7 Formulas for Irresistible Copy and Content

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Written By Natalie S

Digital content is so accessible these days it’s easy to forget the methods that make it all work.

But if you need to increase brand awareness, grow your audience, or convert more leads to sales, it’s time to turn your attention to words.

Here we show you tried and tested formulas to make your copy and content more effective.

1. Problem, agitate, solve

An oldie but a goodie that still gets used today, this formula is for sales copy such as landing pages. Here’s how it goes.

  • Problem: Lead your copy by describing your customers’ pain point, the one that your product will solve.
  • Agitate: Take the problem and flesh it out by explaining how it affects your customer’s life. Give vivid examples that resonate.
  • Solve: Show how your product is the only or best solution to the pain point you opened with.

2. The 4 Us

In this formula, you use 4 words that start with the letter “U” to craft headlines. Use this formula for your blog headings, page titles, pay-per-click ads and more.

  • Useful: Describe how the body copy (the copy that comes after the heading) will be useful to the reader.
  • Ultra-specific: Make sure the body copy lives up to the promise of the heading by being ultra-specific.
  • Unique: Hone in on what makes your product or content unlike anything the user can find elsewhere.
  • Urgent: Add a time limit to up the ante, so the reader feels as though they need to act fast before they miss out.

Memorise the 4Us to craft powerful headings that grab attention.

You can also use a tool such as CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to test your headlines with a score.

3. Listicles

Despite being everywhere, users still love a good listicle. We’re not sick of them yet!

To create a listicle, write an article based on a list by numbering your subheadings—just like this one.

Create a listicle with phrases such as:

  • X Reasons why
  • X Ways to
  • Top X
  • X Benefits

4. How to

How-to guides are nothing new, and just like listicles, they’re here to stay.

While people will always need advice on how to do something, they also want content that’s fresh and interesting.

Stay true to the how-to concept while bringing something new to the mix.

This might be a topical spin on an old topic, as in Make 2022 Clutter-free If It Can’t Be Covid-free

Or by finding the silver lining in common pitfalls, as in 3 Major Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Social Media Presence.

How-to content includes

  • How to
  • A Guide to
  • X Ways to

5. Storytelling

Use storytelling to bring your copy and content to life and help people remember you.

This doesn’t mean you have to start with “once upon a time”, but it does mean highlighting what makes your business stand out or relatable.

Another great technique is to evoke the five senses. As soon as your Facebook followers can smell that pizza in the oven, they’ve got their fingers on the Uber Eats app.

Not sure how to create your brand story? Read more in The Art of Storytelling.


AIDA is another formula you can use across any copy or content, but it’s most useful for landing pages and copy that aims to convert leads.

AIDA helps you remember:

  • Attention: Grab attention from the outset through your headline. Try to create curiosity so that your reader can’t resist reading more.
  • Interest: Once you’ve got their attention, it’s time to keep their interest. Make the reader feel that they will miss out on something valuable if they stop reading.
  • Desire: Show your reader they need your offering because it will make their life better.
  • Action: By this stage, your reader should feel ready to take action. Tell them exactly how with a CTA (call to action) that gives simple, unambiguous instructions.

7. Features vs benefits

A lot of our clients have thought about their product or service from just one point of view—theirs.

Like them, you’ve got something special to sell and an intimate knowledge of how it all works.

It’s time to take this expertise and translate it into the language your audience speaks.

List every feature of your product and then write down the benefit. It is these benefits that you want to showcase through your copy and content.

How to write effective copy and content

Back in the glory days of advertising, copy was everything. Now that we spend so much time online, images play a larger role than they did in print formats.

Words aren’t the whole story anymore, but good copy and content writing can boost your marketing strategy.