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- What can Ryan’s term paper strategy teach you about copywriting and content creation?
In my first post on the subject for Copyblogger, Seal the Deal: 10 Tips for Writing the Ultimate Landing Page, I devoted most of my time to copywriting tips since, well, I’m a copywriter. I craft the words.
Unlike direct mail, however, the web is a strongly visual medium. Good design helps support the content, leading the visitor’s eye from here to there and directing them through your message layer by layer, step by step.
This is especially so in the formatting of an effective landing page. That’s why I’ll devote myself to the overall look, feel, and formatting of effective landing pages for this post.
It just happened again.
I’m reading, but I’m not getting it. Maybe if I continue to read, all will become clear.
I feel dumb.
Obviously, there is something I’m missing. It’s my fault. I’ll read it again.
Nope, still not getting it.
The pictures look great, nice web design. Looks like a trustworthy company.
Keep your money, Chris. Maybe somebody can explain it to me later (if I remember).
Sorry friend, you’ve just lost the sale.
I’m looking California, and feeling Minnesota…
That metaphor is from the 1991 Soundgarden song Outshined, written by front man Chris Cornell. He shared an interesting anecdote about writing those very personal words in a magazine interview:
“I came up with that line — ‘I’m looking California / And feeling Minnesota,’ from the song ‘Outshined’ — and as soon as I wrote it down, I thought it was the dumbest thing. But after the record came out and we went on tour, everybody would be screaming along with that particular line when it came up in the song. That was a shock.”
Instead of the “dumbest thing,” those are the most famous six words Cornell has ever written. In addition to being a fan favorite, the line inspired both a movie title and an ESPN catch phrase whenever Minnesota Timberwolves player Kevin Garnett was in the news.
Why did it work? Because with those six words, Soundgarden’s audience understood instantly what Chris Cornell was trying to convey. That’s the power of metaphor. Cornell is no slouch in the lyrical department, and yet he was taken aback by how well this particular metaphor worked.
So, how do we non-rock-gods know if our metaphors are any good? That they will actually help us inform and persuade our readers in the way we intend?
What’s a copywriting blog without a copywriting contest, right?
I’ve wanted to run a group copywriting project here for some time, but I wanted to ensure as much real world applicability as possible. After discussing it with various co-conspirators, here’s what we came up with.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make an irresistible offer. That offer should be in the form of a landing page that catches the reader’s attention, barrels them down a slippery slide to your call to action, and results in that desired action. Hey, that’s what landing pages are all about, right?
At the beginning of the year I wrote a post about the classic AIDA advertising formula and how it could be applied to a blog post when you want readers to take some form of action. The formula essentially allows you to turn a content piece into a landing page that funnels your readers in a desired direction.
Chris Garrett expands on AIDA for bloggers, and hits the nail on the head regarding the types of actions you want to focus on when employing this strategy. In essence, you’re looking to incrementally deepen the relationship.
This isn’t a proper entry in Darren Rowse’s latest Group Writing Project, but since I have five announcements and he’s running a “Top Five” contest this time around, I thought I should at least get in the spirit of things. If you haven’t joined in, get yourself a free link and a shot at $1001 in cash.
Hopefully I’ve sold you on the benefits of using metaphors when blogging. Now let’s take a look at specific examples of how you can use metaphorical expressions to spice up your writing.
Metaphors can turbo-charge just about any element of a blog post, from the title down to the close. You might even design an entire post around an ongoing metaphorical theme.
Imagine yourself blazing quickly through your feed reader or email inbox. Post titles and subject lines whiz by in a blur of mundane language, until you hit a heading that stops you dead in your tracks and plants a visual in your brain that prompts you to investigate further.
OK all you feed and email readers, go ahead and click through for a look at the new Copyblogger design.
Chris Pearson’s breakout design for Copyblogger has served me well for over a year, and I think his latest reinterpretation is even better. Feel free to share your feedback in the comments section, and thanks as always to Chris for all his hard work.
I’ll have more new developments soon, so stay tuned.
Now that we know metaphors can be powerful persuasion tools, let’s make sure everyone is on the same page from a definitional standpoint. Common sources of confusion for the metaphorically inclined include the simile and the analogy.
While all three are closely related, it’s smart to understand the differences. The distinctions among metaphors, similes and analogies will also help to underscore why you may want to use one and not the other in certain situations.