Copywriting isn’t a paint-by-numbers process (sorry folks!). There is no secret formula for you to follow to produce magical, compelling copy just by filling in the blanks. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t formula’s out there that can help you. To give you a starting point, and an idea of how to position and craft your content to do the heavy lifting for you. That’s what’s amazing about copywriting. There’s always something new to explore, and while many businesses focus on technology, copywriting is still all about people. Today, I wanted to talk a little bit about the PAS formula of copywriting, and how it can help you understand how to connect with your customers.
This is the first and most important element of any copywriting job. Start with the problem (that’s what the P is for). And not your problem – your customer’s problem. If you’re not sure what that is, start with your solution and work backwards, until you understand how your product or service makes your customers life better. Understanding the problem your customers face is critical to writing good copy – good here meaning’ something that gets a response’. Once you know what that problem is, describe it as vividly as you can without simple ‘telling’ them what the problem is. Paint them a picture with words, describing their situation and making them empathise with it.
Once you have them on the hook and invested in finding the solution to their problem, it’s time to wiggle the fish hooks a bit. The next stage ins PAS stands for ‘Agitate’, and this is where you make the pain point more painful. Hammer home what the effect of the problems is, and why it’s a problem at all. Remind them of how difficult it is, and how much they wish it could be different. The trick here is to make sure you don’t agitate too much. Don’t wallow in the pain here. Instead choose a few carefully crafted sentences to make it hit home, then show them the light at the end of the tunnel.
S of course stands for ‘Solution’, and this is where you show your reader how you can help. How you can jump in and make everything better for them. Here, you reveal your solution, and how it works to take away that pain caused by the problem. But don’t turn it into a big long sales pitch. Instead, stay focused on the advantages and give them just enough information to want to reach out and find out more.
And For Good Measure…
Add in some proof! Nothing convinces prospects that your solution works more than real proof. This will usually be in the form of a testimonial or quote, but can be really powerful if put in the right place within your copy.
See PAS In Action
Of course, this can all be a bit difficult to imagine if you’re not used to writing in it. So let’s look at a practical example. This is some basic PAS driven copy for a fictional mattress company, broken down into parts so you can see what it looks like:
Problem: When was the last time you had a really good, deep night’s sleep? You know, the kind where you wake up feeling refreshed, invigorated and genuinely excited to get out of bed?
Agitation: A bad night’s sleep can leave you feeling like someone stuffed your skull full of cotton wool and nails, then gave it a good shake. You can’t concentrate, you feel irritable, and no amount of coffee seems to clear the fog and wake you up.
Solution: If this sounds like your normal day, then you need to know about our new therapeutic mattress. You won’t be sleeping, you’ll be floating on a soft, woolly cloud, with perfect support all night long.
Remember, no one likes being sold to. The PAS formula exists to work around the direct selling route many businesses take, and instead help you focus on the emotions around the buying process for your customers. Using the PAS system, you will see higher conversion rates and a bigger buy-in – with customers who ready your content thinking ‘that’s exactly how I feel!’. If you’re not sure how to use the PAS formula in your content, we’d love to help. Just get in touch to chat with us about it today.