January 12, 2024

The 3 Best Content Writing Formulas

By Charles Miller

I posted a thread/carousel on Monday.

It was about content formulas.

A few hours later, I started getting a bunch of DMs telling me how much they loved it.

So let's expand it here for you.

I have three core content formulas:

  1. BAB - Before, after, bridge
  2. PAS - Pain, agitation, solution
  3. AID - Attention, interest, deliver

Before we get into them, note that these are for content.

There's a lot of overlap between content and copy, but they're not the same.

That's why I do AID instead of AIDA, and it's why the execution of all of these is different from how you'd execute when writing sales copy.

Let's break them down one by one...

BAB

This is the perfect formula for when you're writing about a transformation.

You can start with "before" then mention "after".

Or you can start with "after" then mention "before".

Either way, you then transition into explaining how that transition took place.

Usually, the bridge is a story or a list of tools, ideas, etc.

Example:

3 months ago, my average screen time was 9 hours a day.

This month, my average screen time was 1 hour a day.

Here are 7 tips that'll help you look at your phone less:

{The tips}

You can use BAB for any type of transformation: physical health, mental health, finances, and more.

You can do it for personal transformations or transformations made by other people.

You can also do it for negative transformations, where you mention a mistake before helping your audience avoid it.

Write what happened, then deliver a valuable and interesting body that helps your readers improve too.

PAS

This is a copywriting classic that works for content too.

Start with a painful problem that your ideal audience has.

That's your hook.

Then agitate that pain a bit. You can do so in one line, or you can do so with more words.

After building that tension and desire to solve the problem, you give the solution.

Example:

Do you sleep less than 6 hours a night?

If so, you're at greater risk of over 11 chronic diseases.

Here's how to fix it:

{The fix}

People who have trouble sleeping will read that line and be reminded of their painful sleep problem.

The second line agitates their pain. They already knew they could feel better, but the thought of having poor health adds fuel to the fire.

Finally, the last line (that's the "lead") promises a solution, and the body of the content gives that solution.

Pain grabs attention, agitation secures attention, and the solution delivers value.

AID

Like AIDA is in copywriting, AID is essentially a universal formula that applies to all good content.

I'd argue that the two above are both specific examples of AID.

This should be your default.

When writing, you first need to attract attention.

Then you need to keep attention and turn it into enough interest that your reader gets into the body of the content.

Sometimes, you do that with a hook in one line and more interesting text below it.

Sometimes, attention and interest are all in one simple line, like a list title or a how-to guide title.

Either way, your body needs to deliver on whatever you promised to get their attention.

An example of a one-liner is the subject of this email.

Examples of more than one line are the two examples I wrote above.

Have this formula in your head every time you write content.

Think of it like a checklist.

  • Are you grabbing attention with your hook?
  • Are you transmitting that into interest?
  • Are you delivering value in the body?

Answer yes to all three, and you'll be ahead of most.

Last Thoughts

The magic is in the execution of these.

But just knowing about them will help you.

BAB is great for transformation posts, PAS is great for problem-solving posts, and AID is great for all posts.

Grab attention, lead into the body, then deliver.

That's the core process.

These formulas will help you do it better.

P.S. Whenever you're ready, I can help you in 3 ways:

1. Copyblogger Academy - This is my content marketing community. It comes with 9 full-length courses, Q&A, and a lot more. Join 1300+ members inside.

2. Collaborations - I have LinkedIn growth services ranging from $300 to $4500 per month. Fill out my form to see if we're a good fit.

3. Consultations - If you want to talk 1:1, I do 4 consultations per month. Check my calendar to see if I still have availability.