You’ve poured your heart and soul into creating something new to share with your audience. Maybe it’s a helpful blog post or an entertaining short story or even a product like an online course.
At last, you’re ready to send an email, publish a social media post, or write up a sales page to promote what you’ve created.
But your fingers hover over your keyboard as you struggle to figure out what to write. How can you grab your audience’s attention? How can you communicate the value of what you’ve created and make them eager to check it out?
You don’t want all of your time and effort to go to waste. You don’t want to lose this chance to impact your audience’s lives just because your promotional post wasn’t as compelling as it could be.
Not to worry.
In today’s article, I’m sharing four powerful copywriting templates that will help you structure a piece of writing that captivates your audience.
Whenever I face writer’s block when typing up an email, a social media post, a sales page, or even a blog post introduction, I love turning to these fantastic templates for guidance.
Let’s dive in.
(Please note that links to books are affiliate links which means I’ll earn a small commission if you buy through the link with no extra cost to you. Thank you!)
1. The AIDA Template
This is one of the oldest copywriting templates. It is attributed to American marketer Elias St. Elmo Lewis who is said to have drawn it up in 1898.
He used it to explain the stages a sales person needs to follow to convince someone to buy a product. But it’s a powerful template that can be adapted any time you want to write something that will resonate with your audience, whether that’s a blog post introduction, an email, or just a social media post.
The AIDA acronym stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.
Here’s how it works:
1. Attention: Make your audience aware of what you’ve created (If you already have a social media following or email subscribers, then they’re probably already looking forward to your next blog post, video, book, etc., and you could just write something like, “New post!” or “The sequel to The Myth Chronicles is finally here!”)
2. Interest: Pique their curiosity for why they should check it out (What’s your blog post, video, book, or short story about? What’s something that might be surprising or interesting about it?)
3. Desire: Explain how it will benefit your audience (Why should they spend their valuable time checking it out? What’s in it for them?)
4. Action: Give them a way to check it out now (This could just be a link to what you’ve created or you could also include a sense of “urgency” — a limited time coupon code, for example, if it’s a product.)
Let’s see AIDA in action. Here’s how a writer of a language learning blog might use this template to write a social media post promoting a new podcast episode:
The new podcast episode is here! I’m interviewing a polyglot who speaks a mind-blowing ten different languages. Have you ever wondered how polyglots can switch so effortlessly between each language? Come listen to the podcast and find out lots of polyglot secrets, like the 5-day method that will have you conversationally fluent in a foreign language in (you guessed it!) five days. Click here to check it out.
I love the AIDA method because it’s compelling without being salesy.
Here’s how you might use it to promote a short story:
I just published a new sci-fi short story! In this week’s story, a virtual reality system might not have been the best birthday present for a family’s spoiled kids. If you’re looking for a ten-minute escape to a futuristic dystopia, you’re going to love this story. Read it here.
2. The PAS Template
The PAS template is another one of the tried-and-true, classic copywriting formulas. I especially like using this template for blog post introductions, but it’s also helpful for social media posts, emails, and ads.
The PAS acronym stands for Problem, Agitate, Solve.
Here’s how this super-simple template works:
1. Problem: What problem are you solving with what you’ve created? Open your post by addressing the problem. Often, using a question and directly addressing readers is a fantastic way to do this. For example, “Are you struggling to overcome writer’s block?”
2. Agitate: Stress the negative effects of the problem to show empathy with your audience and also to make them want to solve the problem. For example, “You type a few lines, but after several minutes you delete everything. You just can’t seem to find the right words to continue.”
3. Solve: Show how your solution will solve the problem.
Here’s how the writer of a recipe blog might use this formula to promote a blog post:
Want to enjoy healthy, home cooked meals with your family but struggling to find time to prepare delicious recipes? The kids have soccer practice, the boss surprises you with an unexpected Zoom call, and before you know it, you only have 15 minutes before it’s dinnertime. Not to worry! You’re going to love this round up of quick and easy meals that are ready in 15 minutes flat (yes, that includes both prep and cooking time!). Check out the blog post here.
3. The PASTOR Template
The PASTOR template is an extension of the PAS template. It was developed by copywriter Ray Edwards, and you can find an in-depth explanation in his book How to Write Copy that Sells.
This is a powerful six-step template that will help you structure an entire blog post or a sales page. The acronym stands for Problem, Amplify, Story & Solution, Transformation & Testimony, Offer, and Response.
Here’s how it works in a nutshell:
1. Problem: Identify the problem that you are solving.
2. Amplify: Amplify the consequences of not solving the problem.
Edwards explains why the “amplify” step is so important:
“What will motivate people to buy your product, invest in your service, or accept your idea is usually not the beautiful outcome framed in a positive light on its own. It is required rather, that before painting the picture of the ‘paradise’ they seek, you must get them to fully experience the consequence of not solving the problem. So while we do want to show our prospects how their life can look when they receive the benefits of your product, they first have to believe they need it.”
3. Story and Solution: Share the story of how the problem can be solved. This is especially powerful if you share a personal story of how you wrestled with the problem and solved it. Check out the Hero’s Journey in the next section for a fantastic way to structure stories.
4. Transformation and Testimony: Show how implementing your solution will change your readers’ lives and share testimonials from others who have implemented your solution/bought your product.
5. Offer: If you’re selling a product, this is where you tell readers all about it. Focus on how the features of your product will benefit your customers and transform their lives.
6. Response: Ask your readers to buy and detail exactly how they can purchase your product. Or if you’re writing a persuasive piece, ask them to implement the strategy or adopt the new perspective you’re presenting. Remind them why it’s so important to take this course of action.
Ray Edwards notes,
I will write very specific, directive copy telling them exactly what to do next: ‘Click the button below, fill out the order form, and we will immediately ship your entire package to you. It will contain everything you need to get started.’ Some people shy away from strong language like this, but the fact is, if you truly believe that you have a solution that will solve a problem for people, why on earth would you not be as direct as possible in telling them how to get that solution? In fact, aren’t you doing them a disservice by not making the strongest case possible?
You can see this PASTOR template in action on many sales pages. And, as I said before, you can also adapt it and use it to structure blog posts by leaving out the “testimonials” and “offer” sections.
If you want more guidance for how to use it to structure a sales page, I highly recommend reading Ray Edwards’ book.
4. The Hero’s Journey Template
Finally, we arrive at my favorite template: the Hero’s Journey. The term ‘Hero’s Journey’ was first coined by American scholar Joseph Campbell to describe one of the most common story structures in myths and historical accounts. Because it’s such a compelling structure, copywriters have adopted this template when including stories in their marketing.
Here’s the Hero’s Journey structure in a nutshell:
- A hero is called to go on an adventure to solve some kind of problem. (Every good story has some kind of conflict driving the plot forward.)
- They may be reluctant to accept the call but eventually realize that if they don’t solve the problem, their life will spiral out of control.
- A mentor helps the hero prepare for the adventure.
- After the hero faces a series of challenges, the story reaches its climax. Will the hero overcome the problem or not?
- The hero emerges victorious and returns home transformed.
This is a powerful template to use anytime you want introduce a story into your writing, whether you’re working on a blog post, a social media post, or even an about page. I share how to use it to structure about pages in my website copywriting course.
And I also recently made a video diving deeper into this story structure and explaining how you can use it to plot a book or even to outline an ad. You can check out the video below.
Here’s an example of how you can use it to structure a blog post:
Use the body of your post to take your readers on a journey. Your hero is your blog reader. You are the mentor. Share the steps you took to overcome a problem that the reader is facing. Then show the reader how they will be transformed once they implement those steps.
These four templates may seem simple on the surface, but they’re designed to powerfully tap into human psychology so you connect with your readers on a deeper level. You can use the templates as guides whenever you’re struggling to find the right format for your piece or if you’re editing a piece to make it more compelling and engaging.
By following these templates, you’ll better hold the attention of your readers and be able to inspire them to action. Thus, you’ll be more effective at sharing your message with the world.
Thanks for reading! I hope this blog post inspires you. Which is your favorite template? Let me know in the comments.
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