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The AIDA Formula: The Simplest Way To Write Persuasive Stuff
A few months ago, I took a copywriting course that completely changed how I approach writing.
I learned that some of the best copy follows the “AIDA” formula:
Attention: Start by saying something that will snap the reader into paying attention.
Interest: Next, peak the reader’s curiosity and give them a reason to read on.
Desire: Create an emotional response in the reader that will prime them to take an action.
Action: Lead the reader into taking a specific next step.
As simple as that might sound, it blew my mind. It makes so. Much. Sense.
So I started experimenting...
I decided to re-share some interesting ideas from my blog that had underperformed in the past using the AIDA formula this time.
Whereas a typical copywriter might be trying to convince somebody to buy something, on Twitter my goal is to get people to like or share my content.
So I tweeted this idea from one of my favorite blog posts to my modest following of less than 1k people using the AIDA formula:
And, sure enough, this tweet brought the juice and out-performed my average tweet impressions by 22x.
Before taking the course, I probably would have Tweeted something kind of interesting, but forgettable like:
But instead, I made sure the tweet followed the AIDA formula:
I tried to design the following experience for the reader:
Attention. This will “forever fascinate” this guy? Must be interesting…
Interest. What did these researchers find out?
Desire. I now feel a visceral sense of curiosity. WTF DID THEY LEARN?
Action. Wow. That’s what they learned. That’s wild. I think my followers would find this interesting too. I’m going to slam that “like” or “retweet” button.
So, yeah. I could have tweeted out a matter-of-fact observation, but it’s less likely that it would have stirred readers into sharing or liking the content.
The exact same idea can get a wildly different half-life depending on how you communicate it.
So... the next time you’re writing something that you hope will motivate somebody to take a specific action, start by grabbing their attention.
Then, give them a reason to read on.
Then, trigger an emotional response.
Finally, lead them to an action that will gratify that emotion.
(P.s. for anybody curious, this is the course I took)
(P.s.s. If anybody’s curious about that hunter-gatherer story, here’s the one-minute summary)