In 1898, Elias St. Elmo Lewis, an eventual inductee of the Advertising Hall of Fame, anonymously wrote a column about three advertising principles he found useful throughout his career in a printing magazine called The Inland Printer, one of the most influential American magazines of the 19th century.
In his column, he states that a successful advertisement should always follow a specific formula.
“The mission of an advertisement is to attract a reader, so that he will look at the advertisement and start to read it; then to interest him, so that he will continue to read it; then to convince him, so that when he has read it he will believe it. If an advertisement contains these three qualities of success, it is a successful advertisement.”
In other words, copy is only good if it attracts attention, generates interest, and creates conviction, in that order.
Over a century later, Lewis’ principles still ring true. They’re expressed as an acronym, AIDA, and widely used in the advertising industry. In the digital age, brands have even based their entire marketing strategy on the AIDA model.
Before we cover how you can apply the AIDA model to your own content marketing strategy, let’s go over what it is and why it works.
The AIDA Model
The AIDA model describes the four stages a consumer goes through before making a purchasing decision. The stages are Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action (AIDA). During these four stages, your content will ideally attract attention to your brand, generate interest in your product or service, stimulate a desire for it, and spur action to try or buy it.