The Formula to Writing Persuasive Copy

Have you ever found yourself stuck at the office because you had a last-minute writing assignment to complete and you didn’t know where to start?

I’m going to share the formula that award-winning advertisers of the Mad Men era used to write the most effective television advertising campaigns.

Following three steps below as an outline and you’ll find your writing job is easier, less stressful, and result in more sales.


(and it’s how I wrote the introduction to this blog post)

  1. Establish the PROBLEM
    Ever found yourself panicking because you had a last-minute writing task? Yes, you have! Boom – I’ve got your attention straight away. By stating what I believe your problem is I’ve made an instant connection and implied that I have a solution to your issue. Keep in mind that to drive the problem home you should acknowledge the rational and emotional side of it. Here, the rational issue is that you have work to do and don’t have much time, the emotional is that you’re going to get home late, likely missing out on time with friends or family.
  2. Be the SOLUTION
    Tell your audience how you are uniquely qualified to solve their problem. In this case, I told you that I knew the secret to writing the absolute best copy (and doubled-down by suggesting you might win an award for your work). What’s important here is to establish credibility. Tell the reader why you / your idea is better than the ones offered by someone else (your competition).
  3. Show the RESOLUTION
    Give the reader a glimpse into how their life will be better once they’ve taken your advice. I’ve suggesting that your job will be easier, less stressful, and will deliver a sale (and sales = $$). I could have also said that your boss will take notice or that your sale will mean you get to go to Hawaii for Christmas.

Want more examples? Take a closer look at commercials where someone is fumbling around their kitchen because their strainer is too difficult to use, or this classic “people think I eat too many chocolate bars” acne commercial.