Poets and copywriters

by Stratton Craig

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Last Thursday was National Poetry Day, a celebration of the enthralling poetry of the past and present. It’s rare that copywriters are instructed to write sonnets for their clients, and the average jingle might struggle to match the work of Ted Hughes or T.S. Eliot. But both poets and copywriters use words to achieve a purpose – to captivate an audience.
In honour of the occasion, we’ve considered some of the most important things that poets do to give their writing the biggest impact. And these tips are just as helpful to copywriters – whether you’re a budding Ogilvy or Shakespeare, read on.
1.      Be clear. Poetry may have a reputation for focusing on the abstract, but the best poets use concrete imagery to get their meaning across. Long, confusing words and sentences are usually avoided unless there is no alternative. In the same way, copywriters need to get their message across immediately – there’s no room for fancy language that doesn’t serve a purpose.
2.      Don’t waste words.Early drafts of T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Wasteland,are almost twice as long as the version that was eventually published. There’s no excuse for modern day wordsmiths including unnecessary words either.
3.      Start strongly.Sticking with The Wasteland, Eliot begins: ‘April is the cruelest month’. It’s an unusual but immediately striking opening line, and it’s drawn a lot of attention – from school children to academics. When you’re writing, think about the effect your opening line will have; is the audience likely to read on or switch off?
There are plenty of different types of writing, and creating copy is very different to writing a poem. But strong, clear writing is almost always superior to that which is passive and convoluted, so consider these tips when you take up the pen or begin typing.
If you would like to find out more about the copywriting services offered by Stratton Craig, please get in touch.

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