I’ve got a nice little treat for you today. My go-to formula whether I’m writing an article, landing page, email, or a LinkedIn profile summary.
I’ve used it so much this formula has become second nature. And should become second nature for you, too.
It will help speed things along, allow you to structure difficult concepts and copy in a persuasive format.
Keep in mind this formula not only works for short-form copy, but long form as well. Most successful sales letters are structured this way.
In this 7-minute episode discover:
- How I found out about this formula (involves a television evangelist)
- My strong feelings about why everyone should learn copywriting
- How to make this formula second nature
- How to add variety to this formula
- A small challenge to you (involves this formula)
The Show Notes
My Favorite Copywriting Formula … Ever!
Demian Farnworth: Hi, and welcome to Rough Draft, your daily dose of essential web writing advice. I am your host, Demian Farnworth, the Chief Content Writer for Copyblogger Media.
And thank you for sharing the next few minutes of your life with me.
I hope you enjoyed last week. A week of interviews. A week of breaking the usual Rough Draft monologue mold.
Let me know what you think of those interviews. Drop a comment or hit me up on Twitter.
I’ve got a nice little treat for you today. A formula. My favorite copywriting formula. My go-to formula, whether I’m writing an article, landing page, email, or a LinkedIn profile summary.
I’ve used it so much, this formula has become second nature. And should become second nature for you, too.
It will help speed things along, structure difficult concepts and copy.
Speaking of copy, consider this episode an introduction to the next set of episodes where we are going to hit a stretch of shows that focus on copywriting.
And when I say a stretch, I mean a long stretch. A Route 66 sort of stretch.
My Strong Feelings About Why Everyone Should Learn Copywriting
See, the study of copywriting is essential for web writers because the tricks of persuasion you’ll learn from copywriting will keep visitors on your page.
In past episodes we talked about the on-page elements to keep people reading … things like sub-headlines, great sentences, internal cliffhangers, powerful endings …
And now we are going to talk about the emotional side of writing.
Because if you are online to build a business or an organization or promote a cause, then you need to be persuasive since, ultimately, you want people to act in some way.
And persuasion — this discipline of copywriting — is the ticket to getting there. The great thing about studying the art and science of copywriting is that when you master the fundamentals like this formula, you acquire skills that you can take anywhere.
How I Found Out About this Formula (Involves a Television Evangelist)
So, what formula am I talking about? I’m talking about the Problem-Agitate-Solve formula. That is my favorite copywriting formula in the world.
The formula works like this:
- Identify a problem
- Agitate that problem
- Trot out the solution
I learned this formula when I was a copy cub working for a world-famous television evangelist.
This woman toured the country every other week, held a three-day conference in a major city, and then hit the road again.
So she did this like 26 times a year.
After each conference the production team flipped the audio and video files into cassette and VHS tapes. My job was to write descriptions for the product sleeves.
And because I was limited in space — about six sentences total — and, more important, I was limited in time. (I had poems to write.)
I needed a fast way to knock these descriptions out.
So I dialed into AOL and rummaged through the search listings until I came across some direct-response copywriter’s email newsletter archive.
And for hours I laid waste to his treasures until I emerged with what I needed: the problem-agitate-solve (PAS) formula.
How to Make this Formula Second Nature
From that point I experimented. Here’s an example of an ad I might have written back then.
Insecure? You’re not alone. Millions of people admit to being insecure. Yet, remain that way and you’ll live a life in the shadows. A life on the fringe. Always wishing, never doing. Fortunately, there’s an answer.
Then I’d introduce the television evangelist’s teaching for that tape, which was the solution. Worked like a charm.
This formula came in handy 18 months later when I was in charge of writing product descriptions for hundreds of products for an online store. At the time it was mind-numbing, but the deliberate practice made the formula part of me.
It was muscle memory.
How to Add Variety to this Formula
You can also add a little variety. For instance, you can ask two or three questions in your opening: “Frustrated with your job? Hate your boss? Love to work for yourself? You’re not alone.”
And so on.
Keep in mind this formula not only works for short-form copy, but long form as well. Most successful sales letters are structured this way. Brian Clark’s Site Sensor post is a great example. I’ll link to that in the show notes. Brian identified the dominant pain point, aggravated it, and then trotted out the solution.
And that’s my favorite copywriting formula.
A Small Challenge to You (Involves this Formula)
So here’s my challenge to you. An opportunity to practice this formula. Jump on Twitter or in the comments here on the podcast and convince me of something … something like following you or listening to your podcast or reading an article you wrote … and make sure you use the PAS formula.
Make sense? Okay. You got your marching orders. Go and write. I look forward to hearing from you.
And until next time, take care.