Analogy Banality

Trained in Graphic Design and a Copywriter by trade, Larner has worked for some of the world’s biggest agencies, including WWAV Rapp Collins and TMP Worldwide. He’s enjoyed spells as Creative Director at The Black Hole and ripe design(UK), leaving one agency after its best financial returns in its 16 year history and the other having won the UK’s best independent agency in its sector. Larner now freelances, offering copywriting, conceptualising and branding services to a wide variety of agencies and direct clients throughout the UK and internationally. His personal blog is at http://www.ouchsharpcopy.blogspot.com/

Writing damned good SEO copy is a lot like making love to a beautiful woman. Double-check your briefs; make sure there are no holes. Be attentive; ask all the right questions. Find somewhere comfortable and don’t rush. Give heads plenty of care. Caress the body with a few well-practised strokes but always, always, say the right thing at the right time.

Writing regular blog posts on a subject is a lot like joining a gym in January. You start off with the best intentions, full of ideas of knocking out three sessions a week, sticking to the plan but maybe throwing in a little boxercise just to mix it up a little. But by Valentine’s Day, you’ve run out of steam, noticed next to no change and you’ve completely fallen out of love with the whole goddam thing.

That’s because regular blogging is hard.

Ask all the individuals who set up their nicely laid-out Blogger and Wordpress pages; ask all the agencies who get together for the big We-Must-Have-A-Blog-Now Pow-Wow, nominate Claire in Accounts as their Posting Custodian and then realise that paid work from those pesky clients is getting in the way – AGAIN.

Of course, there are plenty more reasons why organisations and individuals can’t maintain the will – as Smart Insights’ Dave Chaffey talks about here – but there are also plenty of ways you can keep it up – as Swiss Tony will tell you.

* Forget about size – there’s no definitive rule on a post’s word count, so if you’re happy you’ve said what you wanted to say in one sentence, leave it well alone and hit the PUBLISH button.

* Forget about words – you don’t always need words for a great post. A picture says a thousand words, so if you’ve got a post listing 10 great landing pages – screengrab those little monkeys and you’ve got 10,000 words (all stats are FREE of charge on here by the way).

* On the subject of lists – do a list post. 10 great ways to get the most out of a teabag; 7 and half ways to write killer email copy. (52.75% of all list post headers must have the word, ‘killer’ in there somewhere (another FREE stat)). Andy Nattan will give you his view of list posts here on… oh… his lovely blog… which I can never seem to remember the name of. I do agree to an extent that too many list posts will harm your blogging reputation but, as in everything, moderation, is the key.

And then there’s the good old analogy post.

The one which, when it comes to offering tips on the noble art of copywriting, always seems to come out when nearing the dark nether regions of a barrel. And where Andy has a gripe with the list post, I have just as grumpy an issue with the analogy post.

Because of course, writing damned good SEO copy is absolutely nothing like making love to a beautiful woman. For a start, I like to think I’m half-decent at writing SEO copy.

Analogy posts, by their nature, are tenuous. Analogous copywriting posts in abundance can be tedious; a creative shoehorn with which to force your point in the door; the equivalent of worryingly bad stock shots of jigsaw pieces on a recruitment ad.

So when somebody tries to explain ‘Why Living Inside Benny From Abba’s Underpants For A Week Will Turn You Into An Ace Content Writer’ don’t believe wholeheartedly that sharing space with one of the world’s most famous songwriting scrotums will make you look at writing copy in not one, but two ways.

When you read ‘What Colonel Gaddafi Can Teach You About Writing For Charities’ expect, along with some dubious insight, more than a couple of gags – and I’m not talking the kind of gags The Colonel likes to employ.

And when you see, ‘Why Being A Successful Copywriter Is A Lot Like Being Keith Harris’ expect to read quite a few points, not only that you already knew, but that could also apply to almost any profession on the planet such as, ‘It’s tough but you have to work with – and make the best of what you’ve got.’ Umm, thanks for that.

Or, on a post such as above, you may even be treated to the odd Harris quote like, ‘Yep, I have to stick my hand up there every day, but it’s not the tool you’ve got, but what you do with it that counts’.

Or was it Orville who said that?

The point is, when you start making too many analogies, you start creating too many tenuous links to back up your claims – and the more tenuous connections you have, the less credible your points become.

So whilst blogging is hard – and blogging about copywriting is no exception – use every string on your bow, every tool in your box – including all the clichés – and yes, use lists, one-liners and picture posts. But use them sparingly – especially the analogy post.

Then hopefully you’ll find posting regularly that little bit easier – for you and your readers.

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