What does PAS Stand for in Copywriting?

By Colin Scotland

What is the PAS Formula?

When it comes to copywriting there are two powerful formulas to help you create great copy that not only grabs the attention of your potential customer but shows them why you are the right person to buy from, therefore calling them into action. 

These two copywriting formulas, used even by the best copywriters, are AIDA and PAS. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. I guide you through this formula in this blog post

In this article, I’ll be focusing on the PAS formula. This framework stands for Problem, Agitate, and Solution. 

The purpose of PAS is to write effective marketing and sales copy by harnessing the power of the problem your reader is experiencing.

The beauty of PAS is using your words to demonstrate a true understanding of their problem, really driving home the pain your potential customer is feeling, then showing them your product or service is the perfect solution. 

People buy on emotion, so by using PAS in copywriting you can directly target the problem. The agitation leads to a desire for a solution, so once you’ve triggered that emotional response you’re more likely to see a conversion from a client or customer. 

How Does The PAS Framework Work?

What’s great about the PAS framework is how simple it is. You may see variations of the formula, with Pain instead of Problem, but essentially these are the same thing. 

PAS can be used across all of your brand marketing and content. From creating content for social media and blogs to digital and traditional advertising. It’s often a popular formula for website copy and email marketing. 

I would also recommend using it in your marketing strategy, so the solution provided by your business radiates through your brand.  

Problem – Identify it

The customer’s problem is what keeps them up at night and what’s driving them to research a solution.

When they read your copy, you want them to relate and connect instantly with a ‘this is me’ or ‘this person understands me’ moment. Identifying the problem or pain they are facing and using this in your copywriting is key to connecting emotionally with your audience. 

Think about it, there isn’t a single product or service out there that doesn’t address and aim to solve some form of problem, no matter how large or small. 

Agitation – Accentuate it

Agitation is the next stage of the sales process and it’s when you really start to get to the heart of the matter. This stage is where you can really show your understanding of their problem.

The strategy here is to clearly point out and help them see a solution is needed. The experience they’re having can be solved if action is taken and by agitating the problem we are creating an even greater desire for the solution. 

Solution – Solve it

The key here is to paint yourselves as the hero in the story, riding in on a white horse to make everything better for your clients or customers. 

This part of the PAS framework is your time to shine and show them how what you have to offer is the solution to their problem.

At this point, the customer should feel ready to address their problem leading to more conversions. 

Here is an example of using PAS for your copywriting

As I did with the AIDA example, here I’ve taken the Mastermind group specifically for helping men live a better life and used the PAS formula to create the framework for the copy. 

Problem: Most men feel lost when it comes to their purpose in life. They know they’re capable of more, but don’t know how to get there. 

Agitate: You’ve not alone. Most men feel deep-rooted uncertainty about the future. How will I provide for my family? Is this all there is for me? The frustration is made worse by feeling like you are stuck in a rut or spinning your tires in the dirt never getting anywhere. It leaves you feeling numb and helpless. 

Solution: It’s not your fault, and it’s OK to ask for help. Mastermind in the answer. Our mission is to empower and equip men in every area of their lives. We provide you with the tools and resources you need to find your purpose and mission and exercise the vision for what you know is truly possible for yourself and your life. You can get off the hamster wheel and have it all in the Mastermind… 

Do you see how I’ve really hit home on the issue this target audience is facing? It’s very personal and direct to my target audience.

Understanding your audience and what their pain is, is what makes this formula so effective. 

How do you select the ‘right’ copywriting formula?

Copywriting can be one of the most daunting aspects of writing for business, but it doesn’t need to be. Look around you and look at the ads, social posts, emails, and content that you like or admire, review them, and see if you can work out which formula they are using. 

There is no guide to tell you exactly when to use which copywriting formula, the best way to choose is to practice them and try them out. 

The formulas won’t tell you the words to write, but they will give you a framework and structure. It also doesn’t matter how long your message is or the medium it will be shared on, digital or print, you can use a formula to help you plan your copy.

Know your audience and your offer

Before you use any formula, make sure you know your audience and have a really clear offer for them. Don’t forget you’re talking to individual people, as you would when you write an email to someone, all your messaging should feel personal to whoever is reading it. 

Once you’ve clearly defined what you’re offering and who you’re offering it to, play around with both AIDA and PAS and see which formula works best. 

Copywriting is more than just the end result, trialing, playing, and tweaking copy is an important part of the process. 

When to use the PAS Formula

The PAS formula is a great tool to use when writing copy for anything, be it email or advert, when you want to evoke an emotional response, this could be feelings of anger and frustration.

If you want to really target the pain of your audience and your offer is the key to making their life better, then PAS is the formula to use. 

Try using PAS in your copywriting

Now you understand how to use PAS in your copywriting, why not give it a go? Next time you write an email or any type of marketing material, think about how the PAS formula could be applied.

Copywriters use this formula all the time, so don’t be shy about harnessing its power!

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the result. 

Email Nurture Sequence Example