How to Use Literary Devices for More Effective Copywriting!

Demian Farnworth and the Copyblogger team are just so good at explaining the concepts of writing well. Literary devices are the styles and formats of the way we write compelling copy. Many of them are likely done subconsciously. It’s kind of neat to know there’s a name and history behind them.

Demian lists 12 at his blog. Here are my five favorites:

1. Polysyndeton — Using Extra Conjunctions

“If there be cords or knives or poison or fire or suffocating streams, I’ll not endure it”

– Shakespeare, Othello

2. Chiasmus — Reversal of Structure

“Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.”

– John F. Kennedy

3. Epizeuxis — Simple Repetion of Words and Phrases

“Never give in — never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.”

– Winston Churchill

4. Anaphora — Repetition at the Beginning

“Mad world! Mad kings! Mad composition!”

– William Shakespeare, King John

5. Epistrophe — Repetition at the End

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny compared to what lies within us.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Copywriting Strategies

AIDA

  • Attention – Jar the reader out of their boring ol’ lives
  • Interest – Engage their mind with unusual, counter-intuitive or fresh info
  • Desire – Engage their heart so they want what you’re offering
  • Action – Ask them to take the next step Think about one of your lead-gen pages or an opt-in box. Moz does this well:

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A lot of businesses address the A, I and A in AIDA… but forget entirely about the D. Take this landing page hero as an example: Where’s the D?

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It takes patience and confidence to spend a little time building up the D. Apple has more than enough confidence to work on the D. Actually, check out how well Apple uses the first three steps – AID – and totally delays the final A:

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All down the page, the visitor gets dose after dose of AID, which builds incredible anticipation for that “buy” button. And you thought Apple was just about design! Clearly, you don’t sell loads of beautiful product without being incredibly good salespeople. See more examples of how to use AIDA here and here, and learn about its origin (if you’re particularly geeky) here.

AIDCA and IDCA

A variation on AIDA, AIDCA goes like so:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Conviction
  • Action

You can see that AIDCA simply adds in a pre-close moment of “conviction.”

Conviction is intended to help skeptical audiences getover their skepticism. As Andy Maslen puts it in this book , convince prospects that it’s safe to act because what you’re saying is true. Do this using:

  • Testimonials
  • Endorsements
  • Statistics, data points or figures
  • Demoes
  • Guarantees

To get IDCA, you just drop Attention from the start. Why would you wanna do that? Because sometimes you’ve already got their attention – so you don’t need to start again. You just need to hold their attention, and you cando this by piquing their interest.So when might you use IDCA over AIDCA?

When you’re driving from an email or an ad, where you’ve already grabbed the prospect’s attention. The landing page may not need to grab attention again. So sweep straight into interest, like Lawrence Bernstein does :

 

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