by Steve Kellas
“No one can tell me,
Where the wind comes from,
Where the wind goes.”
~ from “Wind on the Hill” by A. A. Milne
For many copywriters and business people, poetry is associated with one of two things: ‘boring’ stuff they had to read at school or arty-types that have little or nothing to do with business.
Sales and marketing – we think – are too ‘every-day’ for anything poetry has to offer. Being creative is the last thing on our minds when facing writing the 57th page of a website, or re-writing that proposal introduction for the 4th time.
Yet all reading, whether it’s the latest best-selling biography or Shakespeare, provides us with the vocabulary, structure and inspiration to improve our writing.
If you haven’t read poems for a while, you are missing out on a fantastic way to get out of the writing doldrums and into an inspired frame of mind.
Improve your writing skills
Poetry’s rhythm, structure and creative language are known to improve creative writing skills. And it is precisely these three aspects that will improve our copywriting, especially in creating and maintaining an emotional connection with our readers.
I’ve written before about how we can use artistic flourishes in our copywriting to keep the reader’s attention and inspire an emotional connection. Varied sentence structure, cadence, interesting rhyming techniques and other creative writing methods are actually a good thing to use in copywriting.
They make your writing less robotic ‘sounding’ and more interesting to read. As a copywriter, using creative writing techniques will help keep you engaged and inspired.
When you’re engaged as a copywriter, you can be pretty sure your output is going to be more interesting and inspiring too.
How to find a good poem
Finding inspiring poems doesn’t have to be a lot of work. You could dip into any of the hundreds of volumes of classic poetry in your local library or bookstore. You could download them to your favourite e-reader or borrow a well-love tome from a friend.
One source I recently discovered is the Poetry Foundation. This excellent website features thousands of poets and poems from around the world, complete with a poem of the day. It allows you discover poetry that you didn’t even know existed and to tap into a large world of creativity and inspiration.
Read a few pieces that you know, or in a theme you like and then start expanding your enjoyment of different structures and topics.
It only takes a few minutes to enjoy a great poem before you come back to your work with inspired confidence.
Reading poems for copywriting
When you find a poem, or a poet, that inspires you, you’ll know it because you will feel something. Use those emotions to inspire your writing.
Notice the structure of the poem. A lot of the power of poetry comes from its structure. Modern poems move away from a rigid structure and use deliberate structural elements to create meaning.
Can you do the same with copywriting?
Yes, you can.
Notice the beats and rhythms of your favourite poem. Tap them out to yourself and find the creative language linkages throughout the text. Can you work cadence into your copywriting, or some alliteration and rhyme?
I know you can.
I hope you take ten minutes today to find a poem that inspires you. It really will change your copywriting for the better.
And who knows, perhaps you’ll discover a new outlet for your creativity too.