Introducing the A*I*D*A Formula for Blogging

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

It’s an advertising formula from way back, and as Tom Chandler points out, it’s the copywriter’s best friend. But what about bloggers?

While some traditional marketers dismiss the AIDA formula as antiquated, I’d say it’s an ideal way of structuring a blog post when you want the reader to take some form of action.

Let’s take a look at each element from a blogging perspective:

Attention

What’s the beneficial promise your post title has made to the reader? Is it compelling, or easily dismissible? Is it there at all?

Remember, it’s quicker and easier for a prospective reader to pass you by than to focus on your writing. And people love quick and easy.

Interest

Keep the momentum going with your opening, and deliver on the promise you made to catch their attention, or they’ll not only leave, they may never come back.

Desire

In blogging, creating desire all depends on your goal for the post. Is it to drive the reader to a sales landing page? Subscribe to your blog? Call you? Comment?

Tell a story that causes something to stir within the reader. Make them want to take…

Action

Creating a desire for action is not enough. You’ve got to expressly ask or tell the reader what to do next, and also make the call to action as compelling as possible, in order to achieve optimal response.

Don’t Forget That Tricky Engagement.

In the post I cited above, Tom adds the perfect blogging element to the traditional AIDA formula:

I’d suggest it’s time to tack an “E” onto AIDA. What’s the E? Engagement.

You work hard to sell a widget. Why not leverage that work to sell a lifetime of widgets? The mechanism would vary. Perhaps your call to action (or the fulfillment) includes a visit to your client’s blog.

I understand completely where Tom is coming from here, and yet I think that the new paradigm for online marketing requires some level of engagement first. The frame through which anyone views an offer or call to action will depend in many cases on the level of existing engagement that person already has with you.

It’s a low trust marketing world. The promise of big profits through great blogging is all about putting the relationship before the sale.

And as with all relationships, the only thing tougher than getting one started is keeping it going for the long haul. But ultimately that’s where all the value is.

P.S. Check out the comment section of Tom’s post. He and Michael Stelzner lament the lack of comments on such a great piece (which of course it is). All I can say is… Tom, where’s your comment call to action? ;)

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Comments

  1. Hey Brian;

    You could post, “The sky is blue” and you would have 6 comments in 30 minutes. :)

    I have learned that the trick to comments is to ask for them. (And of course have readers that are not autobots!)

    All my best!

    Mike

  2. You could post, “The sky is blue” and you would have 6 comments in 30 minutes.

    That’s not true. :)

    There was a time when I had no comments, but I do admit that once things get to a certain point, it becomes easier. Until then, prompt comments and then jump in there and interact!

  3. It certainly helps to have a loyal following. You earned it. I often wonder what percentage of my daily visitors are spammers.

    And to your comment, “It’s a low trust marketing world. The promise of big profits through great blogging is all about putting the relationship before the sale.”

    I could not agree more.

    A great way to establish trust it give some of your talent away.

    This is where blogs shine.

    Keep up the good work.

    Mike

  4. I’m going to go ahead and repeat over here what I said over at The Copywriter Underground.

    Funnily enough, I actually feel encouraged by your discussion on commenting. It means I’m not alone in keeping a worried eye on the comments. I only started in December, I know, but I am trying to follow just about every piece of advice. And not a peep from anyone.

    Your advice has been a source of help here at Copyblogger, and I do appreciate that. Thank you.

  5. E for engagement is the biggest strength of blogging, and every strain of the AIDA model, as far as blogging is concerned, should lead to “E” because once you engage them, on an ongoing basis, you get them hooked, and once you get them hooked, unless you do something really bad, they don’t go away.

  6. I think much of the “E” come when there is really a conversation of comments – and the blog author replies to the commenter (and prompts with further questions)

    I think if you write in a way that you are expecting some comments, you will probably get some ;)

  7. I think if you write in a way that you are expecting some comments, you will probably get some.

    Kian, I totally agree…this is how you engage the reader. You give your opinion, and then you ask your reader’s opinion. Basically, everybody likes giving an opinion. And also, praise your readers genuinely, wholeheartedly, if they really contribute to the discussion.

  8. Put that coffee down!! Coffee’s for closers only.

  9. Put that coffee down!! Coffee’s for closers only.

    Finally… someone made the “Glengarry Glen Ross” connection. ;)

  10. Prompt for comments eh?…

  11. The formula has been talked about by many known copywriters (Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert, Jay Abraham, etc) and it surely works.

    It’s great that you brought it up to the SEOs and SEMs attention.

  12. Good stuff. Basics are always good. Great to be reminded. The military has a corollary that might be applicable to blogging/bloggers – OADA – which stands for;

    Observe
    Analyze
    Decide
    Act

    Is this not what you essentially do when you decide to write/post? Especially as a business writer? By the way – having had to present to a group of writers a little while ago – I had a great time hearing B&M’s (bitches and moans) many valid – some not. So I used it in a follow-up presentation . It’s called “A Writer’s Job is Tough … Depending on Your Perspective” http://skbigm.googlepages.com/jobs

  13. Brian;

    Thanks for the link love. And you asked where the call to action was in my original post.

    It’s right there at the end: “In the meantime, use AIDA…” 8-)

    Though slavish attention to any formula is the best way to dig yourself a rut, AIDA’s been around forever, yet it’s flexible enough to offer a *lot* of room to maneuver.

    As for engagement, Engagement Marketing is fast gaining the attention of the marketing world. Given the rise of conversation-ready Web technology, it’s hardly surprising.

    Still, be careful how the term gets tossed about; its current definition revolves around the idea of engaging with the passions and values of customers in the spaces *around* a product or brand.

    A fly fishing manufacturer might connect with readers on the basis of a shared love for the sport instead of the technology of the product.

    It’s a recipe for lifelong engagement – one that escapes the confines of a product arms race, where customer loyalty lasts no longer than the introduction of your competitor’s Next NewestThing.

    I cover this topic in my somewhat-neglected third blog (it turns out three blogs are .5 too many, but I press on): http://engagementprinciples.com

    Good writing everyone.

  14. Call to action for comments! Just having a little fun, Tom. :)

    Still, be careful how the term gets tossed about; its current definition revolves around the idea of engaging with the passions and values of customers in the spaces *around* a product or brand.

    Agreed, and that’s a big part of what blogs are for. I think you actually say that once or twice on Engagement Principles.

  15. It’s simply having something to say in the first place. And you can’t formulate that into a style.

  16. What you say is indeed the most important thing. But how you say it–both in terms of word choice and structure–is important as well for maximum effectiveness.

    That’s the essence of copywriting.

  17. Thanks for the tips. I’ll start using that on my IM blog.

  18. Interesting information. I am a copywriter for a real estate/mortgage/financial company who has recently started a blog on the industry. There’s a lot of good information and articles on here that will surely help with my writings in the future. Thanks; and don’t forget to check out my blog and comment.

  19. Hey brain, thanks again for showing us the nuts and bolts of what you do so easily:)

    PS: I’m enjoying the comments too, it’s like going to starbucks, without the coffee!

  20. Thanks for those wonderful tips.
    I think that even if things have changed a lot recently these tips can be treated as basics for your blog and according to the current trends you can add some flavor to the curry.

  21. Thanks for the tips !

  22. As a starting blogger, I am coming to terms with fully embracing the AIDA concept. Having studied management, I can see how theory differs from practicality in the online sub-world. With the amount of content available and auto-didactic (by force) online users nowadays, people have learnt to quickly discard what’s good from bad, and a simple 5 second scroll of one’s website is enough to spark the AI of AIDA.

    Another acronym, KISS, springs to mind when trying to target your online audience.

    Enjoyed the read.

    All the best

    Rogelio