The help a friend test is a simple analogy. I have used it before, and so have others.
But this has been the foundation on which I have built every line of copy and content I have written over the past 30 years. It worked when I started out, and it still works now.
Here is the basic approach
Before you write any content or copy for a web page (or for any other medium), imagine the person who will be reading the page is actually sitting in front of you.
Let’s say it’s a friend of yours, and you’re having coffee together.
Your friend has a problem and wants to raise the topic with you because he or she knows you are something of an expert in that area.
So your friend asks you a question. For example, it might be, “Jack, I want to pay more into my retirement fund, but I still have some credit card debt to pay off. Which is more important...adding to my retirement fund or paying off the cards?”
Yes, your friend has a problem and is actively seeking advice and help.