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The 5 best copywriting formulas

Write convincing texts using effective copywriting formulas – we share examples, pros and cons.

Copywriting formulas can feel pointless when today’s world is mostly digital, and the internet is overflowing with attractive visual content. Visual elements are hugely important, but words still do the heavy lifting when your goal is to convey a message or perhaps even sell something online. Copywriting and sharp writing are thus crucial for capturing the interest and clicking fingers of your target audience.

Copywriting formulas make it both quicker and easier to write strong text that gets readers thinking. In this article, we give you 5 of the best copywriting formulas. If you’ve ever experienced writer’s block, read on below! 

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What is a copywriting formula?

A copywriting formula is a kind of recipe for writing a convincing text that hits the mark with the target audience and increases the chances of getting the reader to act. Armed with a copywriting formula, you always have a starting point when you sit down with your fingers on the keyboard.  

The best part is that the formulas we share with you in this article have already been tried and tested by millions of copywriters worldwide. 

Where you can use copywriting formulas

A great thing about copywriting formulas is that many are very versatile. They can be used for everything from headlines on your website’s homepage to the texts in your newsletters.  

Whether you need to present your brand on social media or entice customers with great offers in your ads, copywriting formulas can help you communicate effectively in a way that resonates with your target audience. Let’s take a closer look at where you can use the copywriting formulas we share further down in the article. 

Website content

Your website texts contribute to the impression your users get of you and your brand when they visit your website. The written content you prepare for your site also significantly influences whether a visit results in a conversion.  

Copywriting formulas maximise your chances of writing a website text that convinces and yields results. 


Overcrowded inboxes make it a challenge to get recipients to open and read newsletters. Here it’s about standing out and writing good subject lines that are tempting to click on. A copywriting formula works whether you need to write a longer email or a razor-sharp preheader. 

Social media

It can be dizzying to think about how fierce the competition is every time you share a new post on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. A good copywriting formula is your secret weapon in the fight for the attention of millions of scrolling users. 


Advertising on social media or via Google Ads isn’t free, and you’re probably looking to get something for your money, such as new customers and lots of conversions. By using the best copywriting formulas, you can increase the likelihood that your ads will perform well. 

Here are the 5 best copywriting formulas 

Let’s dive right into the five best copywriting formulas. We start out strong with the popular AIDA formula. 

The AIDA formula

AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action and it’s a copywriting classic. Let’s break down the individual parts of the AIDA formula:  

ATTENTION: The reader’s attention must be captured with a phenomenal headline, and it must happen within a few seconds.  

INTEREST: The reader’s interest should be piqued with a relevant message, or by clarifying that they can achieve something if they just read on.  

DESIRE: Here, the point is to make the reader want to do something such as make a purchase or sign up for a newsletter.  

ACTION: Now your best CTA must show what it can do. A good CTA gets your customer to perform an action, hence the meaning: ‘call to action’. 

AIDA model example

Let’s say you have an online store where you sell plants and garden accessories. You have launched a new self-watering balcony box that you, of course, want to sell. 

Here’s what your website text might look like: 

Attention: Who will water the plants on your balcony during the summer holiday? 

Interest: Meet our new collection of self-watering balcony boxes. They keep your plants looking great and lush for up to a month, all without your help. No more coming home to wilted and dried-out plants. 

Desire: Imagine how wonderful it will be when you’re finally sitting by Lake Como with a delicious cocktail and thinking about how lush and beautiful your hydrangeas are back home on the balcony, even though the neighbour didn’t have time to water them. Our self-watering balcony boxes will do the job better than the neighbour anyway. They ensure the right amount of water! 

Action: Avoid wilted and limp balcony plants – order your self-watering balcony box here! 


✅ Easy to remember and work with. 

✅ Captures the reader’s attention. 

✅ Makes it clear to the reader why they should perform an action.


❌ Doesn’t consider nuances. 

❌ Less effective in complex communication. 

The Four Ps

Here’s another classic copywriting formula. You may have heard of the four P’s or PPPP in connection with the marketing mix model? Here, the four P’s stand for Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. In copywriting, the acronym instead stands for Picture, Promise, Prove, and Push. Let’s look at the individual parts of the formula:  

PICTURE:  To start with, your task is to paint a clear picture for the target audience of either an attractive result they can achieve or a current problem they have. 

PROMISE: Here you need to describe to the reader how good it is for them to choose your product or service. In other words, you must promise them something good. 

PROVE: Now you need to put proof on the table. Give the reader concrete evidence that you can promise good results. You can use social proof to your advantage by includes testimonials from satisfied customers. 

PUSH: Now, your CTA must take the stage, so you can convince the reader to act.


In this example, we look at a restaurant that has just launched a new summer menu. The restaurant sends out a marketing email where they use the PPPP model: 


Subject line: Enjoy our new summer menu on the sunny rooftop terrace. 

Imagine you, your friends, hand-peeled shrimp, lots of sun, great music, and a bottle of cold rosé. Can you picture it? 


You can now try our brand-new summer menu, offering a variety of delicious and light summer treats such as hand-peeled shrimp with aioli, white asparagus with wild garlic butter, and moules frites. Even our popular salmon burger is back on the menu! 

Put together your own three-course menu for only £29 – now it’s summer! 

Prove: You don’t need to take our word for it that our rooftop terrace is London’s cosiest summer oasis. Here you can read all the reviews from last year. 

Push: There’s a rush for seats on the rooftop terrace – book a table before June 2nd and get 10% off the entire menu.


✅ It’s easy for the reader to see the result and the benefit for themselves. 

✅ Social proof is an extremely effective marketing tool.

✅ Can easily be applied to both video and text.


❌ Requires you to know something about the target audience.  

❌ Works best for established businesses that already have social proof.

Before – After – Bridge 

This copywriting formula is wonderfully easy to work with, yet extremely effective. The name Before – After – Bridge comes from presenting a problem, then showing the reader how wonderful life is on the other side of an imaginary bridge where the problem is solved.

Finally, the bridge, i.e., your product or service, is introduced. Let’s take a closer look at the parts of the formula:   

BEFORE:The task here is to describe the reader’s current reality, which includes a problem that needs to be solved. 

AFTER: Now you need to make it clear to the reader how their reality has changed for the better after they started using your solution or product. 

BRIDGE: This is where you need to show the reader how they move away from the problem with the help of your solution (the bridge). This should be done as simply and clearly as possible.


In this example, we look at an online shop that sells subscriptions to vegetable boxes delivered weekly. The shop has made an ad for Facebook using the Before – After – Bridge model. 

Before: You probably know the feeling. You’re in Tesco after a long day at work and need to pick out a bunch of delicious vegetables for the whole week, but you almost always end up with cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and maybe a can of corn.

After: Imagine that every Monday afternoon, instead, you received a box packed with exciting, organic vegetables and herbs delivered right to your door. On top of cucumbers and tomatoes, you also get locally produced squash, fresh asparagus, wild garlic, sage, and many other vegetables that are in season.

Bridge: Subscribe to GreenCrunch and get your first vegetable box delivered in just 14 days. CTA: Choose your vegetable box. 


✅ Easy to use. 

✅ The reader is introduced to a relatable problem.

✅ You guide the reader and show why your product is a good solution.  


❌ The model’s linear development makes it less versatile.

The PAS copywriting formula

PAS stands for Pain, Agitation, and Solution. This copywriting formula is widely used in the marketing world. Let’s look at the parts of the PAS formula: 

PAIN: Here, you need to describe your target group’s biggest and most important problem.

AGITATION: You need to concretise the problem (i.e. the pain) using sensory words that resonate with the reader. Make the need for a solution even greater. 

SOLUTION: Now present the solution. Tell the reader how your product or service solves their problem and makes the pain disappear.


In our example of how the PAS formula can be used, we look at an online shop that sells personalised insoles for running shoes. 

PAIN: Are you tired of sore feet and bad running days without flow?

AGITATION: It’s hard to set new personal records with blisters and sore feet. You never really get going, and you lose any motivation to get up from the couch. A sofa is just more comfortable than sore feet.

SOLUTION: Prevent sore feet with high-tech insoles tailored specifically for you and your unique pronation. Run longer and faster without painful blisters.  

CTA: Tailor your insoles here! 

In this example, there is actual physical pain involved, but the model can naturally also be used in situations where this is not the case, such as a lot of dust in the corners, hungry slugs in the garden, or boring streaming packages. 


✅ It’s effective in making a problem concrete.

✅ The solution feels more attractive because the problem is magnified. 

✅ Can be used in many different contexts.


❌ The heavy focus on the problem can overshadow the benefits of the solution.


Star-Story-Solution is an effective copywriting formula where storytelling really plays a starring role… well, we couldn’t resist the pun. But it is precisely the storytelling that makes this copywriting formula so good. Here’s how the formula is structured:  

STAR: Here, you introduce the star, who is a character (either real or fictional) that has a problem your target audience can recognise. 

STORY: Now, the star’s story must be told to the reader through storytelling. 

SOLUTION: Your goal is now to show how the star solved their problem with the help of your product or service.


Here, we can take an example of a business that offers to create custom meal plans for people with allergies or special diets. The company has interviewed a satisfied customer and has now made a case story with text and photos. 

Star: This is Sara – a busy HR employee. Sara is a vegetarian and allergic to nuts, legumes, tomatoes, and soy.

Story: It’s important for Sara to live healthily and eat a balanced diet, but she often ends up eating the same things over and over, just to be on the safe side. She spends many hours weekly reading ingredient lists and ensuring she gets all the necessary nutrients. Sara was tired of every meal feeling like an impossible task. But then she luckily discovered MealHacker.

Solution: With a subscription at MealHacker, Sara receives a package every month with weekly meal plans and recipes tailored to her allergies and needs. MealHacker consists of a team of dietitians, doctors, and chefs who work together to create the safest, tastiest, and healthiest meal plans. Sara has been particularly pleased with the option to add favourite ingredients and extra protein days as fuel for her weight training.


✅     The character makes the text more authentic. 

✅     The storytelling captures the reader’s interest. 

✅     Can be made more nuanced than some other copywriting formulas.


❌ The copywriting formula is less suitable for very short texts. 

❌ The choice of character can affect the effect on the target audience.

Make copywriting formulas work for you

The five copywriting formulas we have presented to you here in this article are popular within several different types of copywriting. They can be used across the board, but as we have mentioned, they all have advantages and disadvantages that are important to consider.  

Which copywriting formula you should choose largely depends on what you want the reader to do or feel. Try out the copywriting formulas and feel free to fine-tune them so they better fit the messages you want to convey. Good luck at the keyboard! 

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