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Using pain points in wellness copywriting

Pain points in copywriting image

Copywriters are taught that a great way to identify with potential clients is to identify their pain points.  These are issues, problems or concerns specific to the group that you want to attract. 

In fact, there’s a style of writing named just for this ‘PAS’ – Pain, Agitate, Solve.

Traditional ‘PAS’ works like this: 
You identify their pain, give the pain a push (agitate) and then offer the solution to their pain.  Bingo.  You’ve made a connection with the problem of your client, made the problem big in their mind, and then given the solution (which usually involves selling your service or product). 

But in health and wellness we may need to modify this pain-based sales formula.  Something that generic marketing or copy writers may not appreciate. 

You see, focusing on the pain point goes against what years of health psychology and health promotion tells us works. 


Fear-based messaging consistently fails to change health behaviours. 


What happens when you are faced with a pain-based statement? Many people turn away (denial) and go elsewhere. The pain, the problem are too confrontational. 

This is how I tweaked PAS to make it work for health and wellness businesses.

​1. Turn off the negative

We know that brow-beating people with worst-case scenarios doesn’t necessarily work in health and wellness. Think of old-style medical/health messages

  • Don’t smoke, it’ll kill you
  • Don’t be overweight, you’ll have a heart attack and get type 2 diabetes
  • Exercise every day or get fat

This negative spin on pain points doesn’t attract people, it turns them off.  It makes them less likely to read further.  Especially pain points that are around lifestyle choices.  

​1. Turn off the negative

We know that brow-beating people with worst-case scenarios doesn’t necessarily work in health and wellness. Think of old-style medical/health messages

  • Don’t smoke, it’ll kill you
  • Don’t be overweight, you’ll have a heart attack and get type 2 diabetes
  • Exercise every day or get fat

This negative spin on pain points doesn’t attract people, it turns them off.  It makes them less likely to read further.  Especially pain points that are around lifestyle choices.  

One thing I see time and time again on websites is a list of "Is this you ... You feel tired all the time, you feel bloated when you eat ..." A long list of negatives. STOP. You may think you're talking to what your ideal client is looking for but you're actually sitting them in front of a mirror expecting them to take a long-hard look. It's too much, too soon!

Turn off the negative-speak.

​2. Turn on the positive

Putting a positive spin on the pain issue your client is experiencing can show them a positive future. A picture of what life could be like, identifies benefits up front of what being without that pain could be like. 

Here’re some examples that I’ve taken from actual blog headlines and added a positive-spin to. 

  • Pain point is kids going to bed late
  • Negative: Is your child going to bed too late?
  • Positive: Bath, books and bed: How to make bedtime a dream


  • Pain point is being overweight
  • Negative: What to do when you stop dieting and it backfires?
  • Positive: How to stop dieting - and keep losing weight


  • Pain point is exercise in bad weather
  • Negative: You never regret a workout
  • Positive: Enjoy every work out, in all seasons

Focus on positive pain points

Turning things around and presenting a positive version of your negative issue to your clients will help you show them that you know their pain, that it’s not a biggie for you as you’ve got the experience and skills to turn it around for them, and the fact that you’ve put it in a positive note means you’ve seen this happen. 

So, go on.  Give it a go and try it yourself!  You can use this with blogs, newsletter headlines, email headers and web content.  

Creating a clear brand message is a great way to help you focus on the positive! Download my free brand message toolkit and create your own clear message today