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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’ve summarized one of the most important (and actionable) ideas below…

Basically, great 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.

Sha-BAM:

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.


This post was first sent in a Stew’s Letter, a weekly-ish email for ambitious, curious people. You can join below:

(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)

One reply on “The AIDA Formula: The Simplest Way To Write Persuasive Stuff”

I guess it is too difficult to bring people from the attention stage to the action stage(In the above example it’s 2%).It looks just like an online advertisement(this has similar steps in my opinion)

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