Copywriter’s Toolbox

Power Word Play for Copywriters: ‘Astonishing’ Your Readers

Get Their Attention

Shannon Cheesman
3 min readAug 12, 2022

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Every copywriter who is worth their salt uses power words (they trigger an emotion or response, either positive or negative) to their advantage. Power words are known for getting people to click on headlines, open emails, sign up for a mailing list, share content with others, and even purchase a product or service. They’re a powerful marketing tool and something that should be in every copywriter’s toolbox.

I’m a professional, full-time copywriter for a digital marketing agency, but even I don’t use enough power words in my copy. So as an exercise to make it stick for myself and educate others at the same time, I’ve challenged myself to research and spotlight a power word from time to time.

For this article, I’m focusing on this word:

astonishing
(adjective)
Causing a feeling of great surprise or wonder
Source: Merriam-Webster

First, How NOT To Use This Power Word

The word “astonishing” is one of those power words that I believe can easily be misused when what you’re writing about isn’t genuinely astonishing. For example, let’s say you receive an email with the subject line:

“Don’t miss this astonishing offer on premium bedsheets.”

You might open the email hoping for a significant discount, maybe half off, for example. Now imagine what you’d think if you open the email and all you see is a coupon for 5% off. Nothing is astonishing about that deal at all, right?

OK, Now Here’s How You SHOULD Use This Power Word

Used correctly, the power word “astonishing” can grab people’s attention, which is precisely what you want it to do for you. Take, for example, these five medium articles written by Medium authors who used the power word “astonishing” in their headlines. Each piece intrigued me and prompted me to read further.

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Shannon Cheesman

I’m a marketing copywriter with a background in TV news. I’ve written everything from blogs to breaking news stories (and everything in between) in my career.