At some stage in your business you will need to write copy, or at least review copy written for you.
You may be starting a blog, or writing an ad for print or online publication. Here I have three copy-writing formulae that I use personally and I’m releasing them to your use and care!
The first formula is what I use to write marketing copy – a brochure or website About Page, or an ad or opt-in page. It’s the “F.A.B” Formula or Features, Advantages, Benefits.
This formula highlights one of the single most useful marketing truths – if you are marketing something, you have to answer the reader’s question “what’s in it for me?” Using this formula, your copy is focused on talking about the benefits, not the features.
Spend no more than 10% of the copy telling them what the features are. Just tell them what they get. For example if you are writing about your coaching for weight loss services, tell them that you meet them for an hour every week and they get an online personal log that they can log on to.
Then spend half the remaining copy talking about the advantages they get from the product – why it is actually useful. In the weight-loss coach’s example, tell them that the hourly meeting gives them discipline and structures their personal choices as well as plenty of information about exercise and healthy eating. Tell them that the log provides them with control over their own lives, but in a way that can be remotely supported by you.
Finally spend the rest of the copy telling them about the benefits, what it means as an outcome for them. In the weight-loss coaching example tell them about the expected weight loss, the health gains they will experience, the control and confidence they will gain.
The second copy-writing formula I use is “Before It, After It, Bridging It”, which I use to write books and blogs.
“Before It” is about how things are now, the world as it stands, and it’s not a pretty place. The problems are numerous, the challenges looming. This should be about 20% of the copy.
“After It” is all about how wonderful the world could be after all the problems are fixed. Describe the ideal that could be had, if only the audience used the “It” to change the Before. This should be about 50% of the copy – you need to make them really want this utopia!
“Bridging It” is about how to get from before to after – the method that you will tell them about. In this section you could (depending on the objective of the copy) use the FAB Formula to show them what they get, what it does, and how they’ll benefit. This should take about 30% of the copy to put the idea to bed.
You can actually use this formula in writing presentations and speeches, especially if the objective is to persuade the audience that there is a better way and you know that better way.
The third copy-writing formula is “Problem-Agitate-Solve”.
This is useful for blogs and presentations, and especially social media updates. It whets people’s appetites to know more. In some ways it’s similar to Before It, After It, Bridging It, except that you don’t spend any time describing the after part, you actually make them feel even worse by describing what would happen if the problem persisted.
So using this formula, you write first about the problem that exists or the world as it stands and the issues they face. Make this bleak and realistic, and it should take about 30% of the copy so that they realise how bad it is. Then you write about how bad the problem could become if you do nothing – agitate! You want to make the audience feel even more worried and make them ready to take action. The agitate part should be about 20% of the copy to emphasise the picture worsening from now on if they do nothing.
Finally you solve the problem by showing them what can be done – it is implicit how their new world would improve. This should take the remaining 50% of the copy because you want them to go away with a sense of hope so the picture needs to be really enticing.
Now while we are into formulae, lets’ talk about a formula to check your copy against.
I check my copy against the 4 U’s:-
- Useful – is what I have written useful to the audience?
- Urgent – is what I have written portraying a sense of urgency to take action?
- Unique – is what I have described unique, especially the benefits, or the after, or the suggested solution?
- Ultra-specific – have I been ultra-specific about the uniqueness?
So there it is, my proven copy-writing formulae and the formula to check that it grabs attention!
Try it out in your next presentation, blog post, opt-in page, advertisement, FaceBook post, Twitter update.
Indeed, it’s all about finding the right formula – if you have the right step by step formula or system you can cut through the daily fog of tasks you have to do in your business. If you want to join all those who have found the systems and easy to follow models, join us now by clicking here!
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