Use a Visual Metaphor to Make Your Message Stick

You’ve got less than 15 seconds to capture someone’s attention, so how to do you make your message stick?  Earlier this week I advised you to use great visual imagery; in particular, a visual metaphor.  It’s the ability for an image to convey a meaning in addition to its straightforward reality.

But do you need to use a visual metaphor all the time?  No, you don’t.  In fact, the test of a good headline is to see if it can stand on its own WITHOUT imagery.  Having said that, though, every time you can use it, it will enhance your message; particularly if you keep the visual simple (think New Yorker cartoon).

The metaphor doesn’t have to be original–you can use anything.  But be careful to make sure you give credit if need be.

Finally, the most important thing to note is that you don’t want to be too literal.  I used the word metaphor for a reason.  Using a phrase like “climb the corporate ladder” and then showing a ladder is literal.  Try showing someone with their heels stepping on someone’s hand (or head) instead, and you’ve got it!

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