The challenge of crafting every marketing message (copy AND content) you’ll ever need has been distilled here into five simple questions.
These questions make the task of writing copy and blog posts as easy as baking bread – and tasty, too.
Each step in the recipe takes the form of a question. Once you answer each of the five questions about your product or service, you’ll have the basic ingredients, a mini-version of your marketing copy.
NOTE: As you are answering these questions, don’t get creative. Just answer factually. We’ll get creative later. Promise!
Question 1: What’s the Problem? (What’s the client MOST hungry for?)
Most sales, both online and offline, are based primarily on solving a problem. Having identified your target audience, your job now is to identify the problem that your target audience has that can be solved by your product or service. In marketing and copywriting terms these are known as the three Ps – pain, problem or predicament.
Now, if your product or service could be considered a nice-to-have or luxury item, it’s still solving a problem: an unmet desire.
This is where you play doctor. You diagnose the problem. The people in your target audience may not even know they have a problem, so it is your job to make them recognize it. Many marketers shove the solution down their viewers’ throats before their audience recognizes that there is a problem. That’s like a doctor prescribing medicine before you feel sick or understand that the shot will prevent the flu.
There’s another aspect to it as well. Once your audience understands they have a problem, you have to let them know that you understand their problem. There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Ingredient 1. Write down the problem(s) your customer is dealing with. Just one or two sentences. But be sure to capture the pain portion of how this impacts them and their life.
Question 2: Why hasn’t the Problem been Solved? Or the Desire Fulfilled?
Extending the doctor metaphor, this is where you further identify the history of the problem, predicament, or pain that your target market has experienced up to now. What previous remedies or solutions have been attempted but failed? As you progress through all five steps of this recipe, you’ll begin to see how the answer(s) to this question serves to build your audience’s anticipation about a new solution you’re about to reveal.
Now we’re going to focus on the second ingredient. I like to call this “The Threshold Guardian.” It’s usually NOT a person (but it could be).
Ingredient 2. Write down the reason(s) why the problem continues, persists or lingers. How is it that they haven’t solved their problem, and why are they still stuck in the rut? Again, a few factual sentences will do.
Question 3: What’s possible?
In coaching parlance, this is called possibility thinking. This is where you set the stage for what life could be like – what could happen – when your audience’s problem, pain, or predicament is completely eliminated.
You must go beyond stating the obvious. “The pain in your lower back will disappear,” is not enough.
You must draw a picture of what’s possible once that pain is gone. “You’ll be able to engage in activities (specify activities) you were unable to engage in because of your back pain,” or “You can accomplish all your goals and dreams because the pain is no longer there to stop you.” This is the dramatic promise.
Ingredient 3. Write down what’s possible. Paint a picture (using words) of the way things will be when your prospect’s problems are solved. Again, a few sentences will do.
Question 4: Why this solution? (e.g., You, Your Product, This Advice)?
This is where you explain why your particular advice is pertinent.
If you’re writing sales copy, you’ll talk about who you are and how your product or service is uniquely suited to help your reader.
What’s different about you? Your company? Your product?
If you’re writing a blog post, this where you talk about the evidence that supports the advice you’re giving.
Ingredient 4. Write a few sentences about what makes your solution the best.
Question 5: What action should your prospect take now?
If you answered the first four questions, and established your objective for this particular piece of copy or blog post, you know what the answer to this question is.
You simply tell your audience to do what you started out wanting them to do – that is, to sign up, pick up the phone, register, opt-in, or buy what you’re selling. For blog posts, a call to action can be as simple as asking them to leave a comment. The point is to have a call to action.
Ingredient 5. State clearly what you want your prospect to do.
Note: Your call to action will be different for each piece of copy or content you write, so for now, pick one that is your usual first step in the process of getting to know a potential new client.
There you have it. Once you have answered the five starter questions, you have the recipe for building any marketing message.
You’ve got the structure; all you have to do next is embellish it with your particular voice.
Please share your answers with us in a comment below.