In this blog post, I will be sharing with you 28 emotion-evoking words you can (should) use when writing a headline.
Words are extremely powerful. What you say can affect (heal, comfort, hurt) and influence people.
As content marketers and copywriters, we work with words every day and we try hard to get people to engage. Our main goal is to get people to read what we write.
A headline is the first impression we give to users. If we can’t entice people to click on our website, the rest of our content would be considered useless.
To make people click on our website, we need to come up with a headline that attracts. Also, a great headline will help you stand out from the rest of the option appearing on the search engine result page (SERP).
A headline, or what some of us call title, is like a brief summary of our article. It should be able to communicate to your audience what the article is about, by just reading the title.
Here’s an example:
What can you interpret by just reading this headline? To me, it tells me that this article will provide me with 38 actionable ways to increase website traffic by 10x. It is clear.
Now, while these words are effective and increase your chances of people clicking on your page, please provide what you’ve promised in the title.
When your content does not match the title, users get dissatisfied. I’m sure you will be too. When you don’t provide what you promise, your title will be called a clickbait headline, manipulating readers to get a click.
Yes, clickbait headlines do get you visitors… but they won’t be your customers. Instead, they will feel that their trust is betrayed and it will leave a bad impression.
So, avoid using a clickbait title. Read more about why clickbait headline is bad for a website.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get started with the list of words you can use to create good headlines.
“Free” tops this emotional trigger words list that you can use in your headline. By nature, people are attracted to the word free. Upon hearing that word, we get more alert and turn our heads towards that direction.
Most, if not all, of us, can be motivated by this. When something is free, it means that we are getting more benefits without risking any of our hard-earned cash.
People will queue for hours to get free stuff. The year Krispy Kreme has opened its first store in Ireland they’ve decided to give away doughnuts for the first hundred customers.
Although, the store opens its door at 7:00 am but people went to queue as early as 4:00 am. If people didn’t bother about the free doughnuts, they would just go there at any time of the day.
This has clearly proven the power of the popular 4 letters F-word – “FREE”.
An effective emotional trigger word for headlines, “guaranteed” gives people assurance, security, and trust. A guarantee tells people that something will work, and if they don’t, they will be compensated. It removes the possibilities of loss.
Most businesses give people guarantees such as “30 Days Money Back Guaranteed” or “100% Satisfaction Guaranteed”.
Some of you may think that giving a guarantee is a disadvantage or a loss, but if your product is good, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.
When it comes to persuasion, “Because” is oftentimes used. People do things for a reason. If you want them to do something for you, providing them a reason increases the chances.
When you provide a reason for people, even if it doesn’t make sense, most people will adhere to it. Psychologists at Harvard University have conducted a study to confirm this.
The study involves a copy machine. Subjects were asked to let another person use the copy machine first. There were a few variables in the study.
Some subjects were not provided a reason at all, some were provided with an illogical reason and some were provided a valid reason. Here are the findings:
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine?” [60% compliance]
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I have to make copies?”[93% compliance]
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?” [94% compliance]
The word “because” is indeed powerful when it comes to persuading people, even when your excuse don’t really makes sense.
For more details on this study, read The Mindlessness of Ostensibly Thoughtful Action: The Role of “Placebic” Information in Interpersonal Interaction
4. Easy/ Simple
For every first-timer, learning something may seem like a very very difficult task. Naturally, people will look up the internet for easy ways to do/learn that particular thing. Easy but effective.
Besides “easy”, you can consider using the word “simple” as well. They both have the same meaning and they’re equally popular.
The word “today” can indicate two things. “Today” can tell people that the content is relevant. For example, “11 Things To Do Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For”.
“Today” can be also used to create a sense of urgency. There are chances that if they don’t act today, the offer will not be available anymore.
People love to discover new things. In fact, people are discovering new things every day. How to make pancakes, What is the latest startup, Why are apples good for you and so forth.
Google has also acknowledged the fact that people love to discover things. They’ve come up with Google Discover which lets people discover news and topics without searching for them.
The word “huge” doesn’t have an exact measurement. But, when we see the word huge, we often assume that it is very large.
When used in headlines, it usually signifies that there are major changes. People get curious and naturally do not like to be left out.
8. Everything You Need
The next emotional trigger words on the list is one that I often use – “Everything You Need”. Well, not just me but many others as well.
A headline with this phrase lets readers know that this is just the article you need. It also tells readers that if they don’t have everything on the list, they’re at a disadvantage.
As you can see from the following image, we like to use it when writing our headlines as well. But, if you want to use it in your headline, always ensure that you are really providing the readers “everything”.
When people are unsure of what they should or should not do, they would seek advice on the web. Never, tells users things they should avoid and eliminate something.
For instance, “Never Do These When Travelling” or “10 Things Successful People Never Do”. Headlines like these spark curiosity as well, making people think about what they should never do, eat, or say.
People love to develop and grow, and that’s the reason why they are constantly seeking out things that they shouldn’t do as well.
It really isn’t easy to earn money. Since a very young age, our parents taught all of us to be frugal. They’ll teach us to not spend money on silly things.
As we grow older, we’ll understand and really focus on saving whenever we can. When the supermarket is having a buy 1, free 1 promotion or 20% off, we tend to be attracted. That is because we’re “saving”.
At the same time, there’s also the excitement of getting a bargain where shoppers will literally feel joy.
This isn’t based on our own hypothesis, but a study at Claremont University has found that receiving and using coupons actually decreases stress and increases a person’s oxytocin levels by as much as 38 percent.
To conclude, “save” is an incredibly effective word in sparking joy and making people take action to buy.
You and I are no stranger to the fact that the web does contain a lot of fake news, information, and content.
However, on the search engine results page (SERP) for almost any searches, you will definitely find a listing with the emotional trigger words “proven” and it’s for one simple reason: credibility.
You may not choose the third one but that’s okay. I’ll explain in #12.
The word tells users that thorough research has been done before the information was shared. However, if websites deceive them, they will hate your website and may not click on it anymore in the future.
12. Instant/ Fast
So, moving back to the question I asked in #11. If you did not choose the third website, it’s fine because the other two websites have used the emotional word “fast”, which is great for capturing attention.
Most people don’t want to waste their precious time and want things fast.
Things happen unexpectedly. In the case of unexpected events, people will search for a solution that includes the word fast or instant. While both of them have a similar idea, you should use them correctly.
When your article states instant, people will expect a very short and straightforward blog post, whereas, for fast, people expect a slightly longer blog post instead.
Powerful is a strong word. You probably use it a lot. “That hero is so powerful”, “That speech was so powerful “.
“Pssh… let me tell you a secret!“
Did I get your attention when I said I’m about to tell you a secret? Guess we have just proven the effectiveness of the word “secret”.
A secret is something that is not known by others. People like to know things many people don’t. It sparks curiosity. So when headlines have the word “secret”, it tells people that there is something they can uncover and learn from this article.
Premium means high-end or it indicates something of superior quality. Premium also can be associated with the word “special” which gets people interested and curious in some way. People love things that are unique and of great quality.
People may not afford the premium item but people enjoy looking at them and knowing about them. Also, if your business caters to the high income, having the word “premium” in your headline is a great way to attract them.
We, humans, only want the best. We always wish people all the best, best of luck, best wishes. When we buy something, we want something of the best quality or the best version there is. It makes people feel good too when they have the best.
How many of you are guilty of being attracted to the emotional word “best”?
Any of you have searched “Best Smartphone under $800” or “Best Football Player in Brazil.” We are just naturally interested in the best only.
“Best,” tells readers the content is going to provide them the best of something.
More means additional. People always want more and human is greedy to a certain extent. Having more of something is good, especially when it is free.
More is also often used for comparison purposes. People often want to know which is better, which is cheaper and which is efficient. So, ask a question comparing two things, then tell your audience which is “more” efficient, etc.
People is a great word to use in headlines. People always want to know what happened to another person and what other people think.
Headlines that include the word “people” tell the readers that the author has done studies and compiled information. Hence, it gives people a good reason to click on your headline.
Also, most of the things we do are for people (a.k.a. target audience), therefore, it is a good idea to understand other people; what they think and what they do, etc. Here are some examples:
We’ve reached the end of this list of 28 emotional trigger words
If you’ve noticed, the headline title says that you will be getting 28 words that you can use, but there are only 18 words here!
The remaining 10 words can be found here: The 10 Most Powerful Words for Creating Catchy Headlines.
This article that you’re reading is an add-on to the 10 powerful words we’ve listed previously. And I can tell you they’re still and will always be relevant.
I believe the words in that list include words you’ve expected to see here. So, go check out that article once you’re done with this one.
Before you go, here are two headline tips that will benefit you.
If you can, always use a Content Intelligent tool to make sure your entire content has high readability and consistent tone! Now that you’ve attracted the attention of the readers by using powerful emotional keywords, you want to keep the tone of the whole content consistent and offer the same kind of content your readers expected.
A good SEO tool that offers content intelligent function is the BiQ Suite. This tool mimics how search engines such as Google analyses and understand a piece of content. You can know how relevant each part of your content is to your targeted keyword, the sentiment of that specific part, and the readability.
It really is an amazing and helpful tool to use if you want to know how your content fare.
If you’re having a really hard time brainstorming for a blog title, why not give our blog title generator a try: Blog Title Generator by SEOPressor.
Simply type in your keyword and the generator will come up with a list of interesting titles for you. The generator takes into account most of these emotion-evoking words.
Let me give you an example, the keyword that I have chosen here is “Google Knowledge Graph” and here are the results:
Always try to include your keywords in the title. A keyword is what people search for in the search engine when looking up for something. For instance, when people want to learn about how they can increase brand exposure, they will type in brand awareness or brand exposure.
Keyword Intelligence from BiQ will give you a list of related keywords. What’s next? You can choose keywords that have a higher volume (number of searches). If you need content ideas after creating your title, you can switch to the content ideas tab. Before that, if you want to know the popular questions and trending topic surrounding your topic, you may do so in the following tabs.
By doing all these in the right direction, you are likely to gain more traffic with your keywords.
That’s it for the best practices for including emotional words in your headline. If you like this article, do share, and if you have any of your own powerful emotion-evoking words, do comment down below!
This post was originally written and published on Aug 8, 2019. It was most recently updated on September 8, 2020.
Updated: 21 July 2021