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Why Every Copywriter Should Write Poetry

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Practiced poets have several advantages over other ad writers who have never striven to pen a sonnet or a haiku. What’s this you say? What does the tender, ambiguous world of poetry have to do with the hard-edged, sassy world of ad writing? Plenty, friend.


Concise Structure

Consider first the brief space in which most ads run. Web surfers have short attention spans (at least until they reach their search target). Radio and TV spots have a mere 30 seconds at most. And billboards have only seconds to distract a focused driver as he whizzes past.

Any poet will tell you that poetry is all about concision. You can’t have a slew of extraneous words dancing around your poem. A great poem is a carefully orchestrated dance of carefully selected words. Learn to write good poetry, and you’ll know instinctively how to keep your ad copy short.



This brings us to our second point. The value of every individual word is critical – which is one of the reasons that good poets so carefully consider the connotation of every word. A word is often chosen because it has multiple connotations. Or cast out for the same reason. Though synonyms may have the same literal meaning, every word has a subtle difference, a nuance, that can build a different picture and evoke a different emotion.

You want the same subtle message-building power from your ad copy, don’t you?



The rhythm of language plays a big part in poetry, whether you’re listening to iambic pentameter or free verse, every poem relies on the rhythm of the spoken word to affect tone and emotion.

This same skill can be used to great advantage in ad writing. The right rhythm of language can create a mood that the meaning alone cannot convey.


There’s more too. From rhyme to alliteration, from metaphor to allegory, poetry includes a host of complex and advance writing techniques that can be employed in ad writing to great effect. If you’re an ad writer with no background in poetry, maybe it’s time to grab a night class.


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