The Monster List of Power Verbs to Supercharge Headlines

The most important part of your message is how you make people feel after they read it. Headlines capture attention.  Add this list of emotional verbs to your verbal arsenal to get the attention you need.


Monster power words for headlines

I still remember my professor at Kentucky Wesleyan College. He refused to allow us to use any form of the verbs "is" or "have" in our writing. We had to practice the active voice alone. That class impacted my life likely more than any other class I ever took, because it forced me to journey toward specificity and color in my writing. 

That's what speaks to people. It makes them pay attention. But what really matters is how you make them feel, how the picture you paint in their minds affects their emotions. You're creating a bond.  

Tag lines and headlines are the haiku of copywriting. A powerful headline or tagline stimulates Broca's area of the brain. It surprises you. It's extraordinary. It compels you to act, to click, to read, to respond, to hear. The pen truly is mightier than the sword. An amazing headline can start a movement, but the power of a great headline is in the verbs. 

You just need the right tools. Power words.

Power words are active. They capture the imagination, paint a picture. They insist. Power words are eccentric. They aren't spoken all the time, when you read them they stand out because they aren't heard normally. They're unexpected. Power words stir the emotions, they evoke. They might spark nostalgia, lust, anger, or curiosity. They might appeal to the longing for the forbidden. They might provoke envy or jealousy. A power word feels dangerous and a little bit flirty. And for someone staring at a Facebook Ad Campaign manager reaching for a magic bullet to help them convert? Power words rescue.

Swipe from this list when you need to, and remember, Red Toad Media loves you and wants you to be happy. 

Fear Verbs For Copywriting


alarm
hate
hunger
risk
dislike
worry
fear
annoy
arouse
avoid
crave
harass
provoke
suspect
scare
cower
cringe
shudder
tremble
shiver
dismay
doubt
audit
quail
quake
tremor
chill
miss
blunder
omit
slip
fail
decline
decrease
drop
plunge
slump
spill
cut
dive
swindle
dwindle
lapse
plummet
tumble
fall
fizzle
flop
fold
flounder
founder
ruin

Success Verbs for Copywriting

succeed
accomplish
beat
best
exceed
outdo
outperform
outshine
outplay
confound
gain
conquer
slam
rout
crush
clobber
cream
drub
foil
frustrate
lick
master
thwart
whip
zap
trample
wipe
achieve
benefit
flourish
gain
get
overcome
prevail
prosper
realize
thrive
triumph
win
acquire
conquer
earn
fulfill
hit
punch
obtain
attain
outrun
outwit
profit
reap
receive
recover
retrieve
score
secure
surmount
vanquish
silence
demolish
embarrass
annihilate
extinguish
quench
wreck
outflank
humiliate
wallop
score
bloom
mushroom
advance
progress
boost
magnify
ripen
swell
stuffwork
heighten
delight
cram
savor
profit
reach
strengthen
fortify
nourish
refresh
rejuvenate
possess
grab
capture
catch
grasp
grip
seize
snag
snatch
take
hook
land
nab
nail
pluck
excite

Emotion verbs for copywriting


amaze
anger
astound
disturb
energize
thrill
vex
arouse
awaken
chafe
electrify
elicit
evoke
fire
fluster
foment
galvanize
goad
incite
induce
inflame
infuriate
instigate
intensify
jar
jolt
kindle
madden
mock
move
provoke
quicken
rouse
stimulate
flabbergast
shock
stun
surprise
startle
wow
slay
charm
beckon
beguile
attract
seduce
entrance
entice
engage
draw
fascinate
intrigue
lure
spellbind
steer
bewitch
amuse
dazzle
hypnotize
trick
mesmerize
please
ravish
satisfy
magnetize
knockout
smash
splash
tingle
quicken
stir
marvel
elate
bless
expect
promise
give
deliver
drain
exhaust
consume
sacrifice
suffer
hoard
reward

Taboo Verbs (verbs that evoke the forbidden)

Bare
Divulge
Expose
Reveal
Discover
Steal
Swipe
Hack
Loot
Pilfer
Cheat
Pillage
Pirate
Cheat
Bluff
Confide
Hide
Conspire
Cloak
Innovate
Disrobe
Divest
Unclothe
Undress
Trick
Craft
Plot
Spoof
Feint
Parody
Prank
Tickle
Kiss
Resist

When you're working on a NAME then try to tie that name to an emotion, evoke an emotional response. For a real example of how this works watch this video clip from Mad Men. Listen to the words the main character uses. This illustrates exactly what we are trying to help you to see.

Need More? Get out the Thesaurus and work with it. Look for action verbs related to the emotion you want to elicit. Think about how your readers will feel when they hear it. Create a spellbinding message. Get that attention you need.


About the Author

Anne Miles is the owner and Toad-in-Chief at Red Toad Media. A trained graphic designer, Anne has been a speaker at WordCamp and the IRCE Digital Design Conference. She has been interviewed by Inc Magazine and the Wall Street Journal and published a contribution for Smashing Magazine, one of the top web design blogs in the world. You can follow her on Twitter at @redtoadmedia



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