If you’re not acquainted with Social Media Examiner, you’re missing out on a sh*t ton of actionable marketing intel. It was via Michael Stelzner and the SME gang that we were introduced to veteran copywriter Ray Edwards and his PASTOR framework.
PASTOR is intriguing because it challenges the fear-focused messaging that’s been in every copywriter’s toolkit since the dawn of time.
According to Edwards, we’ve had enough of fear— “the wolf at the door,” if you will. Post-pandemic, the wolf is out and the shepherd has taken over, guiding people toward positive decisions rather than chasing them away from poor choices.
Though some of the PASTOR steps may sound familiar, we thought the six-step framework was worth a closer look.
P: Person, problem, pain. First identify your audience and write as if you’re speaking to a single soul. Nothing groundbreaking there. But next, Edwards asks you to envision how this person experiences the problem they’re trying to solve — how it makes them feel. Empathy is the goal here.
For some writers (myself included), delving more deeply into an empathetic mindset may not come naturally. So, this is a fresh idea definitely worth exploring.
A: Amplify and aspire. Now that you know the problem, point out why it’s so troubling. What are the consequences of not solving it? Amplify the pain points, and then give the reader something to aspire to — an alternative solution.
Everyone has aspirations, whether it’s saving time, making more money, working less or owning a kick-ass car. Your job is to help them get there.
S: Story. Here’s where your copywriting explains how to solve the problem. Tell a story that conveys someone else’s struggle with the same challenge and how your solution can help solve it. Make sure they know it’s not a one-off resolution, but rather a system they can count on time and time again.
The concept of storytelling is misleading to some — they read it and think “One upon a time, nobody gave a hoot about how or why I started this business.” Nope, nope, nope. You’re not the hero in this story. Your customer is, helped by the solution you provided.
T: Transformation and testimony. Sell people on the transformation and help them visualize it. Show them how your solution has worked for others. Invite them to imagine a life without their challenge.
Third-party proof points are more powerful than you can ever imagine. Whether that’s a client testimonial or Google review, time spent gathering them is time well spent.
O: Offer. Describe your specific solution. Explain the features, benefits and advantages, continuing to sell the transformation, too. Be honest and focus on the real-world gains, not false claims.
To many marketers, offer = price. And that’s fine if you want to compete on price. But keep in mind that price-conscious buyers may disappear once an “introductory offer” goes away. It’s more effective (and lucrative) to sell on value.
R: Response. What are you asking them to do? Make sure the customer knows how to take action. Tell them how to sign up, make a purchase or subscribe, and remember to keep it simple.
More is not always better here. Popular wisdom used to recommend listing every single way someone could get in touch with you — Local #! 800 #! Email! Website! Postal address! Today, it’s all about knowing the preferences of your audience. A/B test various methods and see what pulls best.
Leading your flock down the funnel
Sixty-four percent of todays’ consumers are looking for brands that connect with their consumers. They want to know you care for them and wish them the best. By implementing the PASTOR framework, and filling in the blanks with your brand’s promise, you’re on your way to creating effective, persuasive copy that converts.
For a deeper dive into the PASTOR framework, check out this podcast.