Activate Your Community With Problem, Agitation, Solution Models of Messaging
There are nearly infinite ways to convey a message. However, if you want to do so effectively, you need to use emotion.
Humans love emotion, and it’s the easiest and strongest way to connect with people. Whether you’re writing copy, giving a speech, or fundraising for a cause, emotion is the key to powerful communication.
Fortunately, copywriters have developed a practical and easy-to-follow formula for connecting with your audience on a personal level. They call it Problem, Agitation, Solution, or PAS.
What is PAS?
The PAS formula is a guideline anyone can use to convey a message effectively. It helps you format your writing in a way that sticks with your audience. Your reader should walk away knowing exactly what their problem is and exactly how to solve it.
There are three steps to PAS, each of which employs emotion to drive the core message home:
- Identify a problem.
- Agitate the problem.
- Reveal a solution.
The focus of PAS is straightforward communication. Each step guides your audience towards the conclusion you want them to reach, which is that your solution is their best option. With three simple steps, you can create a powerful message that will resonate with your audience.
Identify a Problem.
The first step is to identify the problem. You should know what issue your solution will address and how it’s affecting your audience. Show them that you understand and relate to their situation, and do so in a way that demonstrates your authority on the matter.
The key here is to find a balance between relating to your readers and becoming a trusted authority. Let your audience know they can believe you and your advice in a way that doesn’t sound condescending or disconnected.
To do so, you need to know who your audience is and what questions they will have. Make sure you are using the right tone and language for your readers, and answer any questions they may have before they have a chance to ask.
Whether you have two sentences or two pages to identify your problem, by the end, your audience should feel seen, heard, and understood. To provide a solution, your readers have to know that you know what it’s like to experience the problem.
Agitate the Problem.
Next, you need to stir things up. You’ve demonstrated that you know how your audience feels. Now, you need to drive home why they need a solution. There are a few different ways to do this, so make sure you choose the most effective method for your audience.
- Share the pain they might experience if the problem isn’t resolved.
- Show how the issue will get worse.
- Use stories or anecdotes to dramatize the problem.
- Use real-world examples for poignancy.
No matter how you go about it, your goal is to use emotion and instill a sense of urgency in your audience. They should feel like they need a solution now and that you are the one to provide it.
Make sure you don’t go overboard with the agitation. You want to demonstrate precisely why they need a solution, not make them feel miserable about the problem.
Don’t exacerbate the problem. Guide them towards your solution.
Reveal the Solution.
Finally, you can reveal the solution. Let the audience know that you have the answer to their problem, and you can help them. By this point, they should trust your authority and, thus, trust your solution.
Demonstrate how your solution works and talk about specific benefits. If possible, it’s helpful to quickly and effectively address common concerns, but don’t spend too much time on them.
Provide evidence that supports your solution. A great example is testimonials, quotes, and real-world applications. You want to show that your solution is realistic and achievable. All your audience has to do is apply it, and they can solve their problem.
Include your call-to-action here as well. At the end of your message, give your readers a way to apply the solution directly. Whether they are directed to visit your website, buy your product, or sign a petition, your readers will feel more satisfied with specific instructions.
The PAS method is straightforward and effective. By connecting with your audience on an emotional level, you’re demonstrating a shared understanding of the issue and showing that you are a trusted resource on the subject.
After addressing and agitating the problem, your readers will be ready for a solution. They’ll be more likely to take your message to heart and complete a call-to-action. If you’re looking for a way to engage your audience effectively, use the Problem, Agitation, Solution model.