Rhythm in writing: how to stamp out stagnant copy

Find out what makes polished writing just oh-so shiny

Image credit: Markus Spiske

by Max Meres

Ever had a song stuck in your head? Unless you’ve been living under a rock since birth, the answer to that will be yes, and you’ll know how annoying it can be. We’ve all spent at least a few hours wrestling with catchy lyrics, trying to rid ourselves from them in desperate attempts to stay sane. Behind every verse, however, lies the same underlying principles — melody or rhyme.

Above all that though, theres the concept of rhythm, be it in poetry, prose or songwriting. Whether you’re hooked on limericks or memorable riffs, it all harks back to that one basic principle.

The same applies in copywriting.

Set a tone

Use brevity for impact

Example 1 — ‘Cufflinks That Look Just Like You’ by Hadley Tomicki

Take this paragraph from Urban Daddy’s article on tailormade cufflinks, and how it emphasises the reader’s convenience with bold assertions. Telling us we can have any song from any point in the history of musical compositions might be a little far-fetched, but the snappy copy drills the point home and makes you think otherwise. If we were in ever doubt of the piece’s overarching principle, repeating the pronoun three times to conclude really helps to hit that sweet spot.

To summarise — concise copy is brisk and engaging. Use it wisely.

Conjure up imagery

Example 2 — Sunglass brand Tens’ ‘About’ section

Luxury shades company Tens know what’s up. Before pointing out what makes them stand out from competitors (the clarity of both sight and colour customers get from their products), they drop in this cheeky metaphor. Not only do Tens sunglasses give anyone who dons them a crystal-clear shot of (hopefully) a summer’s day, the company themselves are painted as progressive, industrious, and most importantly, desirable.

Nonetheless, flowery language can be as appealing as a bucket of cold sick when used in excess, and can even push the reader further from the final goal, be it conversion or click-through. Use symbolism and analogies wisely, though, and you’ll set the scene for a rollercoaster ride of empathy, joy, fervour and whatever else tickles your fancy.

Imagery is the respite between punchy copy. Use it to trigger emotions.

Vary the pace

Tease readers with rhythmic bursts. Lace them in with wordplay suited to both your brand and purpose, until your similes are like those clever hooks and verses they can’t get out of their heads. Good, meaningful content is nothing without flow to bind it all together. Make sure your writing isn’t the sprawling kind that sends readers nodding off — captivate with your copy.

Rhythm is momentum. Let it help the reader from one end of the page to the other.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat

Remember: you control the words.

What rhythmic writing techniques do you find most effective? Share some examples in the comments below.

At Caliber, we use rhythm in writing across our creative campaigns. Why not find out what else we do?

The Smart Organic Marketing agency. Insight-led SEO, Content Marketing & Digital Communications. https://www.caliberi.com/

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