Writing Aesthetic: What It Is and How to Discover Yours

writing aesthetic

How to develop a writing aesthetic that readers love

In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the lead-up to Caesar's death leaves most people with an overwhelming sense of dread. And in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, readers are made to feel Elizabeth Bennet's hope and anxiety swirling as the story progresses. 

People still read these literary works partially because of the feelings they evoke. 

Now, this is a content marketing blog, so I definitely wouldn't blame you if my literature-driven tangent confused you. But wait! Before you click “back,” let me try to justify my ramblings. 

You see, I don't think marketing-driven copywriting is so different from the dramatic, fictional works of old. Advertising and content marketing are both art forms. Therefore, it is both possible and necessary for aesthetics to play an important role. 

But what is writing aesthetic? What makes up your writing aesthetic? How do you develop one?

I will answer all these questions and more in this comprehensive guide. 

Let's circle back to that first question…

What is a writing aesthetic?

Simply put, your writing aesthetic is the atmosphere and feelings readers experience when they read your work. 

Sometimes, people refer to your writing aesthetic as the “voice” of the author. Everyone has their own aesthetic and style. Some writers have a more fun and conversational style, while others have a very rigid and formal style (though this isn't in vogue in the world of digital marketing right now). 

A writing aesthetic is something you can build over time by using literary devices. Literary devices are writing techniques — similes, metaphors, flashbacks, and hyperbole are all examples of literary devices.

Why does your writing aesthetic matter in content marketing?

A writing aesthetic isn't something unique to plays, novels, books, and other long-form pieces of content. Any piece of text has a writing aesthetic. 

In a content marketing context, your writing experience is one of the things that influences the reader's experience the most (other influences include the website's design, the use of multimedia, the website's mobile experience, etc.). 

A unique writing aesthetic can either draw readers in and push them toward your Call-To-Action (CTA) or bore readers until they click “back” and swear off your website forever.

So, how can cultivating a unique writing aesthetic benefit you? It will:

  • Make your blog distinct and memorable. 
  • Help you build brand authority
  • Persuade your audience to read more of your content. 
  • Help you retain customers by making your brand one they want to associate with.
  • Keep readers on the page by keeping them entertained and engaged. 
  • Increase your website traffic, win you backlinks, and increase the chances of your content going viral. (P.S: learn how to go viral here!)

What writing aesthetic includes

Any literary device you use contributes to your aesthetic. We will give you a more comprehensive list of literary devices in the “Use different literary devices and narrative techniques” section. Still, here are the four most common literary devices used in content marketing:

#1. Rhythm

Rhythm includes the spacing of your sentences, their length, and how you use repetition. 

If you've ever heard writing advice like “mix up short sentences with long sentences” or “only repeat an adjective twice every 50 words,” you've been told to use rhythm. 

#2. Juxtaposition

Juxtaposition is the art of comparing and contrasting two things. Juxtaposition creates tension, helps you clarify key points, and draws attention to the differences between two things. 

We used Juxtaposition in “What is Customer Success? 7 Steps To Make It Happen,” as you can see here:

an example of Juxtaposition

#3. Emotion

Emotion is the art of appealing to someone's humanity by evoking feelings that help them empathize or sympathize. 

In a content marketing context, an author might describe a challenge as “frustrating” or an outcome that evokes emotion. For example, I used emotion when I told you earlier that a poorly executed writing aesthetic might cause your visitors to “swear off your website forever.” 

#4. Humor

Humor is really in vogue in content marketing in 2022. Copywriters convey humor using wit, irony, jokes, puns, sarcasm, and rhetorical questions. 

I used humor, for example, in the introduction to “Customer Retention: 20 Tips to Keep Your Content Clients Coming Back.” 

humor is essential in content marketing

Some writing aesthetic examples to draw inspiration from

You can find plenty of examples of writing aesthetics in famous novels. For example, the feeling of home in The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini or the emotive way landscapes were described in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. 

But what about examples in content marketing? Here are two writing aesthetics I like:

Seth Godin 

Seth's Blog stands out among content marketers because of his unique style. He uses short sentences in which every word perfectly fits the context and conveys his messages to readers. His stories are usually short, concise, and imaginary-driven, leaving readers to ponder after reading his posts. 

Seth's blog posts sound a bit like Tweets, but with more depth. Here's an example from August 2nd, 2022:

Seth Godin's blog example

Source: Seths.blog

And another from July 28th, 2022:

Seth Godin's blog

Source: Seths.blog

Neil Patel

Neil Patel's blog has longer and more detailed posts than Seth's blog. He also uses a more conversational writing style. Here's his introduction for the post “E-commerce Optimization: 6 Steps to Boost Your Conversion Rates,” for example:

 "E-commerce Optimization: 6 Steps to Boost Your Conversion Rates" - Neil Patel

Source: NeilPatel

You can also see his distinct style in “25 Ways To Drive More E-commerce Store Traffic Without Buying Ads.” Here's the introduction:

"25 Ways To Drive More E-commerce Store Traffic Without Buying Ads." - Neil Patel

Source: NeilPatel

How to create your distinct writing aesthetic 

At this point, you should have a really good understanding of what a writing aesthetic is and how developing one can make your content marketing shine. 

Now, we will dive into some actionable strategies you can use to create your own killer aesthetic. 

Without further ado…

Define yourself

The last thing you want is for your writing aesthetic to come across as cringy or awkward. Cringy writing gives readers secondhand embarrassment — and I know I won't continue reading if an article makes my feet tingle!

You can avoid coming across as cringy by conveying authenticity. Authenticity comes from knowing and understanding your own professional identity. 

To discover this identity, try this: write down 3-5 attributes that describe you as a professional. Then, flesh out your persona by identifying things like

  • Your interests
  • Your pain points
  • How you react to challenges at work
  • How you express frustration 
  • What you get emotional about 
  • Your defining vibe 
  • What you could talk about for hours 
  • How you feel about emojis  🙂 
  • What type of humor you use 
  • What you are comfortable sharing from your personal life

Tip: If you'd like more depth on developing a professional identity, read this article by Michelle Fenech Seguna. 

Study your favorite authors

Great artists draw inspiration from other great artists. It's no different with writers. 

Get cozy and re-read some of your favorite authors' best works. Try and spot the types of literary devices they use, and highlight any you think you'd like to try yourself. Then, challenge yourself to use 1-2 extra-literary devices in your next article. 

You should also read blog posts from other writers you admire or find interesting. A great way to find high-quality blog posts is through Google's “news” tab. Simply type in something you're interested in, press “news,” and select your desired time span (options include “recent,” “past hour,” past 25 hours,” “past week,” “past month,” and “past year”). 

Here's what I got when I searched “aesthetic literature,” for example

Google's results for the keyword "aesthetic literature"

Source: Google

Use different literary devices and narrative techniques

You probably already use some literary devices unknowingly, but one way to strengthen your voice is to deliberately add more literary devices to your work. 

Here's a list of literary devices to experiment with:

  • Similes. When you liken something to another thing (for example, “social media marketing is like making soup…”). 
  • Metaphors. When you describe one object as another (for example, “life is a highway”). 
  • Symbolism. When you use an object, person, or location to represent another (for example, showing anger by describing things as red). 
  • Foreshadowing. Hinting at something that will happen later in the article (for example, “we will cover this in more detail in the “X” section”). 
  • Alliteration. When multiple words in a row start with the same letter (for example, “magnificent marketing”). 
  • Anaphora. When you repeat a word or phrase at the start of a sentence (for example, “content marketing is x,y,x. Content marketing helps you…”).
  • Colloquialisms. When you use casual and informal language (for example, “some blog posts just suck”). 
  • Hyperbole. When you exaggerate to make a point (for example, “awkward social media posts are literally the worst”). 
  • Isocolon. When two sentences have the same structure (for example, “I came. I saw. I conquered.”). 
  • Onomatopoeia. When a word sounds like the thing it describes (for example, “click,” “clack,” or “bang”)

Take time to plan your writing in advance

If you start drafting a blog post with no plan in mind, you may end up talking in circles and portraying a chaotic writing aesthetic. One way to get really deliberate about your writing aesthetic is to outline your work carefully. 

Everyone has their own style of outlining, but I find it helps to nail down your H2s, H3s, and H4s. Then, I write a few notes about what each section will cover. For example, for the “What is a writing aesthetic” section, here were my notes:

Outline the article "writing aesthetic"

Making notes on each section will help you see where you should insert literary devices to keep the audience engaged. (It will also help you write faster!)

Read more, write often

If you're trying to improve your writing and develop a really unique style, you absolutely can't discount the importance of practicing regularly. The more you practice your writing aesthetic, the more naturally it will come to you. 

I like to think of copywriting like a muscle. The more I write, the more trained my brain gets. After copywriting for several years, the words flow naturally to me, and I find myself inserting literary devices into my articles without even thinking about it. 

Reflect on your own writing

When I was younger, the idea of reading over my own work made me quite anxious, and seeing all the red highlights on my errors was definitely bad for my confidence. This isn't just a me thing — many people find reading their own work a bit confronting. 

It sucks sometimes, but reviewing your own work and looking for places you could improve it will help you develop a writing aesthetic you're really proud of. 

It will also help to ask others to read your work and give you feedback. Specifically, ask them about areas that piqued their interest and sections that were a bit boring. You can use the good areas as inspiration for the future, and the boring sections will show you what isn't working, so you don't repeat your mistakes. 

Edit carefully

Maybe a lack of confidence isn't a problem for you (and hey, good for you!), and you find yourself hesitant to remove any of your precious words. 

Source: Gifer

Unfortunately, editing ruthlessly is part of loving your work. 😢

Editing will help you produce a polished piece of work and hone your writing skills simultaneously. 

One tool I love for editing is Hemingway App. Hemingway App helps you identify passive voice and hard-to-read sentences that audiences might stumble over. 

Hemingway App to improve content readability

Source: Hemingway App

Grammarly and Writer.com are also fantastic editing tools. I like to use them together, as I find that they often spot different problems. 

This might sound counterintuitive, but reading over your work when you're feeling really tired and unmotivated is also a good way to find areas of improvement. If my tired mind isn't engaging with a section, I take it as a sign that it needs tweaking.  

Don't limit yourself 

Finally, try to be as creative and bold as possible as you write. If you set your brain free and don't limit it with “should do's,” you'll find you'll pour creativity onto the page (or screen!). 

Some sentences or phrases won't land as you expected them to, and you can simply remove them after the writing process. There's never anything wrong with trying something out — and if you don't, your writing will probably seem a bit stale!

Writers' aesthetic, tone, and your content marketing

Your writer's aesthetic is the voice that paints a vivid picture your reader will remember. Aesthetic writing isn't something only novelists and poets use — it has a place in content marketing, too. 

Here's how to create your own unique aesthetic: 

  • Build a professional identity
  • Study your favorite authors 
  • Plan your work in advance
  • Practice writing regularly
  • Edit your work and reflect on your progress
  • Flex your creative muscles

And if you're looking for an agency that can take your content marketing strategy to the next level, reach out to MediaBerry. Our expert team is obsessed with content marketing, and we can get you the results you need.

Get in contact with MediaBerry here!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Your writing aesthetic is the feeling or atmosphere that your language evokes in readers. Writing aesthetic encapsulates mood, tone, and imagery. Literary devices like your use of rhythm, humor, juxtaposition, and how you portray emotion create your writing aesthetic. 

Want to know how to write aesthetically? Try…

  • Reflecting on your writing style
  • Studying your favorite writers 
  • Practicing using different literary devices
  • Planning your writing so that it conveys the tone you want
  • Reading more and practicing writing frequently
  • Editing your work and adding literary devices 
  • Experimenting and getting creative 
  • Reflecting on your writing habits

By checking out Seth Godin and Neil Patel's writing, you can see how writing aesthetics influence the reader's experience in a content marketing context. Both writers have a very distinct aesthetic. 

Karie is the Assistant Content Manager at MediaBerry. She loves diving into small business management, digital marketing, social media, data analytics, and all things tech.

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