Are you stuck trying to write your latest piece of copy? Is the blank, white page staring at you in the face?
The cursor blinks at you as if to say, “I’m ready, why aren’t you?” Nothing comes to mind no matter what you do or how long you brainstorm.
Writer’s block is stressful. It’s frustrating. It’s disruptive.
The issue might even be bigger than you think. After all, if you can’t write your copy:
Don’t worry if this situation sounds familiar, you aren’t doomed. In fact, you can count on a few surefire ways to crush writer’s block. That’s what this article is all about.
To be more specific, this article is about copywriting frameworks and templates. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know everything you need to stay productive and avoid racking your brain for hours.
One disclaimer: your copy still won’t magically write itself. Your writer’s block, though? That’ll pull a disappearing act.
Here’s how you can avoid watching your cursor blink and write high-converting copy instead.
A copywriting framework is a general step-by-step method for writing copy. It isn’t specific to a type of copy — any given framework will work across at least a few different mediums.
Some frameworks are better than others for, say, email newsletters or social media copy, but since all frameworks are based on general principles to follow, it’s rare to find one that would only work for one thing.
A framework may be more general, but it still helps crush writer’s block by giving you something to work from. That’s because frameworks give you a specific list of questions to answer.
Using a framework can help spark your curiosity and give you ideas on what to write and how to write it. Even better, a framework gives you specific reasons why you should write something a particular way. It’s all about ways you can connect with your audience.
Frameworks are great at speaking to your specific target audience. You’re answering the questions of a framework with them in mind. That keeps your copy from being too general.
Don’t go worrying that frameworks are too complicated, though. The beauty of a framework is that it’s all that in a neat, simple package.
Frameworks are usually acronyms that give you a general sense of what to do to reach your audience. And there are dozens of them, so you never need to run out of ideas. You can go through them until you’ve exhausted each one, tailoring them to your audience.
Here are a handful of common copywriting frameworks, and what each of them can do for you. Remember, you aren’t limited to these four.
Why these four? For one thing, they’re some of the more common frameworks. They’re tried and true because they’re short and easy to remember while still covering all your bases.
These frameworks guide you through all the things you need to write copy that will reach your audience. Once you’ve looked through them, you’ll start to notice the things they have in common. You’ll also see how they all bring slightly different things to light.
Once you’ve used all of these, there are many of them to keep trying. You could even Frankenstein a few of them together to make your own. Once you’ve tried a couple, you might find that there are frameworks you like and want to adjust to fit your business better.
These are just to dip your toes in and get you started.
This is a classic in the advertising world. PAS stands for Pain, Agitate, Solution.
First, ask “What kind of pain is my audience experiencing?” That’ll be the beginning of your copy.
Next, emphasize that pain. Point out ways they experience it day-to-day or how long they’ve been experiencing it.
Finally, show your readers that you have the solution to that pain.
This framework is short, sweet, and simple. It works for absolutely everything from video sales letters to emails to social media ads.
This is another versatile option. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
First, grab the reader’s attention. You can do this in a lot of different ways depending on your medium. Putting their name in an email headline, for instance, or using a color palette that will stand out from the content around it.
Next, spark their interest. Again, how you do this depends on your medium. Asking a question, making a joke, or creating a sense of mystery in your opening lines are all great examples.
After that, create a desire. Now that you’ve got them, reel them in. Connect with them emotionally so they want what you’re offering.
Finally, place a call to action. A link to your website, a “buy now” button or a contact form are all calls to action.
AIDA has an important reminder in it that PAS lacks — a call to action reminder. CTAs are crucial for any copy, and AIDA has an extra step so you never forget to do just that.
Learn more about the AIDA framework and how it can affect bounce rates here.
Ok, so this one isn’t exactly an acronym, but it’s too useful to leave out. The 4 Ps are Problem, Promise, Proof, and Proposal.
Like PAS, you want to start by pointing out a problem or pain that your audience is facing.
Next, show your audience how you’ll fix that problem for them.
Then, you’ll provide proof. This comes in different forms. You could use scientific proof, like studies or data. If that’s not available, you could also use social proof, like positive reviews or endorsements. You could also use both if you have the access and space for both kinds.
Lastly, propose specific steps your audience can take. This step is basically just a different way to say CTA.
The unique feature that this framework brings is building proof into the formula. As you know, telling your customers all about how great you are will fall flat if you can’t back it up. The 4 Ps is a framework that makes providing proof an integral part of your copy.
This framework is a little less all-purpose than the others, but it’s super helpful if you’re looking to make quick conversions, or if your product doesn’t require a large investment. SLAP stands for Stop, Look, Act, Purchase.
First, you want your reader to stop. In the case of a social media ad, you want them to stop scrolling. In the case of an email list, you want them to stop clicking the “read” or “delete” buttons before they open it.
Next, you need them to read what you wrote. You don’t just want them to pause at your copy and then leave.
After that, you want them to act. Usually, this means visiting your website, but it could also mean going to your store or downloading an app.
Finally, you want them to make a purchase.
SLAP is a much more action-based template than the others listed here. It’s helpful if you want to draw up several different versions of copy for A/B testing. That’s because the questions it leads you to ask are along the lines of “what will make my audience move?” instead of “why would my audience want this?”
Frameworks are great to use at any time. Some people go as far as to say you should never sit down to write without starting from a template. While that’s great advice for starting out, once you feel confident in writing on your own, you shouldn’t worry about needing to find one.
They’re especially helpful when you’re struggling to write copy that stands out and genuinely engages and converts prospects. They’re helpful with this because they ask guiding questions that can lead you in several different directions. Guiding questions can lead to more questions, and following a bunny trail or two can lead you to unique values or phrases that you wouldn’t find otherwise.
Let’s say I decided to use the PAS framework to sell bananas to parents. With the “pain” step, I could use their child’s health, activity level, sweet tooth, or the grocery costs of kids who like to snack. These are all common pain points for parents.
Since the “pain” has different options, the “agitate” would, too. Presenting bananas as the “solution” would be a common thread, but I would present it differently based on the pain point I’m speaking to.
I could even speak directly to the parents in my target demographic with this framework in mind. Conducting an interview or reviewing notes using this framework would give me a clear idea of which pains are most prominent and why. I could also search my audience’s voice for what they would look for in a solution.
Using a framework gives flexibility. It helps you focus on the points you need to be hitting for good copy. Even though you’re sticking to the same points, frameworks don’t take away from your specific audience. When you know your audience well, but struggle to get started writing to them, frameworks are essential.
They can be used over and over since you can interpret them differently every time. You can use them to turn out consistently great copy that has a lot of different variations to it.
Learn more about a 4-step copywriting framework designed to boost your conversions here.
A copywriting template is a fill-in-the-blank. It’s a business version of Mad Libs.
A copywriting template is prewritten, and all you need to do is tailor it to your specific audience. It’s the more low-effort option, and pretty dang easy to fill out. You don’t need to know very much about your specific audience. All you need to know is your product.
However, you have to be careful about overusing templates. Since they aren’t as open-ended as frameworks, you could end up churning out low-quality content that sounds robotic. That mechanical quality won’t connect strongly with readers.
A template can still connect with readers, but not to the degree that something original will. Templates are common, so they’re familiar to readers. Audiences expect to see them. It can be comforting to a reader to see a template, but it won’t be impactful and life-changing. Templates aren’t likely to convert them on the spot.
So while templates aren’t something to build your whole business around, they’re still a good tool to have in your toolbox. They’re reliable, consistent, and again, there are dozens of them available online.
The important thing to remember about so many templates being readily available is that they’re available to everyone else, too. Your competitors can use them. People in different industries can use them. Even your customers can use them if you’re doing B2B marketing. It may seem like an inexhaustible number, but they’re all still being seen frequently by your customers.
These are a couple of the best copywriting templates used by top-notch copywriters. Since templates aren’t as versatile, I grabbed one for 4 of the most common types of copywriting.
This template is great to use as an origin story for your product. You can use it on the “About Us” page on your site. It’s short enough that you could even use it in a social media ad that links to your site.
I started creating _________________ (your product) when I was ________________ (describe you as your ideal customer, before you created a solution) and ______________________ (pain). I was ____________________(specific feeling, e.g. tired/frustrated/fed up) with ______________________ (current options available to fix problem). I wanted _____________________ (pleasure/dream scenario/solution).
I created ________________ (your product) with ___________________ (features) so that _______________________ (benefits).
See why I called it business MadLibs? No matter how tough writer’s block might be, this couldn’t be any simpler to fill out.
A headline is much shorter than a product description, so the template is laid out a little differently. It’s still a fill-in-the-blank, but you’re filling in every word.
(Action) + (Time Period) + (End Result)
Filled out, it would look something like:
Eat 12 Bananas A Day To Kick Your Sugar Habit
You can switch up the order of these or change out a step or two, but it’s a good baseline to use.
This one is a little more complicated because the right template depends on the social media channel you choose. For instance, Twitter has a character limit, where Facebook doesn’t. People go to Instagram for a more visual experience, where on LinkedIn they’re more likely to read a longer blog post or caption, and so on.
There are two templates each for the biggest three social media networks here for you to use.
[INSERT PROBLEM] sucks. [INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE ] doesn’t.
What’s your top [INSERT TASK] tip?
That feeling when [INSERT ACTION]. #[INSERT HASHTAG]
[INSERT PERCENTAGE] of [INSERT AUDIENCE] use [INSERT PRODUCT] to [INSERT TASK] more [INSERT BENEFIT]. Be one of them.
Love [INSERT PRODUCT/HOBBY/TREND/ETC]? Then you’ll love this. [INSERT PHOTO]
We spotted [INSERT YOUR PRODUCT] in the wild! [INSERT PHOTO]
Even with just two templates, you can see how different the captions are. Twitter uses hashtags. Facebook is more open to audience interaction. Instagram requires you to have some form of photo or graphic design.
You can vary these up, but again, they give you an idea of what you’re looking for.
This is a standard, baseline template that’s easy to add your own flair to. Use this when people sign up for an email list.
Subject line: Thanks for subscribing to [insert name of your list or group]
Welcome and thank you for subscribing.
As promised, here is the link to download the [insert name of your gift] that will help you to [insert what the gift will help your subscriber to accomplish].
Download now [include link to access / download]
(This is only for if you include a free gift, like an ebook)
Now that you’ve subscribed, you’ll be receiving our emails [insert the frequency, for example, once a week, twice a month, etc]. These emails will contain our [insert content type, such as article or news]. You’ll also receive exclusive [offers, promotions, information on events, access to something, etc]
The [insert name of your company] team is happy to have you on board. If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can simply reply to our emails or contact me directly using the contact information below.
[Insert your signature and contact information]
This is a particularly helpful template since no one wants to spend all day coming up with multiple unique takes on a welcome email.
Templates are perfect for when you’re struggling to get any words on the page. They’re an amazing jumping-off point since you can fill them in and then start working on changes a little at a time until you have something that fits your brand image and audience.
Templates tend to sound like literally every ad you’ve seen in your life. That’s ok because you don’t have to post it immediately after filling it out.
A template on its own doesn’t have a lot of variation, but it gives you something to look at other than a blank screen. You can fill a template in, read it through, and go, “hmm, I could change it to say this instead” or “if I said it that way instead of this way, it would match my brand’s voice better”. Templates crush writer’s block because no matter how uninspired you’re feeling, you can fill in a template without any trouble.
Say you aren’t having writer’s block, though. Say something came up on very short notice and you need to get something up, and quick. Templates to the rescue. You can get a template filled out to put up as a placeholder while you make final adjustments.
On a similar note, templates are also helpful for A/B testing. Templates are often bland and familiar to audiences. Testing a template against an original piece of copy is a great way to see how your audience reacts to the new copy.
Templates can be just as integral to good copy as frameworks, but for a different reason. They should be your go-to when you’re sitting with nothing on the page and no way to get there. They’ll be your way to get words on the page even if you’re feeling completely uninspired.
Templates are the ramen noodles of copywriting. They get old if that’s all you’re eating, but they’re easily available and keep for ages. They’re perfect to get you on your way to producing your best copy.
Writer’s block is bad enough when you can’t think of what to write on your mom’s birthday card. It’s insufferable when your business depends on your writing.
Copywriter’s block can make writing good copy seem hopeless, but it’s all about having the right tools.
Frameworks are the tools to use if:
There will be times where a framework doesn’t fit or it isn’t helpful. No worries, you’ve got templates to fall back on.
Templates are your go-to if:
Having these tools in your back pocket is the difference between writing killer copy and your keyboard collecting dust. Knowing when to use them is the way to stop staring and start filling that screen with top-notch copy. (The dollar signs you’ll see are also a nice bonus.)
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High-converting direct-response copy for growing B2B companies and disruptive digital brands.