Ever been tasked with writing to accomplish a specific objective? It sounds like an easy job, but when you sit down to actually start writing, you think, "Isn't there some sort of road map I should be following to ensure I'm doing this in the best possible way?"
Here are a few quick and easy formulas that will help you get the job done:
1. Writing to solve a problem: Use problem - agitator - solution (PAS).
If your writing objective is to solve a problem, the PAS formula is your go-to resource. It works like this:
Step 1: Identify the problem in a way that makes readers recognize this pain point in their own, personal lives.
Step 2: Agitate the problem and remind the reader why that problem is so annoying. Point out the obstacles it presents and dive into how it complicates the reader's life. Stir up emotion to get the reader primed for a simple solution.
Step 3: Present your solution as a clear, obvious way to end the agitating problem.
Here's what this might look like in action if you were selling a new mop:
Standard mops are messy. They are heavy, hard to use, and often don't reach all of the corners of the rooms you mop. Aren't you tired of hurting your back and getting your hands dirty when you have to remove the mop head? You need the NewMop. It's lightweight and self-wringing, and it goes right into the washing machine when you're done.
2. Writing to overcome objections: Address don't, can't, won't.
The biggest objections to any proposal are:
So when it's time to write about how you'll overcome those objections, you need to address each one specifically.
Here's an example:
You need a new car. It's what drives your kids to school every day. It takes your family on summer vacation. It gets you home safely from work. And with financing over 56 months, your payments fit comfortably into your monthly budget. Take just 20 minutes to come test drive one of our new arrivals and feel the difference for yourself. You won't be disappointed.
3. Writing to stress benefits: Features - advantages - benefits (FAB).
When you need to write in a way that highlights the benefits of what you're describing, use the FAB formula to show the results that the features can produce.
Step 1: Explain what your product/service does.
Step 2: Spell out why this is important to the reader and explain why it matters.
Step 3: Outline the positive outcomes that steps 1 and 2 can produce.
So, for example:
This pen writes smoother than any other pen on the market. It can make your handwriting look more professional, its ink never smudges, and it means never having to scribble on a piece of paper in hopes it will start writing. As a result, you produce cleaner signatures and professional-looking documents that show you care about the details.
4. Writing to persuade: What - who - what.
Persuasive writing is all about giving readers a preview of what they can expect. A reader who is going to be persuaded wants to know:
In action, this looks like:
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5. Writing to increase curiosity: The gap.
When you're working toward spurring a reader'scuriosity, you should employ the curiosity gap. A missing piece of information encourages the reader to proceed forward to find out what's on the other side. These are often best for email subject lines, blog titles, and short-form social media posts.
You won't believe our CEO's reaction to our fundraising goal.
See how you're instantly wondering what the reaction was? It works!
No matter what writing formula you use, remember to follow through and deliver on what you've promised the reader. No one likes to be tricked into reading.