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How to Master the Problem-Agitate-Solution Copywriting Formula

If you're looking for a proven formula that can help you write better copy, then this is the article for you. Learn how to use PAS writing in your content marketing strategy today!
how to master the problem agitate solution copywriting formula

In July, we briefly highlighted The AIDA copywriting formula and showed you how to use it for copywriting success.

In this post, we’re going to explain another time-tested and effective copywriting formula: the Problem-Agitate-Solution (PAS) format and show you how to use it in your writing.

Before we go any further, it’s important to note that this formula takes a few names, but they’re all the same thing:

  • Pain Agitate Solution (PAS)
  • Problem Agitate Solve (PAS)
  • Problem Agitate Solution (PAS)

They’re all just different ways of saying the same thing.  No matter what you call it, just know that this formula is what separates decent copywriting from good copywriting.

The Problem-Agitate-Solution Formula

The PAS formula is a tried and true way of writing copy that communicates your message in the most memorable fashion.

It stands for:

  • Problem: You begin by identifying the problem (or problems) that need to be addressed.
  • Agitate: Next, you agitate those problems and make them worse. For example, if your product can fix a problem for people, show how big/bad the problem is getting worse over time without taking action.
  • Solution: Finally, present your solution (which is usually your product) as the answer to those problems.
problem agitate solution copywriting formula professional copywriting denham springs

Now, let’s look at each step in more detail, using this example of the PAS framework in action:

If you’re a social media influencer, then using the latest and greatest phone is an important part of your image.

We know that everyone who uses social media knows how important it is to be able to show off their fabulous lifestyle online. But because of the high cost of upgrading phones every year, most people settle for a less expensive option and are forced to use older technology – which makes them look behind the times.

ACME offers luxury smartphones at affordable prices so that your customers can have all of the latest features without having to pay top dollar or feel pressured into getting a new phone just because they want something newer than what they already have. With our smartphone plans, you’ll get access to great devices at affordable prices, so you won’t miss out on any opportunity to show off your fabulous life!

Step 1: Identifying The Problems That Need To Be Addressed

If you’re a social media influencer, then using the latest and greatest phone is an important part of your image.

In our example above, the problem is that social media influencers need the latest and greatest phones to show off their fabulous lifestyle online.

However, it’s not always simple to come up with this part of the problem-agitate-solution framework.

To identify the problems, you need to think in a customer’s shoes and ask yourself:

  • What is the pain they are feeling?
  • What issues are they dealing with?
  • Who else has faced this same issue? And how did it turn out for them in

Plus, some products don’t have an obvious correlation to pain. For example, you don’t buy a new smartphone because it hurts not to wear one.

However, you can still pose a positive as a negative and turn it into pain points by mentioning the mistakes of buying another brand, losing opportunities, or suffering from FOMO.

The trick is understanding the emotions behind why people buy your product to explain how yours will be more beneficial for them than any other option out there.

In many cases, it may be intuitive as to why something is “painful.” For example, why do you need to have the newest phone?

It’s all about keeping up with the Joneses and having the most current, the best, and the flashiest version of a product that is central to their social life and personal image.

For example, if you’re a dating coach, you need to address the pain that comes from being rejected or ignored.

Step 2: Agitating The Problems You’ve Identified.

We know that everyone who uses social media knows how important it is to be able to show off their fabulous lifestyle online. But because of the high cost of upgrading phones every year, most people settle for a less expensive option and are forced to use older technology – which makes them look behind the times.

The above example shows how the problem worsens over time and how social media influencers face many issues due to not having the latest cell phone technology.

When writing your PAS content, remember that people always want to know what’s in it for them. So when you need to get your audience riled up about a problem, show them one or more of the following:

  • The consequences of not solving this problem
  • What could happen if they continue to let the problem exist
  • How much more comfortable, easier, or rewarding their life will be when they solve this problem

Remember that no matter how big or small the problem is that you’re addressing, it has to bring pain of some sort. 

You want to pour salt on their wound.

Ok, it doesn’t have to be that extreme, but your prospects need to feel like there’s a reason why they should invest.

If people understand that ignoring this issue will lead to more negative consequences, they’ll be more likely to take notice and care about doing something about it.

Step 3: Solving The Problems You’ve Identified.

ACME offers luxury smartphones at affordable prices so that your customers can have all of the latest features without having to pay top dollar or feel pressured into getting a new phone just because they want something newer than what they already have. With our smartphone plans, you’ll get access to great devices at affordable prices, so you won’t miss out on any opportunity to show off your fabulous life!

The above example of the PAS writing formula shows how BlakSheep is the solution for your problems that come with not being able to afford or maintain an expensive phone.

This is where you go over exactly what your product does for your customers, explaining why it will solve their problems and provide them with so many more benefits than they ever could’ve imagined.

Using our social media influencer example, this is where you would put all the details about what ACME offers in terms of service, devices, and prices.

Why?

Remember that PAS content should show precisely why your product or service is better than anything else out there on the market.

If you follow the Problem-Agitate-Solution copywriting formula, then you’ll be able to write content that maximizes your conversion rate.

The PAS writing formula is a way of getting people’s attention and making them feel pain so that they will take action to solve their problem with your product or service.

Try using the PAS copywriting formula on Facebook ads, website content, landing pages, blog posts, sales letters, or anywhere else you need to entice your users with persuasive copy.

Don’t forget to include a call to action to get them to act now.

The Problem-Agitate-Solution copywriting formula is one of the best ways to be sure your social media posts, ads, and website content will convert.

If you want help creating marketing strategies that convert prospects into customers, give us a call today at (225) 505-3834.

You have a great product, but you’re struggling to promote it because your copywriting skills are not up to par.

We’ve all been there before. Your website and marketing materials must be well-written so that you can attract the right audience for your business. But hiring a professional copywriter can be expensive. 

BlakSheep offers affordable writing services for small businesses looking to create effective marketing material without breaking the bank. Check out our copywriting services page for more information.

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Samantha Glass

Sam is currently the director at The Way PDO and Preschool, in Denham Springs, Louisiana.  As a parent’s day out director, she possesses, “a special set of skills,” and is a bit of a grammar fanatic, making her one of the best copywriters in Louisiana.

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