Three copywriting formulas to try

​Not everyone can be the charismatic copywriter that is Don Draper. In fact, not even Don Draper was Don Draper. Unsubstantiated rumours claim the character is modelled on an amalgamation of four real people.

It may not be easy to be Don Draper but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do your best at copywriting. Particularly with these useful copywriting formulas that you can use as a quick hack to writing better. 

​Copywriting formulas and techniques

These simple little tactics are great to use when you are stuck in your writing and can’t seem to add the necessary “punch” to make it stand out from the plethora of written communications out there.

Sometimes it’s not enough to tell your readership that you are holding a new event, you have a new or improved service or that there is a fundraising drive that they absolutely must attend.

As consumers, we’re so overwhelmed by information that a lot of what you will put out into the world (or online) as marketers or business owners will fade into the background. These days, it takes a concerted effort to make your communications stand out and reach the correct people.

Below you will find three reliable copywriting formulas that will help you write significant pieces of information that will drive your audience to do something. These writing formulas are particularly effective for fundraising or charity campaigns and I have written the example with that in mind. However, these copywriting processes aren’t limited to not for profit but are applicable for any type of copywriting. Test them out on your next content article, squeeze page or advert.

DRD copywriting formula

  1. dilemma
  2. reaction
  3. decision

This is a formula that is often used in creative writing but can equally be used in effective storytelling as part of your copywriting. In creative writing, it is used to create scenes, eg character finds out husband is cheating (dilemma), character is distraught (reaction) and decides to leave him (decision). This is one of the most effective ways to get action happening in a story. Translated into copywriting, it is an effective way to move the readers along with you so by the time you have taken them through the journey of a dilemma, they are ready to agree to the decision you propose (eg, buy this service to abate your dilemma).

The problem and solution copywriting formula

  1. Problem (heighten the “drama”).
  2. Why it’s even worse than you think.
  3. What will happen if not solved now?
  4. The solution.
copywriting formulas

For example:

  1. Twenty people die every second from cancer.
  2. This has caused our scientists to stop what they’re doing and focus on researching this.
  3. If not solved soon, this number will double and more people will die.
  4. You can help by contributing to our research fund which provides resources for more scientists to engage in this life changing work.

The problem and solution copywriting formula is particularly effective for writing media releases or anything where you need to take people on a particular journey for them to emotionally invest in your plight. Many not for profit and charity organisations would value from using this copywriting technique. 


  1. Attention
  2. Interest
  3. Desire
  4. Action

Let’s look at these steps in closer detail: 

  • Attention: Get people’s attention and jolt them out of their existing state.
  • Interest: engage their mind with something unusual or out of the ordinary. Something that will leave them curious.
  • Desire: engage their heart so they want what you’re offering.
  • Action: ask them to take the next step. This is where your call to action comes into play.
copywriting formulas

The AIDA technique is a time tested process in sales and it is also known as the purchase funnel. You may recognise a semblance of this process in modern day sales funnel marketing – many visible bloggers and digital sellers use it to varying degrees of success.

‘The AIDA model is one of the longest serving models used in advertising, having been developed in the late nineteenth century.’ 

How to grab attention?
There are some surefire ways to grab attention. Words such as “free”, “discount”, “sale”, “you” and similar are very effective in grabbing almost anyone’s attention.

Develop interest with unusual statistics, social proof statements or claims, credible testimonies or endorsements or proposition your reader with a hypothetical scenario that would leave them wondering.

Create desire by proposing something that is absolutely irresistible to your reader. A new product that will eliminate their problem? Something that will boost their confidence or provide them with the comfort or luxury that they have wanted for ages?

By this stage in your copywriting, your reader is all prepped and ready to take some action to make their desire manifest in reality. If your writing is well done, they will be easy to convince at this point. Incorporate an effective call to action

At the end of the day, you can use these copywriting formulas with some sense of success. But for truly powerful copywriting, it still takes creativity, storytelling and marketing knowledge. And I have repeated this in many blog posts but I will say it again: you must, must, must know your target audience and exactly how to write to them in a way that makes them do what you want, for example read your website, buy your product, book your service straight away!

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