A Headline Rhyme is Sublime

Will a rhyme in your headline help your copy pass the cognitive fluency test? Cognitive fluency is a measure of how easily people interpret your marketing message. Using three simple copywriting and design techniques you can enhance your marketing and sales message effectiveness.

It’s no surprise that people prefer easy-to-digest information over difficult. How you write and position your copy and content impacts the immediate judgements and opinions that prospects and customers will form.

In my last column, 8 Seconds to Pounce Using the 3 E’s of Copywriting, I shared how new research suggests that our attention span is dwindling down to a mere eight seconds. Since that’s only about 30 to 40 words in a headline and lead, it’s imperative to make points quickly. When writing with cognitive fluency in mind, you can boost the odds of getting your customer’s attention.

Through cognitive fluency, existing knowledge prepares us to receive new knowledge. Cognitive fluency dictates the ease and speed with which we process information, and it influences our opinion. It leads us to see new information as familiar. Cognitive fluency enables a shortcut in our mind. It helps us process multiples of stimuli that distract people and tug at attention. 

Bottom line: cognitive fluency helps prospects and customers make a snap decision about what is worthy of their attention.

Studies have shown that when presenting people with content that is easy to mentally process, the performance and outcome desired can be more favorable.

•    Cognitive fluency helps your customers evaluate information products. 

•    It can influence how people perceive others to be attractive.

•    It shapes how people evaluate candidates who are running for public office.

•    Cognitive fluency helps customers evaluate the business and innovation intelligence of an organization.

•    Content that works within the ease of cognitive fluency helps customers to be more forgiving and more adventurous.

•    When people read something in a low-contrast, small-sized, or ornate font, they transfer a sense of difficulty on the topic. When people read about an exercise regimen or a recipe in a less legible font, they tend to rate the exercise regimen as more difficult and the recipe more complicated than if they read about them in a clearer font.

Here are three simple copywriting and design techniques so your message is swiftly and easily absorbed and interpreted:

1.    Make words rhyme in your headline

2.    Repeat statements

3.    Use a clean font and layout

Keep cognitive fluency in mind as you write copy and content, and you will help your prospects and customers determine if your message is worthy of their attention.


Gary Hennerberg

After a lot of years in marketing and sales, this is what I know works:

Stories sell. Think unique. Stimulate emotion. Close deals. And here are a few other gems from my new book, “Crack the Customer Mind Code.” Know the persona, interpret your offer and let your prospect give themselves permission to buy. That’s how the brain is wired. It’s how people think.

What else? When I’m not breaking down complex topics (or ones marketers over-complicate) into easy-to-grasp stories that sell, I crunch numbers. Manage projects. Write. Teach. Lead.