5 tried-and-true formulas to improve your copywriting

DSM Digital School of Marketing - formulas

IF you work in or are interested in, the digital marketing world, you’ve probably heard lately how countless industry professionals talk about the vital importance of storytelling in modern marketing. Gone are the days where witty slogans and catchphrases were enough to grab and hold the consumer’s attention. Today, they need to be courted a bit more than that. This is where storytelling comes in, where emotions are triggered using unique syntax combinations. This article has a look at five of the most popular copywriting formulas to improve any piece of copy that you write in the future:

1. Problem – Agitate – Solution

Copyblogger, leading copywriting and blogging platform, calls this formula the “key to dominating social media”. This formula starts by listing a problem that the customer is facing. It can be anything from bad breath through to liver cancer. Next, the copywriter should paint a picture of what life would be like without the problem being seen to (agitate the problem). Finally, now that the reader is concerned about their future well-being. The copy should offer a solution which is, in most cases, the purchasing of a brand’s product or service.

2.Before – After – Bridge

This is another go-to copywriting formula that blog writers deploy on a daily basis. This formula, once again, starts off by describing a likely problem that the reader is facing. However, instead of agitating the problem, the copy should describe a world in which the reader is living free of the problem. Once that rosy picture has been solidified in the reader’s mind, the bridge is introduced. Simply put, this is how the reader can solve their problem and attain the ‘perfect’ situation described before.


3.Features – Advantages – Benefits

Here’s a piece of advice from the cool kids over at Buffer.com: Focus on the benefits, not so much on the features. Hence why this formula finishes things off with a product/service’s benefits (the last thing read is usually the first thing remembered). So, copywriters using this formula start by listing the product features. After that, various advantages to using the product/service should be spoken about, followed by a listing of the multiple benefits the customer can enjoy if they partner with the brand.

4.The 4 U’s

The last two formulas we will discuss are not necessarily blueprints – as seen above – but rather checklists that copywriters can use to ensure each piece of writing is ticking all of the engagement boxes. The 4 U’s of copywriting are:

Have you mentioned how USEFUL the product is?

Have you provided a sense of URGENCY?

Have you conveyed the idea that the main benefit is somehow UNIQUE?

Have you been ULTRA-SPECIFIC about the above?


5.The 4 C’s

This checklist is specifically for those copywriters who like to embellish and waffle a bit when writing their pieces of content. Sometimes telling a story is required, while other times a to-the-point approach will work better. The 4 C’s of copywriting are:

  • Is the message being conveyed CLEAR?
  • Is the writing as CONCISE as possible?
  • Have you made the piece of content COMPELLING?
  • Are there CREDIBLE sources offered to back up claims?

Copywriting doesn’t have to leave you staring at a blank screen, hoping that the inspiration to write will hit you. By using any of the above formulas, you can construct a well-written piece of content by getting the structure right, then using these checklists to make sure that your piece features all the necessary elements required to resonate with the reader.

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DSM Digital School of Marketing - Copy Writing