If you’re not familiar with copywriting, it’s a style of writing that marketers and advertising professionals developed to sell their products, services and ideas. And if you’re writing for an online audience, it’s a valuable skill to have.
Copywriting excels at:
- Capturing readers’ attention (even if they don’t have much to spare)
- Persuading people to read your work and that your ideas have value
- Convincing readers to take action e.g. join your email list, share you work, buy your book etc.
There are dozens of copywriting formulas that you can learn and use to write better non-fiction. In this post, I want to share my favourite copywriting formula with you.
It’s called the Motivating Sequence.
What Is The Motivating Sequence
Robert Bly is an American copywriter who came up with the Motivating Sequence. There are five steps to this sequence.
- Get your reader’s attention
- Identify a problem or need
- Position your answer
- Prove your answer
- Ask the reader to take action
You can use this copywriting formula to introduce your blog posts and non-fiction articles. You can also use the various steps of this copywriting formula to outline your articles.
How To Use The Motivating Sequence To Write Your Next Article
The step-by-step nature of the Motivating Sequence makes it easy to apply. It’s particularly useful for shorter blog posts and articles. Here are three examples of the Motivating Sequence in action.
Example 1: New Bloggers
New bloggers have to wade through a lot of noise online when starting off. Let’s use this sequence to guide them in the right direction.
[Get your reader’s attention] “If you’re using Facebook to grow your blog, you’re wasting your time.”
Now tackle their problem:
[Identify a problem or need] In 2014, Facebook changed how it displays people’s posts. This change means the only way you get real traffic from Facebook to your blog is to pay for it. And if you’re a new blogger, you probably can’t afford to pay for traffic.
Next, set up your answer:
[Position your answer] “Don’t worry. In this post, I’ll give you five free and easy to apply traffic strategies for your new blog.”
The rest of your blog post should prove why blogger outreach is a better source of traffic than Facebook, and it should call on readers to start their first outreach campaign.
Example 2: Serious BLoggers
Serious bloggers are often guilty of working on the wrong things at the wrong time, and they last thing they need is another blog post that’s going to add to their growing To Do list.
Let’s use the Motivating Sequence to grab them by the ears:
[Get your reader’s attention] “Would you like to find an extra hour in every day?”
Now, progress to the problem you’re going to address in your article:
[Identify a problem or need] “How many hours are you spending answering the same questions for new subscribers, fixing the technical parts of your blog, and managing multiple email accounts?”
Next, reveal your answer:
[Position your answer] “If your answer is ‘too many’, I want to share a recent study with you. It shows the average blogger spends 10–20 hours a week on tasks that they could easily outsource. Hiring a virtual assistant will make your working week easier, it will free up your calendar and give the free time you desperately crave.”
“These five simple tips will help you find the perfect VA”
Your post should then prove why virtual assistants work and encourage readers to hire one using your recommendations.
Example 3: New Writers
Finally, new writers often say they want to write every day, but they have trouble finding the time. To get them over this hurdle, you could start your article like this:
[Get your reader’s attention] “Are you struggling to find time to write every day?”
Now, write about the problems of your readers:
[Identify a problem or need] “Perhaps you get home from a long day in the office, sit down on the couch and find you’re too tired and burnt out to write? Or maybe you’ve got kids to feed, a house to manage and a wife or husband to spend time with before you write? ”
Next, talk about how your post can help:
[Position your answer] “Getting up early in the morning before you go to work will help you claim the time you need to write. In this post, I’ll explain how I created a habit of rising early every day to write three thousand words, and how you can do the same.”
Your post should then prove why it makes sense to write first thing in the morning, and call on readers to create this important habit.
Carol Tice uses the motivating sequence in this controversial (and popular) post explaining why writers should stop writing blog posts and what to do instead.
Where to Learn More About Copywriting
Copywriting is an easy skill to acquire and with a little practice, it will help you become a better writer.
Learning copywriting is also one of the quickest ways to start getting paid to write – many companies need writers who can write about their products and services in clear and concise way.
I recently wrote a post for Boost Blog Traffic that explains what copywriting is and how you can use copywriting formulas to introduce your blog posts.
You can also learn more about copywriting in these books:
The Everything Guide to Writing Copy by Steve Slaunwhite
The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan S. Kennedy
This post on Copyblogger by Demian Farnworth is an excellent read too.
Finally, you can visit my post on Boost Blog Traffic and discover four more proven copywriting formulas that you can use today.