Last week, I had the privilege of doing prep work for a widely known marketing writer. He’s on top marketing blogs: Moz, HubSpot, Unbounce, Kissmetrics, WordStream, and Crazy Egg, to name just a few.
If there’s anything about working with accomplished people that I look forward to more than the pay, it’s learning new things.
So there’s this copywriting formula that I’ve come across my readings at least once or twice (or maybe more, if I’ve paid attention) but never gotten around to trying: PAS.
I know. Where have I been all these years, right? What kind of writer am I that I don’t know PAS?
My answer: I didn’t know it had a name, but I’ve somehow sneaked the principle in most of my writing.
What the heck is PAS?
PAS has been around for a while, and now that I’m paying attention, it’s been talked about quite extensively by people who know copywriting.
Here, take a look:
- Master This Copywriting Formula to Dominate Any Social Media Platform – Copyblogger
- The Ultimate Guide to No-Pain Copywriting (or, Every Copywriting Formula Ever) – Copy Hackers
- Problem-Agitate-Solve Oh My! Classic Copywriting Formula That Converts – Copywrite Matters
- Why Most Copywriting Formulas Stink (and How to Really Write for the Web) – Enchanting Marketing
- The PAS Formula in Copywriting – Julia McCoy, LinkedIn
- Problem-Agitate-Solve: Best Formula for Writing Potent Web Ads – The Copybot
- This Little Known Copywriting Formula Will Increase Your Email Click-Through Rate – Campaign Monitor
- If Don Draper Tweeted: The 27 Copywriting Formulas That Will Drive Clicks and Engagement on Social Media – Buffer
I found those with just a quick Google search. I’m sure there are more out there, but this post isn’t for listing all the blogs that discuss PAS. (Next time, maybe.)
So PAS stands for Problem, Agitation, Solution.
The gist of it is:
- Identify a problem. State a problem or pain point.
- Agitate the problem. Add salt to the wound, in other words. This is where you make clear the impact of the problem in your target audience’s lives. What happens if the problem remains unsolved?
- Offer a solution. And then you show them a solution – your solution – that will make the problem go away.
Examples of PAS in action
Sounds easy, right? An example:
Problem: Are you an aspiring online freelance writer but don’t know where to start?
Agitate: There are millions of free resources out there, and searching for that one resource that knows exactly what you need can be energy-sapping and time-consuming.
Solution: Written by a freelancer who’s now making a living writing but started knowing nothing about the industry, this article will show you how to get started on your freelance writing journey.
Problem: Losing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, on messed-up invoices?
Agitate: Humans err, and that’s normal. What’s not normal is tolerating losing hard-earned money because of human error.
Solution: Learn more about what our software can do to get rid of human error in your invoicing process.
And here’s one from Click Leo where both the problem and agitation are said in the same line:
PAS is one of the most popular formulas used in copywriting, and many marketers have seen positive results because of it. But here’s the thing. Formulas exist for a reason. They guide. Still, even formulas – or excellent writing, for that matter – can’t make up for a product or service that fails to deliver.
Do you use PAS in your writing? How has your experience been with it?
Featured image from Pixabay