Copywriting and Poetry

I wanted to write a bit about how I think copy and poetry are similar and why reading (and enjoying) poetry is great for copywriters.

Putting artistic concerns aside, poetry is all about capturing the essence of something in words. Personally, I’m a big fan of Romantic Era poetry, but later writers such as Thomas Hardy and Robert Frost (unsurprisingly) make my list of favorites, too.

The most important part of poetry, to me, is not the consonance, but the accurate representation of something. Of course, being creative with it is always better.

What makes copywriting more poetic than most people realize is that you aren’t simply stating the facts about products – you have to say the right things in the right way. There’s a lot of psychology involved.

The biggest challenge (and what makes copywriting an art) is that there’s no set of rules to follow in writing an effective and meaningful piece of copy. There’s no formula. You have to think critically and write creatively.

A catchy, interesting piece of copy – something that makes customer smile – is worth a lot. This is especially challenging when you have to write longer pieces, but using more interesting language can help keep people engaged even through several pages of information.

As a child, believe it or not, I used to recite commercials and advertisements. I’m not saying I was born to write copy, but it’s always been an interest of mine. I see advertisements – good ones, anyway – as a form of entertainment. If it grips you and it’s enjoyable, it can make your day a little better (especially if it’s getting you more customers).

They may not recognize copywriter laureates, and I certainly don’t think of copy as being on the same plane of artistic value as poetry, but the simple truth is that copy can be difficult to put together and powerful when it’s done right.