The Heartbeat of Your Copy?

6 replies
Most of our hearts go - Da Dum, Da Dum, Da Dum, Da Dum, Da Dum...

And it's a beat and rhythm that as long as we're above ground - is working very well.

Soothing to know.


In poetry it's very similar to an Iambic Pentameter (other verse forms are available...).

Tech notes - (more to help me get a grasp - to my surprise I've recently been nibbled by the poetry bug).

Iamb - is a metrical foot of poetry consisting of two syllables - an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (like Da Dum).

Pentameter - a line of verse with five (Penta) metrical feet.

So, 10 syllables on the line (although it doesn't have to be restricted to 10).


It's said to be the foundation of much of the most read Poetry (Chaucer to Milton, Wordsworth, Tennyson, T. S. Eliot, and so many more...)


Robert Frost's poems were mainly written in this style.

"The Road Not Taken" is one of the best examples.

Now, regardless of the content - which is always subjective.

You'll notice that an Iambic Pentameter poem has a beautiful flow - as in Mr Frost's lines -

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;


See what I mean?


So, have any of us concentrated on the stress of the syllables when we write copy.

Can't say I really have.

But do you agree - it's worth giving it some thought?


Steve
#copy #heartbeat
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  • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
    Ok Steve the Copywriter, I'll partake this can of worms,
    even if by chance it causes others here to squirm.

    Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears.

    You've done well but if you still have work years ahead of you, a little dabbling in rhetoric, poetry, linguistics and even the martial arts will bode you well. Guaranteed.

    In my early Judo days, middle school, I hated KATA, repeating over and over the forms; stances and movements and loved the randori part. I also wrestled, where kata was taught in the basics, but when on the mat, you didn't think, just acted and reacted.

    In Poetry, the Kata, are the traditional forms, as you point out, Iambic Pentameter is a popular form. Shakespear sonnets differ somewhat from Spensarian, for example.

    And sonnets, much different than Haiku, with its own forms and rules.

    So, when FREE VERSE came about, Walt Whitman, et al, the poets of the day were either outraged, or embraced this new form.

    Traditional Judo, and then Jiu-Jitsu, evolved, Helio Gracie could be like Walt Whitman, and changed the martial art scene.

    Hope not to get too long winded here.

    YOU, a successful copywriter, started with Kata perhaps, learning the ways from the Masters, and you evolved, taking the best "moves" from your favs, to get to today.

    Now, maybe you haven't given it as much conscious thought as you could have, or think you did, but the cadence of threes was in all the early copywriting tomes.

    Alliteration, assonance even onomatopeia, all from the world of poetry, can be readily seen throughout Gary Halbert's work, including in his newsletters. He knew and used it, and it is one reason it makes his work so fun to read.

    Cadence, is a powerful way to lull the subconscious mind, as used in NLP, and once you have someone in the rhythm, you can lead them to the conclusion (sales in copywriting, or at least another action).

    I think if you look at the work of Gene Schwartz, and read his stuff out loud, you will see that even old pros used "poetry" in his work.

    Some, instinctively knew, or learned from days of direct selling, how speech patterns are both heard, and read (heard in the reader's mind).

    Have some fun with it and review some of your old work, and you might see you used it too, without really thinking about it.

    GordonJ



    Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

    Most of our hearts go - Da Dum, Da Dum, Da Dum, Da Dum, Da Dum...

    And it's a beat and rhythm that as long as we're above ground - is working very well.

    Soothing to know.


    In Poetry it's very similar to an Iambic Pentameter (other verse forms are available...).

    Tech notes - (more to help me get a grasp - to my surprise I've recently been nibbled by the poetry bug).

    Iamb - is a metrical foot of poetry consisting of two syllables - an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (like Da Dum).

    Pentameter - a line of verse with five (Penta) metrical feet.

    So, 10 syllables on the line (although it doesn't have to be restricted to 10).


    It's said to be the foundation of much of the most read Poetry (Chaucer to Milton, Wordsworth, Tennyson, T. S. Eliot, and so many more...)


    Robert Frost's poems were mainly written in this style.

    "The Road Not Taken" is one of the best examples.

    Now, regardless of the content - which is always subjective.

    You'll notice that an Iambic Pentameter poem has a beautiful flow - as in Mr Frost's lines -

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;


    See what I mean?


    So, have any of us concentrated on the stress of the syllables when we write copy.

    Can't say I really have.

    But do you agree - it's worth giving it some thought?


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author SARubin
    Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

    Tech notes - (more to help me get a grasp - to my surprise I've recently been nibbled by the poetry bug).
    I've always thought your writing had a touch of poetry to it, Steve. Although that could be due to your proper English prose bouncing off my coarse American ears?

    I haven't really considered using syllableaic flow in writing (I'm pretty sure sure I just made up the word "syllableaic", but it sounds fun, and when I say it out loud it makes me smile, so I'm going to use it for now)

    Although I have found a certain rhythm to using a beat count in my writing (2 count, 3 count, or 4 count. Depending on the draft)

    And over the past year or so I've been bitten by a different type of writing bug. And I've taken a dozen writing classes outside of the sales copy Universe.

    Poetry and Prose, Creative writing, and I tried a screenwriting class but found the teacher to be about as intersting as a sedated earthworm.

    But I'll try this syllable thing on for size.

    Ahem, an ode to syllable writing...

    I'll try to write with syllable style
    And listen to where it may lead me
    Perhaps to someplace as yet unknown
    Or back to a place where I call home
    To know my true words for the first time
    And now I'll just finish with a rhyme

    Yeah, I don't think the ghost of Robert Frost needs to worry about me stealing his crown any time soon.

    But who knows, maybe someday I'll chance to look up at a starry night sky and see my own reflection looking back.
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post



    So, have any of us concentrated on the stress of the syllables when we write copy.

    Can't say I really have.

    But do you agree - it's worth giving it some thought?


    Steve
    I actually have used this before.

    There are different techniques that can be used in writing:

    Alliteration makes phrases memorable - words that begin with the same letter:

    The barge she basked in, like a burnished boat
    Burned by the banks, the back was beaten brass.

    Polyptoton repeated use of one word as different parts of speech:

    "Please, Please Me"

    Antitheses is a contrast between two things:

    You're hot then you're cold. You're yes then you're no. You're in then you're out. You're up
    then you're down.

    Merism is contrasting words or phrases:

    The long and the short and the tall

    Synesthesia is a neurological occurrence when one sensory experience automatically triggers another sense:

    I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for
    twelve hours. [ . . . ] The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like . . .
    victory. Someday this war's gonna end . . .

    Aposiopesis is suddenly breaking off in speech:

    No, you unnatural hags,
    I will have such revenges on you both,
    That all the world shall . . . I will do such things . . .
    What they are, yet I know not: but they shall be
    The terrors of the earth. (one I often use in posts)

    Hyperbaton is an inversion of the normal order of words:

    Stone walls do not a prison make,
    Nor iron bars a cage . . .

    Anadiplosis is a rhetorical and literary device wherein a word or phrase at or near the end of a clause is repeated at or near the beginning of the next clause:

    We glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience,
    experience and experience, hope, and hope maketh man not ashamed.

    So, since this post is probably getting a bit boring, I'll leave out the others...

    but if this is something that interests you, I would recommend the book Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsythe. Yes, I do have it and have read it...

    as you can tell, I lead a very exciting life
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  • @ Gordon

    It's true - I've only used a modicum of consciousness in my poetry conquest.

    Fortunately, I've only been nibbled not badly bitten by the poetry bug.

    I did find the stressing of the syllables interesting.

    I do use the power of 3, alliteration, assonance and a selection from the basket of other "devices." whenever they seem appropriate in the wonderful world of copywriting.

    I did stumble a bit when I thought about onomatopoeia - but then the dog barked - which cleared that up.


    Poetry is unlikely to become a passion. I should have started well over 45 years ago to see if I have a real appreciation.

    And I'm not going to live long enough to read through acres of poetry collections to find out.


    Truth is - lacking any academia - I find most of the older and "classical" stuff a bit boring and confusing - it can be way too convoluted. I need an enigma machine to decipher it - and here in the UK - the subject itself can be a touch pretentious - I hate that.

    So maybe a bit of accessible modern poetry will see me through. The word play can be fascinating.

    Or I can just read Charles Bukowski and marvel at his minimal word use and the immense emotional impact.


    You're absolutely right about the "Poeticness" of Gary Halbert and Gene Schwartz.

    I got Gary's newsletters when they were sent by post in the 70's and 80's - and yes, they and his Ads read like perfect copywriting prose - aka halbertism - no one else has quite cracked it as well as he did.

    Same with Gene's Ads - I've got a swipe file crammed full of them.

    "Breakthrough Advertising" didn't give a full insight into his incredible word play.

    But his other book - "The Brilliance Breakthrough: How to Talk and Write So That People Will Never Forget You" - certainly did.


    I'm going to have to pass on the Martial Arts - age and a bad back are my excuses - and the strong possibility of being in traction for months.

    Mind you it would give me a chance to read realms of modern poems.



    @ SA

    Thank you for your very kind comments.

    I have to say I was born in a rough part of Glasgow, Scotland.

    And moved to England - and so I could be understood (Glaswegians tend to speak at 1000 words a minute and never quite finish their sentences) I developed a more "neutral" accent.

    Which probably transcribed itself into the written form.

    But it is far from cultural or poetic!

    I've done countless copywriting courses and seminars.

    But never poetry, prose, creative writing or screenwriting classes (I can see why they would be very useful).

    Although many years ago - I did attempt a grammar class - thinking that copy should be bang on grammatically correct - more to appease the clients than the audience.


    I was staggering through it, hating every minute - when thankfully a copywriting guru - could have been Kennedy or Carlton said, "Nah don't worry about it."

    So - errr ever since I haven't.

    And neither have the clients (apart from one - who was the world's expert on where apostrophes should be placed).

    Good to see your poem about poetic syllables - I reckon Mr Frost would be pleased.



    @ Max

    I thank you for adding several new poetic and literary devices to my collection.

    All very adaptable, extremely useful and very effective in copywriting.

    I understand them - but will never be able to pronounce the word that describes them!

    No doubt I'll grab a copy of the book.

    And try and climb an "eloquence step"

    Be my first attempt.



    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
      Most good copywriters, over time, have just naturally developed thier voice and style, and have their own cadence and poetry sense.

      NOW, who wants the secret?

      I bet you a donut, none of you have heard this one before> Any takers> make mine jelly filled.

      You've heard, message match to market; that short stanza stands alone...but have you ever heard of

      wait for it...

      MUSIC to market? Have old folk as an avatar? Pain relief, burial, funeral, all that> READ THE lyrics of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Paul Simon. Don't listen, READ.

      Yea, yea, yea, that sounds good, I know, but does she still love you now that your over the hill?

      Younger target markets, READ the hip hop, and there are some amazing poets in that group, use LYRICS, or actually triggers, along with some pop cultural refrences, and it is another way to get almost instant rapport.

      We wondered, who are those guys? Their relentless pursuit of finding a cure for ugly, was simply irresistible. We felt like tiny dancers on a midnight train, heading toward the end of the line.

      Well, bet most under 40 would be clueless.

      However,

      Want to be a baddie? Keep it tight? Let me be blunt, it can get pricey these days, you almost have to be a millionaire...but when you vaca at the Palms our beach rum-rum will set you right.

      Anyhow, all you copywriters, try this:

      Go listen to your favorite song, or artist, listen two times and then sit down and write some copy, about anything just for fun,

      YOU'LL see.

      GordonJ


      Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

      @ Gordon

      It's true - I've only used a modicum of consciousness in my poetry conquest.

      Fortunately, I've only been nibbled not badly bitten by the poetry bug.

      I did find the stressing of the syllables interesting.

      I do use the power of 3, alliteration, assonance and a selection from the basket of other "devices." whenever they seem appropriate in the wonderful world of copywriting.

      I did stumble a bit when I thought about onomatopoeia - but then the dog barked - which cleared that up.


      Poetry is unlikely to become a passion. I should have started well over 45 years ago to see if I have a real appreciation.

      And I'm not going to live long enough to read through acres of poetry collections to find out.


      Truth is - lacking any academia - most of the older and "classical" stuff rather bores confuses me - it can be way too convoluted. I need an enigma machine to decipher it - and here in the UK - the subject itself can be a touch pretentious - I hate that.

      So maybe a bit of accessible modern poetry will see me through. The word play can be fascinating.

      Or I can just read Charles Bukowski and marvel at his minimal word use and the immense emotional impact.


      You're absolutely right about the "Poeticness" of Gary Halbert and Gene Schwartz.

      I got Gary's newsletters when they were sent by post in the 70's and 80's - and yes, they and his Ads read like perfect copywriting prose - aka halbertism - no one else has quite cracked it as well as he did.

      Same with Gene's Ads - I've got a swipe file crammed full of them.

      "Breakthrough Advertising" didn't give a full insight into his incredible word play.

      But his other book - "The Brilliance Breakthrough: How to Talk and Write So That People Will Never Forget You" - certainly did.


      I'm going to have to pass on the Martial Arts - age and a bad back are my excuses - and the strong possibility of being in traction for months.

      Mind you it would give me a chance to read realms of modern poems.



      @ SA

      Thank you for your very kind comments.

      I have to say I was born in a rough part of Glasgow, Scotland.

      And moved to England - and so I could be understood (Glaswegians tend to speak at 1000 words a minute and never quite finish their sentences) I developed a more "neutral" accent.

      Which probably transcribed itself into the written form.

      But it is far from cultural or poetic!

      I've done countless copywriting courses and seminars

      But never poetry, prose, creative writing or screenwriting classes (I can see why they would be very useful).

      Although many years ago - I did attempt a grammar class - thinking that copy should be bang on grammatically correct - more to appease the clients than the audience.


      I was staggering through it, hating every minute - when thankfully a copywriting guru - could have been Kennedy or Carlton said, "Nah don't worry about it."

      So - errr ever since I haven't.

      And neither have the clients (apart from one - who was the world's expert on where apostrophes should be placed).

      Good to see your poem about poetic syllables - I reckon Mr Frost would have been pleased.



      @ Max

      I thank you for adding several new poetic and literary devices to my collection.

      All very adaptable to copywriting.

      I understand them - but will never be able to pronounce the word that describes them!

      No doubt I'll grab a copy of the book.

      And maybe climb an "eloquence step"

      Be my first attempt.



      Steve
      Signature

      No sig for you.

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  • Profile picture of the author Princess Balestra
    The reason most orators gaht to be orators is bcs they were expoits at usin' oratorial devices.

    An' this is from back in the day before you could even plug 'em in.

    When you standin' in front of a crowd who could jus' as easy stab you as applaud you, the rhythm in your voice was a real powerful ally.

    Rousin' an' soothin' in equal measure ... hard hittin' points delivahed with a sugah spoon.

    So I guess you wanna make your copy hit hard & feel smooth.

    An' an oratorial device, used expertly, is a trooly powerful tool for slippin' even the craziest home truths through the least accommodatin' openings.

    One really cool way to figure the oratorial worthiness of your copy is to read it aloud.

    We drill down always on POWAH WORDS, naht makin' gramatical herrers, split screenin' what we writin' with sum goober formula from Yondah The Heck On High Daht Warg.

    An' it is so easy here to mangle all sense of VOICE.

    So, yeah, read aloud -- an' purchase a fluffy bunny.

    You will see how jargon always sounds JUNK.

    You may find she don't wanna be LECTURED.

    Could it be you sound APOLOGETIC?

    Or (FFS) real DESPERADOPANTS?

    Course'n there is structure, strategy an' purpose bedrockin' down in most any writin' you see ... but the diffrence between an instruction manyool & persuasive copy (or upliftin' oratory) is LEVITY.

    We rise up from these words and their promise.

    Like they knew we were here before they spoke.

    An' we step out from this moment *pas miz*,

    aloft above the mirrors an' the smoke.

    Readin' stuff aloud to your fluffy bunny illuminates words you arranged kinda clumsily.

    Yeah, for sure, you wanna TARGET your DREAM CUSTOMAHS so they SHIT THEIR OWN BRAINS for FEAR they MISSIN' OUT MORTALLY DRASTIC on your EXCLOOSIVE OFFAH ...

    an', course, said offah gotta be EYE-CATCHIN' ...

    but we was all EAR-CATCHIN' before we learned to write or read.

    An' if'n the Zaaahbie Apocalypse beats more observably possible forms of disastah to the finish line, we prolly gonna revert to actschwl shoutin' out before we spammin' the planet with our oratorial device offahs.

    "Buy One, Get One Free. BCS you know you need 2 before you gowin' any place, an' 3 is Rhetorical Nirvana."

    There is what is bein' SAID.

    An' there is what stuff SOUNDS LIKE.

    So get in there with your most harmonious toons.

    Lull, soothe & smoochie.

    Like Drackulure without the teeth & more matchin' capes.
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    Lightin' fuses is for blowin' stuff togethah.

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