Copywriting Formulas to Write Faster: AIDA & Problem Solution
"Work smarter, not harder." That's great advice for cubicle-dwellers, but it doesn't translate to copywriting — right?
Copywriting formulas do exist, and they're not cheating.
What they are is a way to streamline your creative writing and advertising process, so you can create strong, engaging branding in a fraction of the time.
If you want to learn how to write faster and turn out quality copy every time, keep reading. We'll break down the most powerful copywriting formulas that you can use right away.
Plus, we'll share our top copywriting tips so you can get the most out of copywriting formulas.
Yes, it sounds esoteric and confusing. Yes, it was invented way back in 1898.
But AIDA isn't hard to remember or outdated. It's one of the most tried-and-tested copywriting formulas in advertising history. More importantly, it works.
AIDA stands for:
The AIDA formula is simple, but it relies on seamless transitions between parts. Let's take a closer look at each part of the AIDA formula and how they fit together.
Catch your reader's eye with an unignorable hook. This could be:
Here's what not to do: pad your attention-grabber with generalities. If you're writing about Facebook, don't say "Facebook is one of the world's most powerful social media."
Your readers will get the hint that you don't have anything new to tell them, so they'll click away before they read the next sentence.
Your hook can be short and sweet. It can be compelling and in-depth. It can be whatever you need it to be.
All that matters is that you hook your reader right away and make them want to know you're going to say next.
You've grabbed your reader's attention with a hook. Now, you're going to make it personal.
Show them how that surprising statistic or bold statement applies to their life. This cements their interest in reading the rest of your copy.
Your "interest" section will be a transitional phrase or sentence, like:
In the "Desire" section, you'll show how your solution can improve the reader's life.
Inspire your reader to want the solution you're offering.
The call to action is the most important part of any copy. This is where you convert your readers into leads. In fact, you can think of virtually all copywriting as a call to action with a long introduction.
You see dozens of calls to action every day, such as:
AIDA Formula Example
Let's put the pieces together into an example of AIDA in action.
Attention: Instagram influencers can make over $1,000 per sponsored post.
Interest: If you have a phone and a funny side, you can too.
Desire: Do you want to learn how you can become an Instagram star?
Action: If so, click here to take our mini-course and learn how to make money on Instagram, fast.
In four short sentences, you've made a compelling case for the reader to click forward.
Remember that there's no rule saying that each component has to be one sentence long. Expand, combine, or shorten each part of the AIDA formula as you need to, but keep the overarching structure.
Formulas, Not Formulaic
The secret to the best copywriting formulas is that they don't have to seem formulaic.
That's the beauty of AIDA. Within the parameters of these four little letters, you can get as creative as you want. You can still come up with standout ideas that get your writing noticed, but you'll know that they will be effective with your audience every time.
But beware: if you don't put in that extra effort to spin your AIDA formula in a creative way, you can get stuck sounding formulaic.
A good ad school will help you find the perfect balance between formula and creativity, so you can build a stunning portfolio and get your foot in the copywriting world door.
No "copywriting for beginners" list is complete without the standby "problem-solution" format.
It's simple: people have problems. You have a solution that they are willing to pay for. It's your job to let them know that.
Also known as "Pain and Benefit," the Problem-Solution formula is the basis of all advertising. Even the weirdest, most abstract perfume ad speaks to some need or desire in the target audience.
You'll see effective Problem-Solution advertising everywhere.
A kid selling water at a neighborhood soccer game has a cardboard sign that reads:
"Thirsty? Bottled Water $1."
He's offering a real solution to a real problem, so people buy.
When it comes to copywriting ads, though, you'll need a touch of technique to pull it off.
How to Write a Problem-Solution Ad
The Problem-Solution formula has two basic parts. You already know what they are. It's how you present them that matters.
Start by stating the problem.
If you're going for a hard sell, get right to the point with a bold statement:
Whether it's a soft or hard sell, though, your "problem" should be obvious and relatable. Your reader has connected with you and they're on the hook.
Next, propose the solution. You can introduce your save-the-day product or service with a transitional phrase:
The Problem-Solution formula can give structure to a 2000-word blog post or a 2-sentence tagline. It can be a gritty hard sell or set the stage for a tasteful offer.
It's the one-size-fits-all formula that's never the wrong choice.
Don't Assume the Problem
Problem-Solution writing is straightforward. What could go wrong?
The most common issue with Problem-Solution ads is that they address the wrong problem.
Too often, creative writers leap ahead with their ideas and end up writing about a solution to a problem that doesn't exist (or isn't the one their customers have).
Think back to the enterprising kid selling water at a ball game. He knew exactly what problem his target audience had. If you're at a ball game, you're thirsty.
If you don't speak to the customer's problem, they'll ignore you. You'll lose their attention to the ad that offers a solution to the problem they do have.
Avoid this by making sure that you know exactly what the problem is. Then, get your creative juices flowing to come up with a unique way to present the solution.
From Confused Frustration to Copywriting Formulas
Don't write another article that puts readers to sleep. With these copywriting formulas, you'll be able to craft thoughtful, effective pieces in record time.
That lets you stay creative and — just as importantly — get paid.
Whether you're a veteran writer or looking for your first
copywriting certificate, there's always more to learn. Dive into our free Copywriting To Go course to write better right away.