The Big 4 Emotions in Copywriting

Published by MLCH on

In copy, there are 4 main emotions you want to trigger in your reader’s mind.

Every word of it is designed to serve these 4 emotions.


People are highly skeptical of advertising and have very short attention spans.

The most direct way to combat this is to put something new in front of them.

To frame how important New is… Just remember this phrase: “Categorization is Death”.

If the reader ever feels they can label your message as something they’ve “seen before…”

i.e. They think: “This is  just like that thing I saw yesterday…”

Then your copy is dead.

You can combat it by using these words…

  • Breakthrough
  • Revolutionary
  • Discovery
  • Game-Changing
  • Disruptive
  • NEW
  • Announcing
  • Revealed
  • Breaking

They tell the reader, “You actually have NOT seen this before. Keep reading to discover what it is…”

Why is “New” so important?

The value of your product is what problem it solves for your customer.

If you go deeper, chances are that your reader has had this problem for a while…

And they’ve probably bought a similar product, and it failed them.

They are now keenly aware and averse to what doesn’t work.

But they’re still looking for that magic bullet/magic pill/one secret that will finally solve their problem.

If you put your solution in the same frame as others, they will think it won’t work. So why even bother reading your copy?

But if you covey this is BRAND NEW, then there’s hope for them.

This could be the thing.

This could finally be it.

The emotion of New isn’t just about holding their attention to learn about this new thing.

Many beginners in copywriting believe intrigue alone will propel readers to continue reading.

Even though New does hold attention, and New does have power…

Its power comes from one thing NOBODY talks about…

New offers “hope”

Hope that finally, the one thing that they have been searching for is in front of them.


Everyone likes a push-button solution.

Or they want the “simple trick to 10x your results”.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. They are lazy
  2. They are insecure


You can play into their laziness by making the solution take very little time…

“Six-minute abs.”

“The 4 HourWeeks”

or by creating a system…

or step-by-step solution…

or by making it push button…

The second reason, they are insecure, goes deeper into psychology.

Like the New emotion, there is a chance that your prospect has tried something similar to what you’re offering now…

And it failed them. Maybe they blamed the products they bought. But maybe, at a deeper level, they blamed themselves.

“I’m not smart enough.”

“I’m not rich enough.”

“I’m too ugly, too short, too fat, too bald, too oily, too weak…”

So you can multiply the effect of Easy by making things easy enough that Anybody can do it.

When you convey that “anybody can do XYZ,” you are conveying that the process has been dumbed down for the lowest common denominator.

Even though people may think they are bad at something, they never believe that they are the dumbest person on the planet.

This leads us to what is known as “Not Statements”.

Not Statements have two uses:

  1. Build Intrigue
  2. Convey easy/Anybody

The first statement is to build intrigue. Use this when your reader might think they know what you’re talking about already, but then you say…

“I can easily help you get abs in 6 days with this breakthrough technique…

It’s not muscle confusion.

It’s not power-lifting.

And it’s not cardio…”

You want your reader left thinking, “Well shit… What is it?!”

So that’s the intriguing side of Not Statements.

The other primary use of Not Statements is to directly employ the Easy/Anybody emotions…

“You can earn $1,000 a week in passive income starting next Monday…

And you don’t have to be a financial genius or even have finished high school.

You don’t have to have any coding or web experience, you could get started in the next five minutes with nothing but an internet connection.

And you don’t have to have a lot of money… all you need is $10!”

What not statements do in this context is provide the reader with the certainty that the solution is not too difficult for them.

In other words, the reader doesn’t have to do any real work and they are already over-qualified.

Now when you read copywriting, I expect the REAL meaning behind the following words and phrases to POP out at you…

  • Easy
  • Anybody
  • Simple
  • Push-button
  • Automatic
  • Fool-proof
  • Step-by-step
  • System
  • All you have to do is…
  • All is needed to do…
  • Simply follow the steps…
  • Not statements
  • You don’t need…

Now you know that the copywriter is pushing the Easy/Anybody emotion into action.

“This solution will not require work from you… And it is not too complicated to be beyond your reach.


To capture attention, copywriters are forced to put some pretty bold promises in front of their readers.

Unfortunately, what the copywriters gain in attention with bold promises also comes handcuffed to additional skepticism.

A Hidden Benefit of Safe

Employing the Safe emotion will combat reader skepticism…

And it will also make your offer more appear more VALUABLE to your reader.

Psychology studies have shown that when people consider something “risky,” they also judge that thing’s benefits as less valuable.

Conversely, when folks deem something as “safe,” they automatically attribute a higher value to that thing’s benefits.

This might feel counterintuitive to the real world, where higher risk usually comes tied to higher potential rewards, but copywriters are not selling to logical beings…

They are selling to people.

So knowing what we know about irrational people, Safe emotion serves two goals:

1. It makes the reader less skeptical about your offer, thereby making the reader more open to the idea of buying

2. By reducing risk, Safe automatically increases the reader’s perceived value of your offer, because studies have shown that things people perceive as “less risky” are perceived as “more valuable”

That makes Safe a very powerful emotion.

And since it has two benefits, it has exponential returns for copywriters!

There’s a powerful way to increase the level of Safe a reader feels.

If a copywriter can convey that something follows a predictable pattern…

That the opportunity follows in step with something similar that has happened before…

Or that this opportunity or its benefits are “inevitable”, then readers will perceive that thing as even more “safe”.

Showing patterns inside credibility, track record, testimonials, case studies, success stories, etc., demonstrates that “xyz result” is more “Predictable.”

You can automatically translate the following words and phrases when you see them for what they really mean: “This is Safe, therefore it is exceptionally beneficial and valuable.”

  • Happened before
  • Predictable
  • Safe
  • History is repeating itself
  • Just like we’ve seen before
  • Again
  • The last time this happened…


Big generally refers to the size of the opportunity at hand.

This emotion communicates that the opportunity in front of the reader is extremely important, groundbreaking, and rewarding.

Big is probably the most abstract emotion of the four. It can take many forms – but it can also be directly stated in copy.

Also, the other three emotions can directly feed into Big…

If something is New, it could be disruptive.

Disruption is usually Big.

“The last time something like this happened, it was extremely disruptive…”

That also weaves Predictability in the mix, since we infer we have seen something similar when we say “the last time.”

A writer can weave Easy into Big by saying something like:

“This is so easy you’ll never trade stocks the same way again.”

So you see, the emotions can work in harmony.

Big is important because it demands attention.

It infers change, and that is usually why someone reads your copy…

Because they want a change.

And Big works especially well when coupled with fear of missing out (FOMO).

Fear of Missing Out

Big lends itself easily to FOMO.

For example…

“Do you want to miss out on the chance to invest in the next Google/Amazon/Facebook?

Because that’s how much money is at stake…”

The reader might feel: “Wow, that’s pretty big. I should pay attention.”

Big’s Alter Ego is “Fast”

It is important that the reader feel like they are standing at the foot of a mountain of opportunity.

“This single thing can improve your life 10,000%.”

The only thing better than something that big…

“This single thing can improve your life 10,000% overnight…”

It’s great to see your money grow by 10,000%…

To see your strength improve by 10,000%…

To see your skin look 10,000% silkier and younger…But what’s better than those Big changes?

All of that stuff in a matter of seconds, minutes, days…

Not years.

So Fast multiplies the Big of your offer.

Knowing this, you can automatically translate the following phrases…

  • Big
  • Fast
  • Monster
  • Huge
  • Once in a lifetime
  • Quickly
  • Overnight
  • Weekly

You’ll know that Big commands attention…

It triggers FOMO…

And the only thing better than Big is getting something Big NOW.

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