I started running when I was a kid… 10 years old actually. I was always running. I was running through the woods. I was running down the block to my friend Lynn’s house. I ran home from school.
I raced and beat Dickie Perlman, the fastest boy in fourth grade.
I was a pretty good runner. I was fast.
So, freshman year of high school I ran track. When I started race training I was all over the place. My form sucked. Kind of like arms and legs everywhere. I didn’t have a form or formula for getting out of the blocks. I didn’t have a formula for my running pace or how to finish strong.
Week after week my coach (we called him Stump) whipping me into shape…I improved. And with consistency, I became a better runner and member of the track team. That year I got the coaches award (a trophy that I still have) for most improved.
I learned to engage my core. I became stronger and more balanced. With strength in my legs and a running form to match, it made me faster. AND because I learned a formula for getting out of the blocks faster…I stopped falling on my face…and beat the other runners out of the blocks.
What does that have to do with copywriting?
When you’re writing your copy for your website, your emails, or writing content for your blog posts and other articles you start out with a bang and feel like “I’ve got this.”
You’re a good writer. You may be “fast”. And even seeing some results.
But here’s the thing…
Even if you’re writing, and feeling good about it, with a little form and formula you get better. You will see higher engagement with your audience. You’ll cross that finish line with higher conversions and customers to show for it.
It’s time for a little training to engage your core (of your copy and content writing muscles)
Templates are a good way to start writing copy that flows. I’ll do the job to get your reader engaged, and help you to start seeing or conversions.
The thing with templates is they don’t really teach you how to be a better copywriter.
Like when I was a kid, just because I could run fast, didn’t mean I knew how to run a good race.
Knowing why copy will work, what makes it engaging and how to persuade (in a good way) will help your copy do its job.
Copywriting formulas make your writing easier
Every copywriter uses formulas.
Email formulas. Headline formulas. Landing page formulas. Sales page and product description formulas.
If you don’t want to go full-on copywriter, here are a few tried-and-true formulas that work for copy and content. They’re easy to understand and work every time.
PAS – Problem Agitation Solution
This is one of the most used formulas. It can be used for a tweet, product description of blog post. Here’s how it goes…
Problem – Present the problem that your prospect feels.
Agitation – Poke at the problem until it’s visceral (gets right down to the root.)
Solution – Present the solution to the agitation problem.
Example: When annoying itching skin has you thinking of canceling date night, Skin Rescue Lotion makes give you soft, smooth and touchable skin.
AIDA – Attention Interest Desire Action
Attention – Give your reader something they weren’t expecting.
Interest – Engage your readers mind with something counter-intuitive or fresh info.
Desire – Engage their heart some they want what you’re offering. Build to desire to “have”.
Action – Ask them to take the next step.
Example: This is for the new Apple Watch 4
Part guardian, part guru.
ECG on your wrist. Low and high heart rate notifications. Fall detection and Emergency SOS. New Breathe watch faces. It’s designed to improve your health every day and powerful enough to help protect it. Learn More
VERIFY something they “see” or observe…lifestyle, problem, competition/
VALIDATE how they “feel” (their internal response)…anger, envy, pleasure.
VANTAGE to present your info…your product feature, benefits and advantage (over using another solution.)
VALUES you have in common, these are the values you share… wants, hopes, the future.
VILLAINS you both hate. These are the things you both stand against…enemy, obstacles, the past
Example: one of my faves is Duluth Trading Company. Their product descriptions get right to the heart of what’s going on…and how they solve it.
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Don’t expect to be a great copywriter out of the blocks.
Using formulas may feel robotic, even like you’re cheating, at first but this is because you’re learning.
Like the many times I fell on my face coming out of the block when my coach was training me or the countless times I tripped trying to get my flailing arms and legs streamline, you too will start to feel a pattern.
Once you understand the pattern then creative thinking comes into play.
It’s like when you first start running.
Running your 1st mile may feel awkward and hard. As you move onto your first 5K you’re feeling a little more confident and understand the road beneath your feet.
After a few of those under your belt, you may move onto a mud run. They engage all your small and large running muscles, your core, and adds some creativity and problem-solving to get through the obstacles without issue.
With training, understanding the breakdown of formulas, and adding creativity and VOC data from the customers, you too will cross the copywriting finish line strong and confident.