Power Writing Needs Power Words

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Typing-a-blog Blogging is writing. There is no way around that. Vlogging, video blogging, isn't so much writing as watching, but even vlogging comes with a title and often a caption. Even audio blogging involves writing. It comes with a title and introduction, and many a podcast is transcribed for folks who want it in writing.

When writing, it's important to use power words to pull your reader in. It's important to engage the reader. It's vital to instruct and inform. Remember the old adage, "The Pen is Mightier than the Sword?" Why is that? It's because the power of words live on after the sword has done its damage.

The power of your writing on your blog lives on, also. Make sure the message it tells is the right message.

Here are a list of 10 power-words you can use in your writing and why they work:

1. BE – that's right. This simple word is full of power. "Be strong." "Be alive." "Be true." Each phrase, as tiny as it is, conveys action. To be is to do. Yoda was right, there is no 'try'.

2. BUILD – when you build something, you create something, you make it happen. "Build connections." "Build[ing] a bridge." "Build up, don't tear down." Once again, the concept is conveying action. To build is to inspire. To inspire it to connect. To connect is to build. And so on.

3. ENGAGE – This has many meanings. "Occupy, attract, involve" are some. Also, "Cause someone to become involved." When you 'engage' your reader in the conversation, you invite them to be part of the story. The story is what you're telling and it demands (ooh- another power word!) that you engage the reader, or risk losing them to their mouse…clicking off to somewhere else.

4. DISCOVER – What happens when you 'discover' something? Revelation – in other words, you learn something. You become educated. Helping your readers discover a truth or a purpose, teaches them how to do something. Teaching is a power word that works in so many ways you should be able to use it on a regular basis in your writing.

5. SOLVE – Are you solving issues? Are you solving problems? Are you offering solutions? Invite others to help you solve problems and issues, and get them involved. Engage with them to solve a specific problem – being specific brings a clarity to the issue and can inspire more solutions.

6. PRAISE – Have you praised anyone, lately? Praise is a highly contagious activity. When I praise you, you're inclined to praise me in return. Readers see the positive nature of praise as a win-win.

7. SHOW – "Show me the money!" That's from the movie, Jerry Maguire, of course, but it proves the point. People want to be shown, not told. Don't TELL me how you rescued six kittens from your supermarket's parking lot – show me! "On Saturday, I saw the kittens huddled in the bushes. They were obviously cold, the temperature was lower than it has been in weeks! Their eyes were big and scared, they followed my every step as I walked close to them. I paused halfway, taking my time, knowing I shouldn't spook them!" And so on. Much more effective than, "On Saturday I rescued six kittens from the bushes behind my local supermarket." In the former, I'm engaged…I'm lost in the story. In the ladder, I'm nodding in agreement, "Good. You rescued them." But, I have no emotional attachment. Get me emotionally involved! Brilliant-blocks

8. RECOMMEND – This word works because it puts the reader in the power seat. When you recommend someone or something you're offering an opinion. If the reader trusts you, the opinion is valid and accepted. If the reader is not sure of you, the recommendation is taken with a grain of salt and the reader may do more research to justify the recommendation. Either way, the power is in the doing – your recommending and the reader's research. Thinking, being, doing… three power words that reflect your recommending anything.

9. FEEL – During the rescue of the kittens, above in #7, how did you 'feel'? Describe your feelings. Get the reader to feel what you're feeling. "A cool breeze fluttered the hood on my jacket. It ruffled the fur on the kittens in the front and made me wonder if they were cold. How long had they been there? All night?" Better than, "It felt cold out. I knew I had to get those kittens out of there."

10. You or I, or Me and My – Nothing is more powerful than you. The pronoun you. Or, I. Or Me and My. If you can't take ownership of your writing, I can't be bothered to read it. It's as simple as that. Either you admit to the writing, "I did this or that. I think this or that. I am this or that," or… you don't. When you don't, I have no reason to trust you. Third person is a lame writing style. Trying to be a reporter on your blog won't win you any fans. You can report and still use the personal tone. "It's my opinion that…."  And, "I researched this on Wikipedia as well as in The NYTimes and I discovered…"

As a final bit of advice on power writing, here's a post on Search Engine Workshops that demonstrates the need for power words, and shares a nice list. Notice the title: "The Use of Muscle Words On Your Website" – which word is the power word there?

What power words are your favorites – and how do they work for you?

  • http://thoughtsfurpaws.com Jaime

    This is a great post — particularly for beginner bloggers or those who do not have great writing skills.
    I am a certified Direct Marketing Association copywriter and this post really affirms the lessons I learned in that course…. ACTION words are everything!
    Jaime