Tag Archives: Tom Albrighton

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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What really makes a good story?

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An excellent article over at  ABC Copywriting by Tom Albrighton

In a recent post, I noted that the term ‘storytelling’ is being applied to more and more types of content, not all of them proper stories. On top of that, there’s often an over-emphasis on the channels and media used for storytelling at the expense of the stories themselves. But all that begs the question: what does make a good story?

This post draws on academic research into political storytelling, and other sources, to argue that the most effective commercial stories share seven closely related characteristics: drama, familiarity, simplicity, immersion, relatability, agency and trust in the teller. (Discussion continues below infographic.)

What really makes a good story? (Infographic)



Stories need dramatic development and emotional dynamics. Taking out the ‘bad bits’ damages trust.

dramaAt the very broadest level, drama is the spark that animates all creative forms of advertising and marketing. First, you have to take the features of a product and ‘turn them outwards’ by expressing them as benefits. Then you need to dramatise those benefits in a compelling and convincing way.

Just as drama turns a benefit into a creative concept, so it turns a neutral sequence of events into a story. A story needs conflict and resolution; tension and release; mystery and revelation. There should be losses and gains, setbacks and comebacks, peaks and troughs. And, above all, a story should be about people: their dreams and desires; loves and hates; problems and passions.

If your story is a work of fiction, it should be relatively easy to create drama. If it’s factual, you may have to dig around, or use poetic licence, to give it the drama it lacks. Or your story may have too much drama, so that you’re tempted to tone it down to show the characters in the best possible light.

A brand telling its own story will usually prefer to dwell on its successes rather than its setbacks. Even in the age of social engagement, few brands are interested in proving their authenticity by admitting mistakes unless they absolutely have to. When it comes down to it, most brand stories amount to ‘it’s all good’.

Read the rest of this over at  ABC Copywriting

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