As a blogger, you have a major problem.
There’s a million blogs out there, more being cranked out every second. With such immense competition, how can your blog stand a fighting chance?
You’ve gone over your blog with a fine tooth comb: Grammar, usage, punctuation, all perfect. Content, mesmerizing. But no one is reading your blog.
Let’s look at how you tell your story.
Are you writing sentences like this?
Exceeding your sales quota is stimulating to your ego and gratifying for your self-worth.
That’s the written equivalent of a giant yawn.
You should be writing sentences like this:
The joy you feel from beating your sales quota is how Tom Brady feels when he leaps over the scrimmage line in the end zone, scoring the game winning touchdown.
Packing your prose with analogies, metaphors and similes is exactly what you need. Here’s why.
Analogies are perfect for explaining a complex or convoluted subject by comparing it to something that people will understand. Unlike metaphors and similes, you can stretch analogies to several sentences to drive your meaning home.
To give you an idea of an analogy’s benefits, let’s start with an example without one.
Transmutation occurs when one element is transformed into a completely different element. Cold Fusion results when hydrogen is added to the element nickel. The result is prodigious heat. This heat can be made into steam which can power turbines that create power. Cold Fusion has the potential to supply inexpensive power anywhere in the world with an ample water supply
Let’s rewrite this using an analogy.
For centuries, Alchemists have tried to turn lead into gold, about as likely as turning a grasshopper into an elephant. Cold Fusion is the Alchemist’s dream come true. When hydrogen, nearly as abundant as the stars in the universe, interacts with the element nickel, volcanic amounts of heat results. This is the definition of transmutation; one thing becoming something entirely different. Heat is a source of energy, meaning, theoretically, Cold Fusion can provide safe, cheap and unlimited power, needing only a steady water supply. Enough power to keep the world spinning on its axis for eons to come: Alchemy achieved.>
Metaphors, like analogies, compare or explain something by comparing it to something very different to show their similarities. Metaphors are shorter than analogies, they often incorporate a figure of speech, and are highly effective. You probably use them all the time without knowing it.
The best way to show you the value of metaphors is to use them in the following examples.
Ralph stood out in a crowd; his almond shaped head looked as if it had been squeezed in a vice, acne scars gave his face the texture of a moon rock and the way he constantly opened and closed his mouth was identical to a goldfish in a fishbowl.
“Susan thought her blind date was handsome and smart, but his smelling worse than a gallon of milk left to curdle in the Sahara desert for a week meant she would not see Bob again.
“My period of indecisiveness was identical to a man who misses the interview for his dream job because he couldn’t decide if he should wear black dress shoes or Converse high tops.
Here’s a metaphor using a figure of speech:
He couldn’t help but feel glad; seeing Bernie Madoff in his jail cell was pure Karma – what goes around, comes around”
Similes are strikingly similar to analogies and metaphors. But they are unique because they always include the words ‘like’ or ‘as’.
Here’s a few examples:
Her singing was just awful; she sounded like a cat whose tail was just run over by a rocking chair.
“Al thought he was a better dancer than he really was; his gyrations looked like someone missing five vertebrae being jolted with an electric cattle prod.
“I thought he was as funny as a boxcar of funeral home directors.
Which Should I Use?
1. Hands down, metaphors. You’ve heard the axiom, “a picture is worth a thousand words” – that’s the immeasurable value of a metaphor: It plants an image in the reader’s mind. Metaphors let the reader visually see what you’re writing.
Here’s an example without a metaphor:
She couldn’t think straight.
Adding a metaphor:
She couldn’t think straight; her mind was spinning faster than a tornado.
Readers see the tornado in their minds; it communicates with great precision.
Metaphors make your blog sparkle and shine; they’re brilliant.
2. Analogies are perfect when you need to explain a subject that is hard to understand. You have a greater chance of having a broad spectrum of readers comprehend the complex topic by comparing it to something that everyone knows. You also have two or three sentences to convey your thoughts.
3. Similes are what you will unconsciously write first but are best to avoid. Why? The two words that identify a simile, like and as, take away the immediacy of a metaphor. Rather than the reader visualizing something on their own, having the author say “like” or “as” means the author is telling the reader what the metaphor is, not unlike going to the movies and being forced to wait in the lobby while someone tells you what’s happening on the screen. Here’s a metaphor describing a simile: “The way a simile robs your words of their immediacy is the difference between eating a pizza fresh out of the oven compared to heating up a frozen pizza from the grocery store.”
When Not to Use Metaphors
Easy! Just avoid trite clichés. A few horrible offenders:
- I’m just sayin’
- My bad
- I got your back
Your blog should have a fresh, original voice, and not recycle aphorisms that everyone in the world is saying, like parrots.
Last but Not Least
Analogies and metaphors (sorry, similes) not only resurrect dead, boring text, but they define excellent writing. They are perfect for all sorts of writing; marketing, technical, finance, healthcare, prose: you name it. Metaphors and analogies will enhance what you write and only make it better. They’ll not only entice readers to read your blog, but keep them coming back. Best of all, your new fans will spread the word about your metaphor enriched blog and soon you’ll be in the blogging stratosphere of success.