Whether you are writing headlines, creating a structure for your content marketing stories, or writing sales copy, the Before-After-Bridge model does well to aid you in the process.
After all, without an interesting headline, copy, or content, what’s going to happen? NOTHING.
Your audience won’t be engaged, they won’t be curious, and they WON’T click on your link.
Obviously, this is bad.
So, recently I thought I’d begin writing about certain “headline” type models for creating interesting headlines and advertisements.
Which is what brings us here today! last week I wrote about the “problem-agitation-solution” model.
This week, I’m writing about the “Before-After-Bridge” model!
So, let’s dive into it!
The Before-After-Bridge Model
This model uses imagery and vision (in terms of the consumer journey) to enforce a buying decision from the consumer.
Think about it, buying decisions are made based on emotions, then justified with logic.
Therefore, imparting the imagery of a better and more prosperous future onto your audience, then providing the action to take them there, is very effective in piquing curiosity and grabbing interest.
After all, every product and service in the world is meant to do one thing and one thing only: Provide some kind of heightened sense of living or self.
There is no product or service out there (that is successful) that doesn’t solve some kind of issue or pain-point in some way.
And here is the catch, by defining the difference between the way your audience lives NOW, and how they could live AFTER your product or service, you are having them envision the benefit of your product or service for themselves.
This means they are also logically justifying it to themselves also!
All of which benefits you and your consumer, as long as your product or service makes good on it’s promise.
The first piece of the puzzle is to describe the life of your consumers BEFORE they engage with your brand.
Preferably you would do this by exclaiming some of the common pain points that your audience suffers from, which can be found with some simple market research.
Ultimately, you want to instigate some negativity in terms of the main issue (the pain point) to ensure that your audience feels willing to take action to resolve that negativity.
All of this should occur at the very beginning. People naturally are more willing to avoid loss than they are to gain equivalent rewards.
This means that beginning with the pain of your consumer base will magnify the amount of perceived value in your offer to resolve their problem.
If you communicate relevant and noticeable “pain points” then your audience will relate to your brand as the resolution to their pain, which is obviously what we want!
You become the “go-to” to alleviate that pain.
The next step is to paint the picture of a better tomorrow in the mind of your audience.
You can do this a few ways, but there are some key consideration to keep in mind.
You want to paint the picture in terms of your audiences success and well-being because, obviously, this is what drives them to action.
In a way similar to my last article regarding Problem-Agitation-Solution, you want the “After” section of this model to be the defined success of your audience through the absence of the pain that you instigated earlier.
Put simply, you define why your audience is hurting, failing, or frustrated, then you present a future where they don’t have to be.
You may define that future in many different ways.
For example, many arthritis commercials begin by instigating the pain that comes with the loss of movement in people’s hands – even displaying imagery of an emotionally distraught person sitting at the park, unable to play catch with their families. (Before)
They then will make a statement regarding that life doesn’t need to be this way, and show imagery of a person with no arthritic symptoms happily engaging in such activities. (After)
They will then describe their product and what it does to cause this transition. (Bridge)
These marketers use imagery and the internal desire for betterment to offer a “bridge” between the before and after.
Which brings us to the last point.
Perhaps the simplest and most self-explanatory part of this process is the bridge.
The bridge is, in essence, your product or service that makes the promise to help people “bridge” the gap between their current struggles and their future victories.
You do this by relating the solution to the problem to your brand, product, or service.
For example: Content creation takes too long, but imagine turning one piece of content into FIVE! And saving time in the process! Here’s how!
This is an example of a simple headline that works to create interest.
You describe the “before” (the pain), the “after” (the desired future), and give your audience an actionable step to take to resolve their issues by engaging with your content (the bridge).
Although people nowadays are becoming more sensitive to marketing messages, the tips above can help you catch the interest of those who are best suited to your brand anyways.
This occurs because no person will engage with content that doesn’t instigate their specific problems or paint the picture of their desired livelihood.
This model has an amazing ability to really niche an audience in a short time.
Just be careful by making sure that the “before” that you represent to your audience is truly indicative of their issues, otherwise you run the risk of presenting content that resolves an issue that they don’t have.
Also be sure that you know the desired future of your audience.
It’s easy to assume that their desired future is “one that lacks the problem” but this does little to define the imagery and emotional capacity that people may have when resolving the issue they want to resolve.
For example, I would feel no willingness to engage with an arthritis commercial that didn’t paint a decent picture of the beneficial future I might experience or a future in which I had no intention of living.
Imagery works when it elicits the audience’s imagination. I may not relate to playing better football with no arthritis, but I MAY relate to playing the guitar. This is why it’s more important to get your audience to think, instead of merely stating that this future WILL be.
Ultimately, the “Before-After-Bridge” is a great model that does well to create the structure of a story, sales copy, and headlines for content marketing purposes.
Thanks for reading!
Work With Austin
-Austin Denison is a management consultant and coach from Southern California and founder/CEO of Denison Success Systems LLC. He is the author of The Essential Change Management Guidebook: Master The Art of Organizational Change as well as The Potential Dichotomy: The Philosophy of a Fulfilling Life, and, the Best-Selling book, KICK*SS Content Marketing, How to Boost Your Brand and Gather a Following.