Here’s a proven formula that will deliver you leads

By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

Public relations is about reaching out to people, and this is where copywriting comes in, as content is of fundamental importance to a PR strategy. Joanna Wiebe is the founder of Copy Hackers, an academy for copywriting, and she shares on her Thinkific Mastermind how to come up with an effective copywriting formula that will catch anyone’s attention. 

For many businesses, getting people to buy a product or service can be challenging. A lot of time is spent reading and writing, but not understanding what makes a great sales copy. One of the key points Joanna makes is articulating in the copy the problem that customers have shared through focus groups or by listening online. Regardless if the copy is going to go on a website or in a pitch to the media, it all begins with identifying the problem the business is trying to solve, and ideally, it should be in a language that the customer can easily understand. 

The winning formula

Photo from SlideShare

Joanna says agitation is the expression of a problem, and the formula to it involves the problem, the agitation, the solution, further agitation, introducing, then the ‘why,’ the ‘try,’ and the ‘buy.’ For clients hoping to get more coverage but have been unsuccessful, EASTWEST PR’s SPEAK|pr Mastermind might just be the key to unlocking the value out of the business. The ‘why’ in Joanna’s formula talks about why the solution works, and in this case, the Mastermind works because the tools and technologies are proven to be effective. The ‘try’ is about offering a trial to customers for 30, 60, or 90 days, or by giving away free items which would be part of the bigger course. Lastly, the ‘buy’ is about working around what the customers want to close the deal. If they are anxious about the time investment or they are worried about how much time it’s going to take to complete the course, the length of time the course is available or the guarantee period could be extended. If they are worried about cash flow, payment terms could be adjusted. For self-study modules, it could be possible to schedule a synchronous session to touch base and clarify any concepts. Moreover, when overcoming issues of time, money, and risk, incentives play a big role. It often doesn’t need to be that big; there just needs to be an incentive there.

Another element of copywriting is the headline, which features the problem being solved. This should talk about the hero or the person at the center of the business that will help clients solve their problems, and the simplest way for people to identify with themselves is to use their own words. Focusing on the customers’ problems is a great way to build copy, but press releases, however, are not always written like that. It depends on the situation, and while public relations is a different discipine, Joanna’s points are still very applicable. Next, they then do seven different sweeps of their text: for clarity, for voice, for tone, for the ‘so what does that mean? Prove it,’ for behind the emotion, for risk, and for specificity, and these can be applied to a copy, a press release, a pitch, or an article. Joanna also discusses what the homepage in the text is trying to sell: a specific thing or an emotion, and this is something that needs to be addressed in all forms of writing. A course could be selling a skill or confidence. A product could be selling a service or an end result.

To sum it all up, the problem is what the customer wants to address, agitation is the frustration that the problem is causing, the solution is how the customer tried to fix it, agitation is the failure of the customer’s solution, then comes introducing the business’ own solution, the ‘why’ this solution will work, the ‘try’ is about giving the customer trial offers or templates, and then the ‘buy’ is about resolving issues of cost, time, and cash flow with the help of incentives. Joanna’s model is great for copy on a website, a direct mail piece, or an advert. For the media, everything is there except for the ‘try’ and the ‘buy.’ With social media and owned media, the lines are slightly blurred, because editorial media would not include the ‘try’ and ‘buy.’ Nowadays, content bridges the two together, so it’s worth integrating the ‘try’ and ‘buy’ into all content. Thinkific’s Mastermind with Joana is truly valuable, and along with the seven sweeps, it can give meaningful insight into how to structure copy better across all applications. Keep in mind that there is a structure and a formula to copywriting, and Joana’s has been to found to work, whether it’s for a landing page, a press release or an article, or a case study.

This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

Cover Photo from 10XFactory

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