Hopefully I’ve sold you on the benefits of using metaphors when blogging, and you know the differences between metaphors, similes, and analogies.
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.
That’s the power of metaphor in a headline. For examples of titles that employ both metaphor and descriptive beneficial copy, one only has to look at best-selling business books:
- Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
- Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide
- Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant
Perhaps you avoided metaphor in your headline, but want to open strong by creating an engaging visual representation in the reader’s mind. Use a metaphor to suck people into the body of your content.
Here’s an example from Anne Miller’s Metaphorically Selling that begins an examination of the dot com bust and resulting economic downturn:
In Arizona there’s an old graveyard known as Boot Hill where lots of slow-on-the-draw gunslingers are buried. One of the headstones reads ‘I knew this was going to happen, but not so soon.’
The same could be said about the U.S. economy, which has gone through a wrenching contraction. I don’t know anyone who thought the hyperbole of 2000 could last, but no one thought things would drop as fast as they did.
One might even make an entire post metaphorically themed, from the headline through the close. In either a fortuitous coincidence or the most sublime form of link baiting ever, Todd Malicoat gives us an example today with 10 Ways Competitive Webmastering is Like the 2007 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons.
Todd uses multiple metaphors to show how building a successful website is analogous to a championship basketball team. Rather than falling into the sports metaphor trap of worn-out clichés, Todd keeps his comparisons fresh and distinctive throughout the post. His only mistake is assuming the Detroit Pistons will be this year’s NBA Champions — that’s just silly.
You know that you should back up your beneficial promises and assertions with hard data and specific facts when attempting to persuade. Nothing speaks louder than the numbers, and yet the full force and effect of those numbers is often lost on the reader. Metaphors make the numbers relevant, concrete and memorable.
- How much is a trillion dollars? It’s a stack of thousand dollar bills 67 miles high (Ronald Reagan’s early 1980s illustration of the national debt—that stack is now almost 600 miles high today).
- We lose one acre of rainforest every second. Imagine a giant invader from space, clomping across the rain forests of the world with football field size feet—going boom, boom, boom every second—would we react? That’s essentially what’s going on right now (Al Gore’s vivid characterization of rain forest loss).
Metaphors make for great closers because, when well constructed, they provide powerful summaries and vivid recommendations. If applicable, you can follow up with a specific call to action that tells your reader what to do next.
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