Put some rhythm in your copy

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Another excellent article over at  ABC Copywriting by Tom Albrighton 8 June 2015 Copywriting, Tone of voice

You read with your eyes, and listen with your ears. But researchers have found that, when people read, they actually hear the sound of the words in their heads. So you read with your ears too, in a sense.

If that’s the case, the rhythm of your copy is a crucial part of its impact. If what you’re saying doesn’t ‘sound’ right to the reader, how likely are they to do what you want?

Animal_drums_2011To some extent, rhythm is one of those writing skills that just has to be learned over time. Through reading (any reading), practice and careful listening (of which more later), you learn to sense the pace and cadence of your words – and, more importantly, how to improve it.

For me, rhythm usually comes at the editing phase, not the first draft. I get the ideas down first, regardless of how gauche or grunty they sound, then go back and try to sculpt them into something more graceful. Of course, your mileage may vary. Maybe you put things like ‘[and one more]’ or ‘bom-tidde-pom’ as placeholders in your first draft, and hang your meaning on that rhythmic framework later on.

Once you got rhythm, don’t expect many compliments about it. Unless you’re deliberately aiming for an arrhythmic effect, the right rhythm will probably just sound natural and flowing, without drawing attention to itself. Actually, I think this is probably one of the aspects that clients are unconsciously responding to when they say work sounds ‘professional’, ‘punchy’ or just ‘good’. Conversely, the most irksome direct amends are often those that mess up the rhythmic flow.

Read the rest of this article over at  ABC Copywriting

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