Metaphors are ideal for business writing on the web because they can communicate an idea quickly and make it stick in readers’ minds.

Metaphors and similes are a quick way to make your point clear and memorable. So when we were writing content for online marketing consultancy toinfinity’s new website, we made use of the metaphor its director, Al, used to sum up succinctly what SEO can do for a business:

If pay per click (PPC) is the speedboat of online marketing, then SEO is the supertanker. It takes a little while to build momentum but it delivers great results in the longer term. Search engines drive more new visitors to websites than any other form of marketing.”

We could have just said that SEO takes is slow to start but pays off in the longer term. However, I just don’t think the idea would have been as memorable.

Using Al’s metaphor leaves readers with a vivid picture of a powerful supertanker. We’re showing them clearly, through the story the images build in their own minds, that although the tanker might take a while to pick up speed, it’s going to deliver more goods than the speedboat.

Just one warning: beware of clichés. Worn-out phrases and business jargon like ‘blue-sky thinking’ started life as fresh metaphors. Invest time in thinking of your own metaphors and you’ll be rewarded with web content that readers find hard to forget.

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