The No.1 Formula For Writing Powerful and Persuasive Copy

Picture a caveman trying to swindle another caveman out of his sabertooth overcoat.
How does he do it? First, he grunts. Then he shunts. And then (probably) he blunts.

Since the beginning of time, humans have always adopted the language of sales. 
One person has always tried to persuade another to do something. 

But these days, technology has advanced and behaviour has evolved. You no longer fight, you write. 

You rely on the power of words – both written and spoken – to reach any kind of transaction. And every day you're using emails, websites and social media to engage with your audience, and encourage them to take action.

But how do you ensure your words always hit the mark? You can't.

But structure is a surefire way to help. Because having a starting point or framework to build from gears your message for greater impact.

So, when it comes to choosing a secret weapon copywriting formula, the sky's the limit. There is an overload of choices, and everyone has their own so-called silver bullet. But there's one formula I tend to lean on more than the others.  

Why? It’s stupid-simple. It’s easy to remember. And it covers all your must-haves for any kind of content – from sales pages to social media captions to shopping lists.

Oh, what’s its name? The 4 Ps

Copywriting Formula: The 4 Ps

  1. Promise

  2. Picture

  3. Proof

  4. Push


How does it work? 

Promise > Picture > Proof > Push

Think of this a little like you're telling a joke. You need to build up to the climax to earn the laugh. I mean, would you ever tell a joke by opening with the punchline? Sure. You could. But you wouldn't. Because it's not effective.

And the same goes for copywriting that lacks good structure.

  1. Promise

To get their attention, you start with a big promise.

Think of what your audience wants, and speak directly to that desire.

Of course, it takes research to discover what they want, so you can be crystal-clear about the kind of reader you're trying to reach.

And please, don't make promises you can't keep. (That’s a basic rule.)

For example; ‘Learn to write compelling copy that drives your clients to click.’ Does that sound like a genuine promise? Great. You’re learning fast. 

  1. Picture

Now it's time to paint the picture. 

Describe what your audience's world will look like after you deliver your promise. 

Highlight how your solution provides the perfect answer to what they want. Be vivid. Be specific. It’s your duty to make this picture wildly irresistible. 

The key here is also understanding what the ideal world looks like for your audience and speaking directly to that desire.

Following on from my example above; ‘Your clients that click become clients that stick.’ (Imagine that, huh?)

  1. Proof

You've made your promise. You've painted the picture. And it's now time to back that up with proof. 

Who else has already seen you keep your promise? And when? And how? That’s the information you want to be sharing here. 

People call bullshit. So support your claims with real results to challenge any of those sceptics. Use case studies, statistics, testimonials and reviews to bridge any shrewd of doubt. 

“There's a reason businesses create case studies about the successes their customers have had using their product: It's a vote of confidence in the product's value. All kinds of testimonials can have the same impact. Whether it's a customer review on the business's website, a review on a third-party website, a star-based rating, or a full-blown case study, this content creates positive feedback from actual users.” – Hubspot

Remember — asking people to accept your promise without proof is an easy way for your writing to fail. And also, you'll seem like a charlatan. (Don't you just love that word... charlatan... it does things to me.)

  1. Push

Your audience has come this far, it’s time to direct them to take action.

Sure push sounds a tad aggressive as a name for this step, but it isn’t. Because there's an understanding that you’re going to seek an outcome from this conversation. 

So, what's the next step you want them to take? Tell them. Make it clear. Don’t assume they know.

Because any hesitation can lead to confusion. And a confused mind always says no. 

Also, never ask your audience to do more than one thing. You’d think providing multiple options gives your them free choice — it only overcrowds them from making a single one. 

Now, be sure to relate your call to action back to the ideal world you painted earlier, reinforcing that you offer the pathway to what they want. 

Example; 'For more daily tips on crafting copy that converts, follow me on Instagram here.'

Remember — if you don't ask, you don't get. 

OK, Let’s Recap The 4 Ps 

  •  Make your promise
  •  Paint the picture
  •  Support with proof
  •  The final push


There you have it. A helpful little formula to get you started on your own copywriting journey. Or perhaps a reminder of some cracking writing tips you’ve known along. Of course, if it all still sounds too hard, you can always outsource your words. I might know a guy.

A creative copywriter saying a big hello to you.