The Copywriter's Crucible

Persuasive Writing 6 – Using Metaphors to Spark Imagination


“Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.” – Orson Scott Card

Whether in Homer’s Iliad, Shakespeare’s plays or Rowling’s Harry Potter, fictional writing is packed with metaphors because they’re so effective at stimulating a reader’s imagination. Metaphors are powerful because by transferring the qualities of one object onto another they can enhance an object’s emotional impact by drawing on the reader’s existing thoughts and feelings about the world around them. Metaphors can also simplify complex principles into imagery the reader understands and help them to picture themselves in the scenario you’re describing. Business writing can equally benefit from throwing in a few metaphors, which are regarded as one of a copywriter’s most powerful persuasive devices.

Metaphors reflect everyday speech

A popular metaphor for copywriting is that of chatting to a pal in a bar about a great new product you’ve discovered and why they should buy it. In everyday conversation you wouldn’t describe a product’s benefit’s using the descriptive language found in a brochure, but would use figurative speech to make your points clearer and to help the listener visualise the benefits in their own mind. Using metaphors and similes in your writing mirrors the way people speak. By comparing an object or scenario to something the reader already holds to be true you can help it resonate emotionally, as well as add flair and creativity to your writing. Consider how the impact of the following benefit from metaphors:

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