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"Power Words Used In Strong Sales Headlines"

Updated on July 12, 2013

NEVER underestimate the power of words in any sales and marketing activity!

I've researched the power of words in sales and marketing, AKA copywriting techniques, since 1977. Although the messengers are different now, compared to 35 years ago, (The Internet, 24 hour TV, instant news, texting, social networking and satellite radio to name a few), the message has NOT varied a fair deal.

An expert copywriter should still:

1. Fully recognize and understand the product or service
2. Choose power copy and always use active words
3. Describe in riveting detail, every benefit the product contains
4. Use short, pithy sentences targeted for a 6th. grade reading level
5. Form a mental picture of your target audience
6. Write stories with an ending that expresses an emotional payoff

Whew! And that's just for starters! Effective copywriting is not for everyone. A power word writer spends time to produce the most influential 6-10 word group of words the sales and marketing piece contains - THE HEADLINE.

The Genius of David Ogilvey

I am and have always been an admirer of the greatest copywriter in advertising history - the late David Ogilvey.

In 1948, he took the first steps to build the New York-based ad agency Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather (which later was named Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.) His client list includes Shell Oil, Lever Brothers, General Foods and American Express, and his company employs thousands in offices located throughout the world.

I need reveal just one of his many brilliant campaign headlines to describe this man's ability:

"At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock"

  • Now, THAT is a headline!
  • That is bent combined with hard work!
  • That is power infused in words!
  • That sells!

The Stubborn Headline Challenge

Are you aware that some of the greatest copywriters hire from a select handful of other copywriters who specialize in writing ONLY headlines?

Because, as the late David Ogilvey once said,

“On average, five times as many people read the HEADLINE as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Burn Ogilvey's words in your mind right now and always make it foremost in your search for one perfect headline that will attract people as a flying night bug to the golden orange glow of an incandescent light bulb. It's THAT pivotal!

Obviously, unless your career has taken off like worn wet clothes stripped upon entering a dry, warm house, you won't have the funds to pay someone to write your headlines... That being the case, be ready to grind and prepare to write hundreds of headlines until you hit pay dirt. You will know you've struck gold when you write a powerful headline like Ogilvey's Rolls-Royce masterpiece.

What are Power Words?

  • Astounding value
  • Incredible savings
  • No Extra Charge
  • Introducing
  • A New Dimension
  • Exciting News!
  • The New Generation

The above short list of Power words share the following common traits:

1. Make the reader use his/her imagination
2. Tout a future event
3. Infuse excitement
4. Reinforces product value
5. Is easy to read and understand

Contrast the use of these words with the following copy... for an example:

[Romeo's Beauty Salon remembers their 50th. Anniversary with cake and ice cream on February 5, 2012. We want to invite you to attend. Plan to stay a while because we are giving away a 55" TV around 10 that morning.]

Following is one possible re-write using power words for Romeo's advertising and marketing copy:

Exciting News!
Romeo's thanks their loyal customers with a gala festival and YOU are invited.
Romeo's introduced a new dimension in hair style on February 5, 50 years ago, and they still work on the cutting edge of new hair fashion.
Romeo's offers remarkable value and guarantees the best styles in town.
See you at 10 A.M. sharp for the beginning of a day filled with action. You will want to stay for the 55" TV giveaway, etc., etc.

Better? I just used the active voice plugging in some of the power words listed above.

Writing marketing advertising words that sells is exciting work. When the product owners call you to yell, "Our sales on the widget have jumped 30% thanks to your copywriting!" You will understand the inherent kick this business provides.

If becoming a successful copywriter is your goal, I recommend ordering "Ogilvey on Advertising" by David Ogilvey. Read it again for good measure. When you have learned his methods, go back from year to year for a review.

Good luck and happy writing to you!



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    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      7 years ago from Port Neches

      I'm glad it helped you, Zabbella!

    • Zabbella profile image


      7 years ago from NJ-USA

      This hub just gave me food for thought! Thank you!

    • copywriter31 profile imageAUTHOR

      James Ranka 

      7 years ago from Port Neches

      Appreciate the comment, Scribnet.

      I first read "Ogilvey on Advertising" circa 1973. His book inspired me to major in advertising, because I thought to myself, "one day I'm going to be a better copywriter than David Ogilvey."... I'm still giving it my best shot. LOL!

    • Scribenet profile image


      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I had read the David Ogilvey copy before and it always makes me smile because it is so effective I want to drive a Rolls Royce just for the experience! This is a great Hub, I will bookmark for future reference. Thank you!


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