The Star-Story-Solution Copywriting Formula for Sales Success

The star-story-solution formula is an incredibly effective technique for sales and lead generation. In fact it’s so effective that, once you know it, you’ll recognize it everywhere. Here’s a guide to using the star-story-solution formula for high-converting copy. 

What is the Star-Story-Solution Formula?

The star-story-solution formula introduces a compelling character, grabs the reader with a dramatic story, and then introduces the solution. It’s similar to the star-chain-hook formula, but where the star-chain-hook formula uses more facts and information, the star-story-solution formula relies on emotional engagement and storytelling. Here are the components of the technique

The Star

The star in this technique is your lead character. They should be interesting, relatable, and charismatic. While the star needs to be engaging enough to grab the reader’s interest, they need to remain relatable. In other words, the star should be facing the same problems and challenges as the reader.  

Examples of The Star:

  • “I’m ______. I was once stuck in a dead-end job, with no idea how to get ahead.”
  • “This person used to spend hours every day on simple cleaning tasks.”
  • “Twenty years ago, I was facing the biggest challenge of my life. 

The Story

The story is the character’s journey, describing how they reached the moment when their troubles seemed greatest. The story deepens the reader’s emotional engagement and their empathy for the character, but should only be as long and contain as much detail as necessary to achieve this engagement. You don’t need to provide an entire biography: just round out the character’s story and bring them to the turning point. 

Examples of The Story:

  • “I had a decent job, but with three kids, a mortgage, and a car payment, I still couldn’t make ends meet.”
  • “They tried product after product, and used all the latest techniques, but things still got worse.”
  •  “I visited doctors, took medications, went to spas, and even had surgery, but something was still wrong.”

The Solution

The solution is, naturally, the product you are selling. Introducing the solution should feel like a breakthrough or epiphany. It’s a turning point in the character’s life, bringing them from the low point of their problem into the new light of the solution. 

Examples of The Solution:

  • “Then I tried ______, and suddenly everything changed.”
  • “Finally, I learned about ______, and realized how to solve my problem.”
    “It wasn’t until I used _______ that I found something that worked.”

How to Use the Star-Story-Solution Formula

The star-story-solution formula doesn’t build tension or drama over time. It starts at the moments of greatest tension, emotion, or drama, and adds detail as necessary. Every step in the formula is introduced at the apex of a transformation. For example:

I’m Billy, and I used to be homeless. I was sleeping under a bridge in my city, asking strangers for spare change and eating in a soup kitchen.

Even though I had a college degree, I couldn’t find a job and couldn’t even afford to buy bread. With my student loans, child support payments, and health care expenses, I had negative net worth and couldn’t see a way out. 

Then I spotted an ad in the newspaper about, and everything changed. Even with no money and no experience, I was able to find a job right away. I earned a good paycheck, got an apartment, and started paying off my debts. Today, I’m a rich and successful person.


The star-story-solution formula is a time-tested copywriting strategy that goes back to the very beginnings of advertising.

Introducing a charismatic, relatable character who shares the reader’s problems, and then solves those problems using the product, is a great way to trigger interest, engage the emotions, and create compelling copy that increases leads and sales. It’s a formula that every copywriter should know in order to increase sales and revenue. 

If you’re interested in this copywriting formula you may want to check out our post ‘A Copywriter’s Guide to the Best Copywriting Formulas’ which contains an extensive list of all the best formulas.


When to use the star-story-solution formula?

The star-story-solution is a great copywriting formula to use when you have a founder-driven brand, a charismatic central character, and an informational product or service. It relies on drama and emotion to create a compelling story, rather than relying on facts and data to drive purchase decisions. If you want to tell an emotional sales story but don’t have a compelling character, the AIDA formula is a great alternative.

Photo of author

About Rebekah Villon

Rebekah Villon is a professional writer and marketing consultant who specialises in strategic content for B2B communications. In her personal life, she enjoys the freedom of remote digital work while travelling, pursuing hobbies, and continuous learning.

Leave a Comment