If you’ve ever tried improvising a new recipe and failed spectacularly, you know the importance of following proven steps.
Replacing baking powder with baking soda, for example, makes baked goods taste like soap. (I worked as a pastry chef many decades ago, so trust me on this.)
Or maybe you don’t mind your dinner guests spitting out their food and abruptly leaving.
In that case, carry on.
For the most part, unless your name is Bobby Flay — who can make an old tennis shoe tasty enough to become a Chopped winner — same goes for writing copy that converts.
Targeted, conversion-oriented, emails, blog posts, landing pages, sales pages and more typically follow proven formulas based on analytics.
All this sounds extremely boring and uncreative, but it’s not. And I say this from a creative person’s perspective.
There’s wiggle room within the rules once you know the overarching ones. Just like following a recipe.
But setting the foundation is everything.
To follow through on my baking analogy, it’s like learning how to make bread. Once you know the proportions of flour, sugar, salt, etc., and you’ve baked it several times, you can play around with alternate ingredients.
Add a handful of chocolate chips, blueberries or nuts and you won’t likely ruin the main product.
The key to writing copy that works (e.g. produces leads and sales) lies in using an established, tested and proven pattern or process.
This takes experimentation and testing. Many copywriters have their preferred method. One they remember, easily implement and one that produces results.
You can find dozens of acronyms with conversions (sales, leads) as the goal.
For example, these are all various copywriting formula alphabet soup acronyms for web pages:
AIDA, AAPPA, ACCA, AIDCA, PPPP, QUEST
… and more.
(I’ll cover these in later posts.)
But the gist of purpose of all these formulas is to capture attention in some way, either by helping the reader focus on the the problem they’d like to solve, and proving or demonstrating how your product can bring them relief from that pain.
This works for anything you write, from blog posts to body copy to emails and more.
Today, I’d like to talk about one of the most well-known, widely used formulas:
- Problem: The pain or problem your ideal customer feels
- Agitation: Poke at this pain so the reader feels it enough to want to make a change
- Solution: Present your solution to their problem
I like it because it’s simple to follow, easy to remember and, when done right, gets your reader to take action.
Here are a few examples: This ad by Ramit Sethi gets right to the issue quickly…
Or this Twitter post, to show how PAS works even when you’re limited to a handful of works:
Lastly, this example demonstrates how PAS works even for an About page…
How will YOU use PAS to write copy this week?
Give it a whirl and let me know how you do.
You can also email me directly at email@example.com with your questions — or if you’d like more info on working with me.