Persuasive Writing Technique #17 – The Emotions Evoking Effect

Persuasive Writing Technique #17 – The Emotions Evoking Effect


According to American psychologist Dr Robert Plutchik, he proposed that as human beings, we experience about 34,000 distinct emotions. But before you get worried that we need to learn or master all 34,000 emotions…

Remember… we’re sales people… our goal isn’t to become a world renowned psychologist.

So, why should we still study this topic?

Because emotions is sales!

Any good sales person must master the ability to evoke the right emotions at the right time.

Just imagine how different your sales appointment would be if you could trigger the feelings of greed if you’re selling an investment opportunity?

Or provide the feelings of security and assurance if you’re selling an insurance product.

Or how about the feelings of fulfillment and joy as a property agent?

If you’re starting to feel a little overwhelm…

Here’s the good news…

Writing emotional copy is much simpler than you think…

Let me prove it to you.

Always Start with a Core Emotion

While it sounds all nice and good that there are thousands of emotions to appeal to…

When it comes to any form of copywriting and sales writing…

All we really need to trigger is one core emotion.

In fact, in Dr. Plutchik’s theory of emotion and subsequently his wheel of emotions, he identified 8 core emotions which are polar opposites of each other:

  • Joy and Sadness
  • Fear and Anger
  • Surprise and Anticipation
  • Acceptance and Disgust

Within each of these core emotions, we could further dive into their sub-emotions such as contentment, despair, insecurity, bitterness, astonishment, excitement, respected or appalled.

But let’s not get carried away shall we?

The Big Secret of Emotion Writing

Here’s the thing about understanding emotions…

It’s not about identifying each and every one of them.

Why no…

Our goal is simply to evoke the core emotion we want our reader to experience in our writing.

But how do we go about doing that?

Through the right choice of words!

Okay, I know… that was a cop out… obviously, it’s through the words we use…

Well, more specifically, it’s about painting a picture with our choice of words within the headlines and even in the paragraph of text.

Here’s an example…

Supposed I wanted to convey the feeling of joy for someone opening a product…

Ordinal Copy: Sam was really happy to receive the email containing the login details of Manuscript’s Evoke Emotion Online Copywriting Workshop.

On the surface, that block of text is telling us that Sam was happy… but notice that it doesn’t really evoke the feelings when we read it.

Instead, what we want to do here is help our readers visualise this feeling and perhaps even experience it a little.

Emotionally-Charged Copy: Sam must have clicked on Gmail’s refresh button for the umpteenth time when the email finally popped in his inbox. He was ecstatic as he read the welcome email containing his user name, password and private access to his copy of Manuscript’s Evoke Emotion Online Copywriting Workshop.

Notice how a few small details transformed the flow of the copy?

A common bad habit writers have when describing their audience is they tend to fall on the word “really”…

As in, really happy, really sad, really scared, really angry, and so on.

Here are 15 sample words and phrases for each core emotion you can insert in your copy and instantly boost the emotional charge your copy was sorely missing.

Your Audience isn’t just Happy… They’re Having a Blast

  1. Amazed
  2. Blissful
  3. Delighted
  4. Thankful
  5. Satisfied
  6. Elated
  7. Jovial
  8. Child-like
  9. Playful
  10. Optimistic
  11. Spirited
  12. Vigorous
  13. Cheerful
  14. Vibrant
  15. Blest

Here is an example you can reference… let’s assume we’re writing for a health-related product…

E.g. The usual grouchy Mr Scrooge face lit up with child-like enthusiasm as he felt his decades-old backache subside after testing XYZ product.

To be Sad is One Thing, To be Devastated is Another

  1. Bitter
  2. Depressed
  3. Fatal
  4. Gloomy
  5. Grieve
  6. Lost
  7. Tragedy
  8. Tragic
  9. Trapped
  10. Weep
  11. Mourn
  12. Heartbreak
  13. Misery
  14. Poignant
  15. Anguish

Let’s use insurance as an example this time…

E.g. I remember the fateful day my uncle was rushed to hospital as clear as it was yesterday. The doctors and nurses with their forced-sympathetic look as they explained to my weeping grandmother that my uncle’s Medisave didn’t have enough money for the operation. I may have only been 7 years old but I can still see the anguish settling on the old woman’s face.

Don’t Just Inject Fear… Leave Them in the State of Panic

  1. Alarm
  2. Horror
  3. Mortified
  4. Nervousness
  5. Dread
  6. Distress
  7. Hysteria
  8. Doom
  9. Nightmare
  10. Phobia
  11. Plummet
  12. Frenzy
  13. Endangered
  14. Holocaust
  15. Warning

Well, how about an investment opportunity?

E.g. Warning, the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t just claiming lives… it’s about unleash mass hysteria in Singapore’s worst economic holocaust not seen since the Asian Financial Crisis of 95.

We Thought They Were Angry, Instead, They Were Out for Blood

  1. Revenge
  2. Backlash
  3. Punish
  4. Vengeance
  5. Vindication
  6. Rage
  7. Scorn
  8. Spite
  9. Wrath
  10. Torment
  11. Fury
  12. Hostility
  13. Outrage
  14. Livid
  15. Hate

Let’s up the ante shall we? Imagine introducing the feeling of hate for a product as warm and lovely as… pillows.

E.g. It’s outrageous, each morning, I wake up with a terribly sore neck, plus, my hair’s a complete mess. And guess what my wonderful boyfriend has to say about it? That I look like Frankenstein in a car accident. I’m downright livid. Enough is enough.

It’s No Longer Enough to Surprise Them… You’ve Got to Blow Their Minds

  1. Secret
  2. Sensational
  3. Shocker
  4. Stunned
  5. Astonishing
  6. Baffles
  7. Dazzle
  8. Eye-opener
  9. Phenomenon
  10. Unbelievable
  11. Unexpected
  12. Fascinating
  13. Wonder
  14. Thrill
  15. Dream

People Aren’t Just Anticipating Something Great, They Want to Believe it’s Their Destiny

  1. Expectations
  2. Pray
  3. Cherish
  4. Wish
  5. Magic
  6. Miracles
  7. Paradise
  8. Promised Land
  9. Freedom
  10. Future
  11. Faith
  12. Hope
  13. Foretaste
  14. Predict
  15. Rely on

The Secret to Acceptance is to First Instill Trust

  1. Assurance
  2. Confidence
  3. Certainty
  4. Reliable
  5. Guaranteed
  6. Genuine
  7. Secured
  8. Honest
  9. Supportive
  10. Clarity
  11. Convenient
  12. Approved
  13. Instant
  14. Authentic
  15. Stable

It’s One Thing to Feel Disgusted, It’s Another to be Ashamed of Oneself

  1. Abuse
  2. Accused
  3. Blunders
  4. Loser
  5. Embarrassed
  6. Gullible
  7. Stupid
  8. Humiliated
  9. Mistake
  10. Pathetic
  11. Degraded
  12. Resigned
  13. Broken
  14. Laggards
  15. Bankrupt

E.g. 20th Century Biggest Tech Giant Admit this One Mistake Cost Them Everything. Please Don’t Let Their Inadequacy Ever Influence Your Business.

Want More Emotion Evoking Examples? How About a Guided Hands-on Workshop?

By now, you should have an upgraded thesaurus of words to emotionally charge your sales copy.

I’m currently in the midst of planning out a full-fledged copywriting workshop that will help aspiring sales individuals and copywriters transform your writing.

To give it more oomph and finesse.

One of the biggest disadvantages I’ve found with the 8 core emotions of the Emotions Wheel is that they are not sales-focused.

Learning how to tap on these emotions is useful from a content writing perspective… that is when writing essays and thesis papers.

But for the majority of business owners and salespeople… when we’re writing persuasive sales letters and advertisement… our goal and focus are always to convert another sale.

And the words in our arsenal has to be precise and accurate.

They have to trigger the right emotions at the right time.

Just imagine, if you could identify the primary emotion your industry audience is stuck on… and more importantly… learn how to press the right “buttons”… through your words… and through your text.

How much more powerful would your sales messages be?

And that’s the main premise of the Manuscript’s Evoke Emotion Copywriting Workshop.

It’s the perfect starter course for anyone new to the world of copywriting and needs a guided hands-on workshop to get started.

So, if you’re interested, do stay tuned to get the latest workshop details. And do let me know what your biggest content goals are so I can include them in the course materials.

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