The Word Secret Behind Donald Trump’s Billion-Dollar Empire

Sandy Franks

Although I would love to tell you Donald Trump is reading The Golden Thread, the truth is, sometimes things are just a matter of coincidence.

However, this coincidence is so good I couldn’t help but tell you about it because you’re going to learn the word secret behind The Donald’s billion-dollar empire.

But that’s not all. He’s using the same word secret to stampede his way through to possibly winning the Republican nomination for President.

And just to clarify, this issue has nothing to do with politics.

I’m simply highlighting a powerful writing secret that could actually become the make-or-break point in your paid writing career.

So, let’s get to it.

Fewer Complicated Words are Better

Like so many people, I’m often shocked at the statements coming from Donald Trump’s mouth. Sometimes what he says is so outrageous, he can’t possibly plan this stuff in advance. Or does he?

The truth is, he knows exactly which words to use. When University of Pennsylvania linguistics professor Mark Yoffe analyzed some of Donald’s statements, he found that Trump sticks with one-syllable words and with simple sentences such as, "We have a real problem."

He also found that Donald rarely uses complex sentences or words.

There’s one analysis in particular that got my attention because it used a word-scoring technique we’ve been teaching for years now … the Flesch-Kincaid score or FK.

If you’re not familiar with it, the FK scores what you’ve written based on three criteria: passive sentences, ease of reading, and grade level.

The number of passive sentences should be between zero and 15%, but ideally you want the score to be zero. For reading ease, 1 is hard; 100 is easy. The ideal reading ease range is 60% to 70%. The ideal grade level score should be 7th to 8th grade.

Picking the Right Words: The Key to Selling

A linguistics expert used the FK score on Donald’s answer to this question: Is it wrong and un-American to discriminate against people based on their religion? Here’s Donald’s answer:

The words in red are ones he emphasized when talking. The blue ones show repetition. His FK grade level score: 4.2 (4th grade). The same FK scoring was applied to other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton, who ranged from 6th and 8th grade, and Bernie Sanders, who scored on a 10th grade level.

The linguistic expert summed up his findings on Donald’s word choices like this, “Trump uses words the way a good salesman would. Repetition of phrases and important words, simplified speech: These are the keys to a good sale.”

I think everyone agrees that Donald is a good salesman. In fact, it’s fair to say his selling ability is the secret to his billion-dollar empire.

Good Writers Use the FK Score

The FK is the secret to selling in print and online too. It’s proven to have a direct impact on revenues. Several years ago, Steve Sjuggerud, the editor of the popular financial newsletter True Wealth, gave a presentation on an FK discovery he made that tied editorial quality and revenues together.

He ran articles from the highest and lowest performing newsletters at Agora, Inc. through the FK rating system. Newsletters with the highest sales had almost perfect FK scores. Those with low sales had the worst scores.

Here’s the takeaway from this article: The FK score is a powerful tool. If you aren’t using FK scores on everything you write, you are doing yourself a disservice. Worse yet, you’re probably leaving lots of money on the table not only for your client, but also for yourself.

Start using it regularly and I’ll bet your writing improves dramatically.

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Published: March 28, 2016

5 Responses to “The Word Secret Behind Donald Trump’s Billion-Dollar Empire”

  1. On March 3, 2016, I received a phone call from someone in AWAI member services who told me that his grandmother told him to never discuss religion or politics at work. It seemed to me that the reason for the phone call was to discourage me from discussing political or religious topics in the AWAI forums. Since Donald Trump is a current 2016 Presidential candidate, I'm wondering why this article has been posted here?


  2. Good FK scores equal good sales.

    Capture Emotions help your body heal

  3. "And just to clarify, this issue has nothing to do with politics.

    I’m simply highlighting a powerful writing secret that could actually become the make-or-break point in your paid writing career"

    Excellent article, and confirmation of his marketing genius (either his or who is advising him). Like him or his politics or not, he has amassed million of followers and voters.

    I don't listen to Bernie Sanders often, but I bet his success is related to this approach as well.

    Guest (Denise)

  4. Sadly, a very high percentage of Americans are not terribly literate, even those who have graduated college. Those "two dollar" words tend to confuse or distract them from your message. Additionally, people listen to, and feel comfortable with, those who seem to be most like themselves. Its human nature.


  5. I was always taught KISS for Keep It Simple Stupid is the best route to go when talking with anyone and trying to get them to see your point of view or selling them a product.


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