Copywriting formulas and copywriting swipe files can seem like cheating at your craft until you sit down to use them.
You see, swipe files and copywriting formulas give you a framework. Nothing more. They are the studwork behind the walls… but the studwork alone does not make a luxury villa. You must fill in the blanks and how you do that is critical to the success or failure of your copywriting. That’s where your craft kicks in.
One of my go-to copywriting formulas is PAS: Pain, Agitate, Solve. Or Problem, Agitate, Solution. It’s a favourite because it works for all kinds of marketing, from landing pages to flyers.
Here is a description from my first post on this formula.
Lay out the problem
In order to write copy that evokes a response, it is critical that you understand the problems your audience faces. And that is the heart of what good copywriting does.
The more vividly you can paint the pain, the more you demonstrate that you understand it. As someone reads your description, they should feel like you’re tapping into the conversation going on in their head.
And that’s a fast track to trusting you.
Agitate it until it really hurts
The next step in the PAS copywriting formula is to stir things up.
You’ve identified a point of pain. Now you need to make it painful by making it more emotional. This is where you pour salt onto the wound you’ve just pointed out.
The trick is to not agitate too much. Don’t let your reader wallow. Show them a way out.
Provide a solution
This is where you get to make everything better. This is when you reveal the solution – your solution – that will be the balm your audience has been looking for.
The reason I like using this copywriting formula is that it forces me to focus on a big-ticket pain point for the audience I’m writing to, and dig the emotions around it.
The point of this formula is to make your audience – whether they’re a customer or a blog reader – think, “That’s exactly how I feel and I’m bloody sick of it!”
Your copywriting tells the reader, I hear you. I understand
And empathy is incredibly powerful.
But what if you could make this copywriting formula even more powerful? Your copywriting would be unstoppable!
Turn PAS (Pain, Agitate, Solve) into PASO by adding an outcome to your reader journey.
Highlight their pain.
Make it seem unbearable.
Offer them a way out.
Explain the outcome (and offer some proof ).
This addition doesn’t just let them know about the solution. You make sure your reader can picture themselves after the transformation (and every purchase is rooted in the desire for transformation).
Let’s see PASO in action
For an imaginary holiday website
PROBLEM: Finding the perfect hotel can be stressful. Almost too stressful to bother.
AGITATE: Hunting down all your options, working out how far away the local hotspots are and reading reviews from other ‘guests’. Then, of course, there is the price.
And all within your lunch hour? Impossible!
SOLVE: Not impossible. Awesomehotels.com makes finding the best hotel deals quick and easy. We compare hundreds of travel sites for you so you get the best hotel deal available. And all faster than you can say “ham, cheese and pickle on rye”.
ADDED OUTCOME: In just a few clicks, you’ll have your ideal accommodation secured – at the best price – leaving you free to daydream about how to treat yourself with the money you just saved.
“I was overwhelmed by hotel choices and the prices seemed to differ on each website. Awesomehotels.com did all the hard work of searching online and they really did have the cheapest prices!” Lara Taker, Holiday Maker.
Copywriting for a real consultation (Leads to Clients)
We’ve all been there.
In the rut.
Your business is doing ok but not great. You treat your clients well and they love you but your client base is growing slower than a snail across the wet cement.
You read articles on SEO and email marketing, attracting website traffic, effective design and conversion strategies. They make sense on paper but applying those tactics to your business is another matter.
You feel overwhelmed with ideas about what you should and shouldn’t be doing online and the tech stuff just makes your head hurt.
And then there is the small matter of actually running your business! So you do nothing.
Being stuck sucks. I get it. So let’s get you unstuck.
The UNstuck strategy session isn’t about giving you more stuff to do. It’s about finding the tactics that will give you maximum return on your efforts online.
You’ll discover a calming sense of purpose as you prioritise your focus. Your goals will be achieved, one task at a time, and you’ll be free to expand the horizons for your business. Out of the rut and into the sunset.
“In my first UnStuck session, I got some much-needed clarity about my business goals. Now that I have achievable and measurable goals, I can get stuck into achieving them with weekly accountability sessions to keep me on track!” Richard Fetter, Goal Setter.
But it doesn’t end there
The presentation of the solution will usually be very detailed. Details add credibility after all.
You will also need a call to action, of course. Multiple calls to action if you’re writing a long landing page.
But the PASO (Pain, Agitate, Solve, Outcome) formula gives you a fantastic way to structure your copywriting so that your powers of persuasion are at the top of their game.
Do you have a favourite formula?