One of the biggest stumbling blocks I see people have is choosing the right words to name their cookies, book titles and headlines. There’s this expectation of coming up with something clever quickly… without thinking about the tone and emotions your words convey.

But the reality of it is… It’s almost impossible to think up a great title in a hurry.

You need to pick words and build your “word palette” before you can actually write anything. Just like an artist carefully picks their color palette to set the mood of a painting. Your chosen words will set the tone and underlying emotions of your headlines, book titles, cookies… and everything else you write.

Here’s what I mean…

When I was working with a financial advisor on their Profit Activator 2 book offer, the headline we came up with for the postcards was:

“Three avoidable surprises that derail even the most cautious retirement plan.”

Reread this headline… and notice how every word is loaded with emotional value.

The word THREE implies, “these three surprises exist that you don’t know about.” Then there’s the word CAUTIOUS. A common word choice here would be “conservative,” but when you think about it… “cautious” has so much more emotion attached to it. And every conservative investor considers themselves cautious anyway.

Next, there’s the word SURPRISES. A typical headline you see people use is, “Three mistakes investors make…” But notice how I DIDN’T use the word “mistakes”? That’s because the word “surprise” is neutral. It means that nobody’s at fault. It happens unexpectedly, no matter how prepared and cautious you are.

But then, the word AVOIDABLE sits right next to it. And your subconscious translates that to, This bit of information can protect you even when something unexpected – like a surprise! – happens. And then there’s the word DERAIL, which is such a tremendous emotional word for something going off-track.

Now, compare all this to a typical headline like”Three mistakes even the most conservative investors make.”

  • Can you see the difference?
  • Can you feel the emotional impact of the first one… and the “meh” reaction to the second one?

That’s precisely what you want to create with your titles and headlines: A strong emotional pull toward whatever you offer.

Your goal is to get people engaged to take that next step. And picking the right emotional word palette to set the tone of your message will do that for you.

For more tips on developing your emotional word palette, click here.