Before I ever wrote a line of advertising copy, I honed my writing skills as a poet. As it turns out, that’s not a bad way to get your start. Poetry can teach a writer a great deal about the power of language. While this is a potentially endless topic, let’s focus on three key ideas.
Unlike prose, poetry is a concentrated form of language, placing a higher value on each word. A poet learns to challenge every word choice. If prose is a mocha latte, poetry is a shot of espresso. Every sip needs to pack an emotional punch.
That leads us directly into the connotation of the words you use. In poetry, you carefully weigh the connotation of each word choice, so that the flavor of your meaning and message is just so. This is sometimes the most difficult concept to convey to non-writers. These connotations are often not adequately distinguished in the dictionary, and it’s what makes writing an art and not a science.
A line, whether in a poem or an online banner, should flow smoothly off the tongue. The rhythm of language can make a message a delight to read, while a halting, awkward pacing can cause the reader to become disconcerted and even confused.
If you want to get in touch with your inner poet, that one you left behind in high school, visit https://www.poets.org/ for a free fix. But whether or not you’re sold on the soul-affirming merits of good poetry, you’ll most likely appreciate having a poet pen your advertising.