3 min read

4 Poetic Devices That Can Improve Marketing Copy

4 Poetic Devices That Can Improve Marketing Copy

Trying to freshen up your marketing copy? You may want to borrow a few things from poetry. OK, if you’re a professional copywriter, now’s your chance to roll your eyes — no one would blame you. After all, the two forms seem so unrelated, more like step siblings than blood relatives. However, they have more in common than you might think. 

In the wide world of writing, different forms serve various purposes. Some types of writing are purely informative; others only entertain. In contrast, both poetry and copywriting are designed to inspire their readers (albeit to different ends). Poetry can spark a feeling or illuminate a truth; copywriting can incite action or spur movement. Both are catalysts. 

Any writer knows that marketing copy is a different kind of beast. Regardless of talent, not all writers are cut out to be copywriters, and poets are arguably less cut out than most. However, by borrowing certain poetic devices, copywriters can craft incisive, even incendiary, marketing copy. Keep reading to learn how. 

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1. Conceit, the Expert Metaphor

If you’re unfamiliar with this term, rest assured it has nothing to do with your vanity. Conceit is a literary device commonly found in poetry, and it is the comparison of two vastly different things through simile and metaphor. In comparing dissimilar things, conceit is more unconventional, intellectual and surprising than your run-of-the-mill metaphor. 

To illustrate the difference, consider this metaphor: “My tired brain is a short-circuiting computer.” In this metaphor, the comparison between brain and computer is expected; both process data, solve equations, etc. In contrast, consider this comparison: “My brain is an electronics store, slinging memory and pixelated entertainment.” This is an example of conceit, and it takes comparison to a whole new level. 

If you’re a copywriter, this tool can come in really handy, especially when you’re tasked with making a hard sell. For example, if you’re writing a marketing email for a bathroom fixture manufacturer, an ordinary toilet metaphor isn’t going to serve you well. You’ll need to get creative with your comparisons and transcend the lateral metaphor if you want to convince the reader that a toilet represents more than an excrement bowl. 

2. Metonymy & Synecdoche

Marketing copy needs to be quippy, relevant and speak to a brand’s cultural fluency. Metonymy and synecdoche are two devices that can help you accomplish this, and you probably already use them. Metonymy refers to using one thing to describe something related to it, like a stand-in of sorts. An example would be using “White House” to represent an American administration. 

With a lot of marketing copy, brevity is key; your reader’s attention is pitifully fractured. That means you need to get your message across as succinctly and quickly as possible. Metonymy can be particularly helpful in that it allows writers to make single words or phrases more powerful, meaningful and concise. 

Synecdoche, on the other hand, refers to using part of something to represent the whole, like saying “threads” when you’re referring to clothing. Synecdoche is essentially a type of slang, and depending on the brand and client, you might need to employ it from time to time. 

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3. Euphony & Cacophony

Poetry uses many sound devices, including euphony and cacophony, to create certain pleasing or displeasing effects. Wondering what this has to do with copywriting? Research suggests that more than 80 percent of people hear an internal voice narrating as they read. That means that your copy needs to do more than look good — it needs to sound good, too. 

Euphony refers to words or sentences that flow smoothly and pleasantly, and, conversely, cacophony refers to words that have an unpleasant sound. Although this may seem highly subjective, most writers have an innate understanding that the word “euphony” sounds more pleasing than the word “cacophony.” 

Generally speaking, cacophonous words involve harsh consonants or hissing sounds, whereas euphonious words use muted or muffled sounds. As a copywriter, you can use this to your advantage in myriad ways, to accentuate, repel, tempt and more. 

4. Rhythm, a Patterned Delivery

When most people think of rhythm in poetry, they think of meter and stanza, syllables, stressed and unstressed beats. If the thought of iambic pentameter puts you on the verge of a panic attack, don’t worry — there is no place for sonnets in copywriting. However, rhythmic patterns belong in all types of writing, and all writers use them (whether cognizantly or not). 

In poetry, rhythm refers to a regularity involving movement, pattern and repetition; meter is just one way to organize it. Although useful when writing poetry, writing an entire blog in meter would be the behavior of a mad man. Luckily, copywriters can employ rhythm without taking on the antics of a dark comedy. 

To assess your copy’s rhythm, here’s what you need to do: read it outloud. That’s it. Before you submit anything, read it outloud. Research suggests that people read words in the same rhythm they would speak them, seeking out patterned deliveries. In doing this, you’ll immediately become aware of spots that end abruptly, drag on forever or feel too crowded. 

Regardless of what you’re writing, you can benefit tremendously from learning about disparate forms and adjacent genres. If you want to improve your marketing copy, it isn’t enough to study other copywriters and their strategies; you need to explore forms that stretch your horizons and alter your vision. For many copywriters, that form is poetry. 


A brand is only as stellar as the content that describes it. Ready to let the world know how great you are? Hire a Writer can make it happen. Visit us online to explore our content services.

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