How To Use Trigger Words When You Write

How To Use Trigger Words When You Write


What are trigger words?

A trigger word is: ‘a word that initiates a process or course of action’

Trigger words are an essential tool for writers to understand and to use. Words are powerful and the more skilled you are at using them, the more effective you will be at communicating.

Trigger words cause an emotional response in people. The feelings they elicit stay with us far longer than the words themselves. Remember Maya Angelou’s wise words: ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

Your word choice affects whatever you are writing, be it a press release, an email, a blog post, a memoir, or a novel. If you want people to feel excited or nervous or afraid, there are certain words you should use and others you should avoid.

Do you want them to feel?

In fiction writing, you learn how to do this with plotting, pacing, and theme. You add layers and moods with the words you choose. You create a tone for the work.

In business writing, you learn how to do this by understanding what you want your reader to do. Do you want them to think about an issue? Do you want them to buy a product? Do you want them to empathise with you?

In blogging, you learn how to choose words that firstly make people visit your blog, and secondly make them want to come back.

Do you want them to act?

  1. A person will only read your thought-provoking article if you make them curious enough to do so.
  2. A person will only buy something if they need it or if they imagine it will improve their life.
  3. A person will only empathise with you if they agree with you.

Trigger words are an important part of persuasive writing.

High Emotion Words

The Persuasion Revolution has put together a selection of 380 words intended to create specific emotional responses. You can use them for writing fiction and non-fiction. They are especially useful for writing blogs and blog post titles.

They are sorted under the following headings:

  1. Curiosity
  2. Urgency
  3. Confusion
  4. Anger
  5. Safe and satisfied
  6. Happy and alive
  7. Inspired
  8. Relaxed and peaceful

For example:

“Emotional State: Curiosity (when you want them to be gripped by an unshakeable desire to click and read more):

  • Secret
  • Confidential
  • Controversial
  • Underground
  • What no one tells you
  • Have you heard
  • Cover-up
  • Forbidden
  • Banned
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Secret agenda
  • Secret plot
  • Insider
  • Off-the record
  • Blacklisted
  • Censored
  • Concealed
  • Confessions
  • Unbelievable
  • Covert
  • No one talks about
  • Hidden
  • Underground”

Read the full list here: 380 High Emotion Words

P.S. Learn how to blog and write for social media. Join us for The Complete Blogging Course. If you want to improve your business writing skills, join us for The Plain Language Programme.

 by Amanda Patterson

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