The AIDA formula is widely-used model in copywriting, particularly by copywriters in sales letters and nonprofit leaders in appeal letters.
I'll explain how in just a sec. But first, a bit of
Writing formulas provide a handy outline for you to follow as you work on a writing project.
And why wouldn’t you use them? Good formulas are proven and have stood the test of time. (Here's a great resource of all kind of copywriting formulas.)
For a long time I thought the AIDA formula was a writers-only concoction – a persuasive copywriting template which we use for the express purpose of getting the reader to take an action, such as to buy a product or give a gift.
Little did I know that we writers hijacked it from marketers. The formula started its life as a tried-and-true advertising model.
AIDA is an acronym credited to American advertising pioneer Elias St. Elmo Lewis (1872-1948) which outlines 4 sequential steps a consumer takes to purchase a product: attention, interest, desire, action. First, she becomes aware of then product, then develops interest in its benefits, cultivates a desire for it, and finally takes action to buy it.
Copywriters adopted the AIDA acronym as a framework to follow in writing sales letters or appeal letters with the ultimate purpose of persuading her to take action.
A: Attention. Grab the reader’s attention with an interesting fact, story, statistic, or startling statement about a problem and the need for a solution.
I: Interest. Keep the reader’s interest by explaining the need or the problem further – and why your organization or product is the answer to the problem.
D: Desire. Build the reader’s desire to alleviate the problem by outlining the benefits of your product, service, or cause.
A: Action. Move the reader to in a call to action with clear instructions about what she should do, such as buying a product now or giving a gift before it is too late.
“But AIDA is designed to persuade, so using it in sales letters and other copywriting makes sense,” you say. “But to use a persuasive framework in content writing seems disingenuous, when I simply want to provide information the reader can use.”
I felt the same way … until I realized that the purpose of content writing is to give the reader information she can use or act on. Content explains a problem and a solution. Ultimately, good content gives the reader an action to take to solve her problem.
Sounds a lot like the AIDA format used in copywriting, doesn’t it?
Good content is about getting the reader’s attention about a problem (A), keeping her interest by explaining her problem (I), building a desire for a solution (D), and giving her an action to take. (A).
As in this post.
As I wrote this piece, I used a hook to get your attention by explaining AIDA, a writing copywriting formula that can cross over to content writing.
You want tips about writing so you can save time and write better. AIDA (like other formulas) is a useful tool. But how is it used in marketing and copywriting? How does it help writers save time?
Can you truly use a formula for writing content? How does that work? As you read, you raise objections in your mind so I addressed them.
You've seen how the AIDA formula can save time, is a useful framework for writing both copy and content . It focuses on the reader, helps her solve a problem, and works. Now you're ready to try it when you write an article, post, or other short piece.
Good content explains a problem and a solution the reader can use … which makes AIDA a helpful formula you can use as you write all kinds of content.
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