Blogging is a bit of everything. A bit of writing, a bit of marketing, and quite a bit of copywriting.
Just think of headlines. A classic example of applying copywriting principles in order to attract potential readers.
But there’s so much more we can do with the aid of copywriting formulas and principles: from writing compelling calls to action to designing an about page that converts, and from using copywriting formulas as frameworks for articles to deploying the same strategies on social media.
That’s why today I am going to share with you 20 of the best copywriting formulas, and, of course, how they can be used as frameworks for writing better articles.
1. Before – After – Bridge
Before – This is your current situation …
After – This is how it would be like if you were to solve your current predicament …
Bridge – Here’s how you get there.
This is one of the easiest formulas you can use, and it works best when writing a “how-to” guide or tutorial. Starting your article by describing a negative scenario (the reader’s current predicament), then working on building a world in which that problem doesn’t exist anymore, does wonders when it comes to empathetic writing.
And, truth be told, there are few better formulas out there when it comes to writing compelling introductions.
How to apply this:
- Begin by describing a problem.
- Describe a compelling vision of how the world would look like once that problem is solved.
- Provide actionable advice towards solving the problem.
- Add empathy. Write from experience, provide a failsafe if case a certain step doesn’t work out, try to understand the emotional undertone of your article.
The “Before-After-Bridge” is a simple framework that can help you write articles that truly add value to your readers while enabling them to relate to you, which means they’re far more likely to take action.
2. Problem – Agitate – Solve
Identify a problem.
Agitate the problem.
Provide a solution to the problem.
A variation of the “Before-After-Bridge,” this copywriting formula discards empathy in favor of overcoming objections via the use of negative emotions. Instead of describing life without the problem, PAS describes what life would be like if the problem were to persist.
I often write about the importance of being aware of the emotional undertone of your article. This, in turn, allows you to create a veritable emotional rollercoaster, taking advantage of negative emotions before you present your solution.
PAS is best used when the problem isn’t as obvious (or as stress-inducing) at first sight. You can easily agitate, writing down a series of negative events that might unfold if the problem were to persist. At the same time, PAS enables you to share a number of nuanced points, trying to better understand more subtle problems, and underline the importance of taking action even if the problem appears to be a minor one.
How to apply this:
- Describe a problem.
- Agitate. Describe what the world would look like if the problem were to persist. Insist on the negative effects caused by the reader’s inability to take action.
- Provide a solution to the problem.
- Connect your actionable steps with the negative effects you’ve described when you agitated the problem. (“Because we’re doing this, this bad thing will no longer happen.”)
As a framework for writing articles, PAS is a brilliant way of overcoming readers’ objections, as you provide them early on with enough negative consequences that they are far more compelled to take action.
3. The 4 C’s
This formula acts more like a series of content creation principles, but it does provide one with a basic framework for writing articles that genuinely benefit the reader, especially since your article has to be “credible.”
And I believe this is the keyword for this formula: trust.
The 4 C’s enable you to write articles with the clear goal of earning a reader’s trust:
- Clear articles help readers build an easy-to-follow mental map.
- Concise writing shows that the blogger respects their time.
- Compelling articles overcome objections and reduce friction.
- Credible writing provides proof, research, and data that can help readers internalize the importance of taking action.
How to apply this:
- Do proper research before writing your article. Add relevant resources, mention reputable sources, and link to data that can be trusted.
- Think of all the objections that a reader might have, and share compelling reasons why they should discard them.
- Aim to provide mental clarity above all else. Provide key takeaways at the end of each section within your article and an additional set of steps at the end of your article.
- Edit for conciseness. Remove superfluous paragraphs, keep only the essence, the actionable steps, the research and data that compel the reader to take action.
- Format and design your article accordingly (lists, bullet points, graphics, charts).
When done right, the 4 C’s can provide you with a framework for writing truly remarkable articles, while earning your readers’ trust and admiration.
4. The 4 U’s
Useful – Provide useful content.
Urgent – Create a sense of urgency.
Unique – Convey the idea that the main benefit of your article is unique.
Ultra-specific – Be ultra-specific with both your target audience and the advice you share.
Another phenomenal copywriting formula you can apply to your articles is the 4 U’s. Especially if you have a hyperniche blog that caters to a specific demographic, or if you are trying to content that goes beyond the articles that usually only aim to please search engines.
At the same time, adding elements of urgency and specificity allow you to create compelling articles within a rather limited number of words. This works well if you’re blogging within a highly competitive and fast-pace niche, or if you’re discussing current affairs, news, and the likes.
If you can master this formula, you can highly engaging articles that get an awful lot of shares.
However, the emphasis is on the uniqueness of the solution you provide, and this requires that you stay with a problem longer than most people in order to come up with a solution that is both useful and ultra-specific. But if you want to build authority within your niche, this is the way to go.
How to apply this:
- Write down a series of “value-points.” They can be key takeaways, actionable steps, or crucial insights that can help readers.
- Build your article around a eureka insight. Open your article with this insight, use it within your headline. Think Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 Hours Rule” or Kevin Kelly’s “1,000 True Fans.”
- Create a sense of urgency early on by describing an imminent change within the ecosystem that affects your target audience.
The 4 U’s formula is one of the most difficult to master, mostly because the main benefit of the article can’t usually be derived via research. Most often than not, an article that follows all the rules (and does it with style) is based around first-hand experience or valuable insights gained by daring to do what most within a niche aren’t willing to do.
But if you can pull this off, without…
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6. Attention – Interest – Desire – Action
7. Picture – Promise – Prove – Push
8. A FOREST
9. The 5 Basic Objections