The Magic Formula For Writing Copy That Sells

Many people want to know the “magic formula” is for writing web site and ad copy that sells.

If you’re one of those folks who would like to know that formula, I have some disappointing news: there isn’t one.

“But Ray,” I hear you say, “Haven’t you yourself  taught several different copywriting ‘formulas’?”

Yes.

But.

They are not “magic” and they don’t work universally.

What a formula can do is give you a basic structure on which to hang your “argument” (your logic for why someone should buy your stuff); what the formula cannot do is somehow magically compel people to buy something they don’t really want or need.

What a formula can’t do is teach you the fears and aspirations of your readers, so that your persuasion power comes from the point of intersection between your audience’s needs/desires and your product’s features/benefits.

Only you, as an empathetic writer, can do that.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “The Magic Formula For Writing Copy That Sells

  1. Hi, Ray.

    Thank you so much for “clearing the air” about Copywriting Formulas. Like you said, there's nothing “magic” about writing copy… People like yourself who are paid handsome sums of money to write copy are able to command those fees because they know how to study the target market to determine their “fears and aspirations” as well as how, “as an empathetic writer” to effectively persuade them “from the point of intersection between [the] audience’s needs/desires and [the] product’s features/benefits to the extent that they are willling to pay for the results promised them by purchasing the product. Copywriting (“Salesmanship in print”) and Persuasion are both arts that are mastered only through persistence, diligence and plain old w-o-r-k.

    Seeking YOUR Success,

    Stephen Boutelle,
    “The Premiere Info-Strategist”

  2. There sure are some great classics like AIDA and SELWAB. One of my favorites is Michael Fortin's QUEST formula. No harm in having a bunch in your copywriting arsenal. They can be very helpful in getting the ball rolling but as you said, you still really have to know your audience if you expect them to act on an offer.

  3. One of the problems with formulae is they produce sterile letters which all look alike and have no soul – thats the thing – the best letters dont follow a precise formula. They have a lot of common elements, but the way they are woven into the story is quite different.

    What formula could possibly create letters which start
    “I Love my wife….” Ted Nicholas…Only way left

    One of my favourite letters isnt even that well known. It tells a story of how the boss made one more snipe at the writer who was pushing a broom, so that he told the boss where to shove his job. Then the bloke talks about how he didnt dare tell his wife – what he had done, and when he did she went ballistic, and chucked him out of the house, to go help one of her friends run a jumble sale….and there he noticed a book. It wasnt the book that he noticed, it was a scribble on it… and the scribble changed his life.. and so on…. no formula can tell a story like that.

    So I think one of the most important skills as a copywriter is to be a good story teller… and then to weave the elements of copy into a good story.