How to write killer words

How to write: 20 killer words and 13 words that kill

Posted by Laura Connell Picture of Laura Connell on 6 August 2010
Marketing copywriter specialising in writing about technology, marketing, branding, strategy and thought leadership for Articulate Marketing.
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People make buying decisions based on rational and emotional motivations. When structuring your writing you need to identify how you can appeal to both.

In “Confessions of an Advertising Man” David Ogilvy listed the 20 most persuasive words in advertising:

  • suddenly
  • now
  • announcing
  • introducing
  • improvement
  • amazing
  • sensational
  • remarkable
  • revolutionary
  • startling
  • miracle
  • magic
  • offer
  • quick
  • easy
  • wanted
  • challenge
  • compare
  • bargain
  • hurry

Persuasive words strike the fine balance between being rational and emotive whereas powerless words lack purpose and undermine the credibility of your writing.

Words to avoid

  • But
  • Try
  • Don’t
  • Should
  • Need to
  • Have to
  • Could
  • Maybe
  • Perhaps
  • Might
  • Possibly
  • Potentially
  • Think

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