The most powerful weapon to make people listen (AND buy everything you offer).

Without content there’s no sale.

Content is images, audio, video and copy, especially copy.

For certain products images are the most important element – for the fashion industry basically – but for everything else the copy is what will generate curiosity first and desire to buy later.

Within copywriting there’s a technique which is very effective when it comes to attracting people to read your content.

For certain well-known brands the copy doesn’t need to be very long, 2 powerful sentences and that’s it. Like for example Nike or Apple. They just need a catchy slogan.

But for the rest of us mortals, who don’t (yet) have a brand that sells on its own and want to have our own space among all the offers out there, we need to convince prospects.

And we won’t succeed if people don’t read (or listen to) what we have to tell.

Recommended reading How long should your copy be?

There’s a powerful weapon to attract people’s attention and this is precisely what I want to talk about today.


Copywriting for internationals

What are fascinations?

Fascination is a term in copywriting created by copywriter Mel Martin in the 1960s and we still use them today to sell all kinds of products and services.

In essence, a fascination is a powerful sentence that aims to arouse the reader’s curiosity and make them want to know more by provoking an action.

Fascinations can be used in:

  • Headlines
  • Product pages
  • Brochures
  • Service pages
  • Email subjects

And in general in any piece of copy with which you intend to sell something.

One of Mel Martin’s most famous ad is this one below.

Mel Martin and fascinations

With this ad Mel wanted to sell a cookbook and as he was a genius with fascinations, he started the ad copy with them.

Do you see they all follow the same structure?

Fascinations are also called bullets in advertising jargon, I like to think they are called that because they go straight to the heart of the prospect.

They seem easy to come up with because they are normally quite short, but in reality there’s hard work behind.

If cooking isn’t your thing, you won’t be interested, but if you like to cook for your guests and want to get better at it, you’ll be curious to know more about these tricks.

How to create fascinations

Fascinations tease the value of what you are offering and embellish the benefit prospects will get.

These two elements are key, they will trigger the curiosity and desire of your prospects.

To make sure fascinations are effective, they also need to put a clear image in the reader’s mind through powerful words.

Look at this sentence:

The 7-step formula that even an illiterate dropout can use to write copy that is 100 times more effective than the best advertising agency.

This is a powerful fascination.

Let’s analyse it to better understand how it’s been created so we can replicate this formula.

How does it arouse curiosity?

When it says “the 7-step formula that even an illiterate dropout can use to write copy” we ask ourselves: “which is that formula that sounds so easy?”

How does it embellish the benefit?

When it says “copy that is 100 times more effective than the best advertising agency” you are extolling a benefit that prospects crave.

How does it put an image in our minds?

By using expressions such as “an illiterate dropout” or “the best advertising agency”, it helps us to put ourselves in a situation and even see it.

What powerful words does it contain?

Illiterate, 100 times, the best advertising agency… These are powerful words that exalt the message.

This fascination could be used in an article headline or in the lead of a product page.

Imagine you have written a book on copywriting and in the product description you add a list of fascinations with all the things people will learn with the book.

This sentence could be part of that list.

English Copywriter

Let’s look at another example.

How to conquer any nervous moment during your first conversation, first date or even first intimate encounters. (And how to be “in control” even when you feel otherwise).

How does it arouse curiosity?

When it says “How to” it’s arousing our curiosity as they assure us knowing the way to achieve something we want.

How does it embellish the benefit?

When it says “And how to be “in control” even when you feel otherwise” it’s what every shy person wants in nervous situations, such as a first date.

How does it put a picture in our minds?

When we say first date, first intimate encounter, we can perfectly imagine that awkward moment when we undress (physically or mentally) for the first time in front of someone.

Which powerful words does it contain?

Be in control, intimate encounter.

Do you see now how fascinations work?

The best way to master them is to practice a lot and write and write fascinations until you realise you’ve mastered the technique.

Eddie Shleyner from Very Good Copy offers a mini-course to learn the technique of writing fascinations.

The course is actually about transcribing 100 fascinations over 5 days.

You learn copywriting techniques by transcribing copy written by the masters until you create your own style and dominate all the techniques.

With Eddie’s mini-course you can learn the structure of fascinations and what kind of powerful words they use.

Here I have put a list with some of these powerful words so you have them at hand:

annihilate – invade -natter – triumphant – pulverize – effort – whimsical – revive – support – ooze – polish – spark – irreverent – extirpate – anodyne –  flimsy – backhanded – disdain – wobbly – thrive – overcome – squander – avoid – fly – propel – shatter – resurrect – glide – marvel – dazzle – take off – control – glue – shatter – miracle – marvel – conquer – bravery – delight – believe – sensational – encourage – revelatory – filling – daring

These are just a few words that help to put an image in people’s minds and capture attention.

But there are many more.

The best way to enrich your vocabulary is to read a lot of everything. Not only copy but also novels, news, etc.

I have a folder on Microsoft Notes where I write words I read or hear around that I like and think I can use in my copy.

You can download the app to your mobile to have it always at hand. Any note-taking app like Evernote, etc. will do.


If you know how to use them, you’ve got a better chance of making your message stand out from the rest.

Remember, fascinations need to:

  • Tease the value
  • Embellish the benefit
  • Put an image in people’s minds
  • Use powerful words

See you around!

Sobre Elena de Francisco

Escribo copy que engancha para negocios sin fronteras. Vivo en Holanda, pero escribo donde me pille. Mi entretenimiento favorito es aplastar textos zombis que no dan resultados y transformarlos en palabras que venden.

About Elena de Francisco

I write copy that hooks into prospects minds for businesses without borders. I live in the Netherlands, but I write everywhere. My favourite pastime is to crush zombie copy and turn it into words that sell.



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