, Pain Points and Plain English

Updated: 5 days ago


Actually, there are loads of copywriting ‘P’ words. For instance, Purpose – it helps to understand the Purpose of why you’re writing that article, blog or brochure. And then to write with Purpose.


Proofreading and Punctuation are two other key ‘P’ words when it comes to copywriting. I’ve included the need to proofread in many previous blogs; check them out on my website. And I’ve written a tongue-in-cheek (yet accurate!) blog about Punctuation here, entitled ‘Punctuation Pedant? Moi?’


Proportionate is another excellent word, meaning to write the correct number of words depending on your topic and the medium you’re using to share that information.


But today, I particularly want to focus on Power Words. So I’m going to quickly touch on Pain Points and Plain English before getting down to the main event!


Soothe their Pain


Pain Points is an important phrase to remember when writing copy and content. Because knowing what your customers’ pain points are – what they find frustrating or challenging – will help you to write copy that reflects those pains. But try not to scare them too much!


When you know your target audience and what’s annoying them so much that they need your help, you can empathise with their difficulties. This helps to engender an emotional response. Your words should help them feel that you have the solution and that you’re trustworthy.


So, if you’re an accountant, your clients’ pain points could be either not having the time to do their accounts, or not having the confidence in their abilities to do it correctly. Or both! So their lack of time and your expertise in the subject are two aspects to highlight in your headlines and content.


Using Plain English


Using the right words helps to attract your target audience. As well as uncovering their pain points, write in a manner that they will ‘get’. That’s simple to understand. Use sentences that flow nicely. Read them out loud to make sure they work.


Avoid using jargon. Instead, use simplified language that your customers will understand and relate to. The only time it’s okay to use technical terms is when you know your audience is searching for them. I’ve written about when to use jargon before – have a read of it here.


Power Words that Convert!


And now to the important bit. Not that any of the above isn’t, of course! But power words help your prospective customers to convert into actual paying customers.


Power words are your promise that you’re worth buying from. That your product really will help to reduce their pain points. Power words will:


1. Create a sense of urgency – e.g. now, hurry, going fast, expires soon, immediately, deadline

2. Make a promise – e.g. guarantee, unconditional, pledge, risk-free, promise, research-backed

3. Reassure – e.g. easy, simple, safe, no-fuss, money-back, protected, tested, proven

4. Make your product feel special – e.g. premium, hand-crafted, latest innovation, luxurious

5. Engender exclusivity – e.g. limited, special edition, rare, secret, select few

6. Inspire and motivate – e.g. sensational, revolutionary, startling, ground-breaking, eye-opening

7. Provoke curiosity – e.g. announcing, introducing, challenging, ravishing, dazzling


There are many other powerful words that you can use. Google it and you’ll find lists of 100 or more! But there are five power words that are considered the most persuasive. You may be surprised at how simple they are:


  • You – or better still, their name, spelt correctly, wherever possible. Talking directly to the reader is always more powerful. So use ‘you’ whenever possible, as well as ‘we’ sometimes too.

  • New – although we tend to remain loyal to trusted brands, people love the latest new, shiny things, new features, designs etc. Think Apple and its iPhones!

  • Free – everyone wants something for nothing! Worth noting that many ‘free’ things tend to have a catch. Most of us want honest marketing, so I advise only using the word ‘free’ alongside a disclaimer, e.g. ‘FREE for the first month’

  • Because – reasons help to persuade

  • Instantly – people want things now! So this and similar words (see #1 above) trigger the switch in the mid-brain for the reader to act fast before losing out

Use these power words in your CTAs – Calls to Action. And find out more about the psychology behind these five words in this interesting article.


Need some help writing powerful content using the above techniques? Then do get in touch! Drop me a line at jen@jennyhaken.co.uk.


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