The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts

by Marian Schembari on October 18, 2010


What if I’m not the superhero? What if I’m the bad guy?

~Edward Cullen

Aaaah, the Metaphor Post.

If you’ve never had a post go “viral,” try dipping your blogging toe into the world of metaphors for a sneak peak at what it feels like to have your content repeatedly shared within the blogosphere.

Why are they so popular? While they tend to say the same things over and over, a combination of namedropping and SEO juice has made them the most popular kind of blog posts. Well, that and listing “7 Secrets.” Some of my most favoritist metaphor posts for your reading pleasure:

If you don’t feel like trolling through each article, here are my top tips (care of the infamous Edward Cullen of course) and very general advice on how to write your own metaphor post:

Make Sweeping Generalizations

Darkness is predictable, don’t you think?

Here’s the thing with metaphor posts: They usually don’t say anything new. It’s the same advice repackaged in way that’s relatable and exciting for readers. Remember that the century-old Edward has seen it all before, so unless you present the information in a way that no one has read you can kiss your viral post good-bye.

For the most successful metaphor post make sure to mention:

  1. Hard work
  2. Being bold/different/crazy (love this one)
  3. Taking care of your fans
  4. Banishing your fear
  5. Fake it ’til you make it

As long as you reference back to your chosen celebrity your readers will feel like they’re getting new information.

Tie Said Generalizations Back to a Quote

And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…

On that note, to ensure readers don’t think you’re just making sweeping generalizations (we don’t want them catching on, do we?), reference a quote from the  celebrity/movie to drive the point home. While it’s helpful if the quote sounds like it’s referring to your point, it’s not actually necessary.

Tip: Most good metaphor posts start with a line from the movie or celebrity they’re referencing, so kick off with a famous one.

Reference the Success of Your Chosen Celebrity

Do I dazzle you?

The reason we eat up metaphors is because the subject of the post is usually a classic film or ragingly famous celebrity. So of course we want to be like them. Everyone knows who Lady Gaga is and writing about her superhuman ability to stand out makes us want to transfer those skills to blogging. Or Twitter. Or photography. Whatever.

For example, Edward Cullen has ladies swooning at his feet because he’s really, really ridiculously good-looking and doesn’t actually care about swooning girls. So to make readers swoon it’s important to make the blog the most attractive thing on the web and pretend like your readers don’t matter. Now that’s solid blog advice.

Choose a Celebrity/Film/Character That’s Actually Popular

It will be as if I never existed.

Unless you choose a celebrity people have actually heard of, your post won’t gain the kind of traction you imagined. The Justin Bieber Guide to Blogging will be a much more effective post than The Obscure Band That No One Has Ever Heard Of Guide to Twitter. Remember, metaphor posts are all about “relating” to familiar names, characters and films. If Cullen has taught us anything it’s that vampires are always a good bet. Though I’d stick to Twilight, True Blood or Vampire Diaries over Anne Rice any day.

Tip: To find a good metaphor topic simply Google “cult films” or just head over to Gawker and skim the top stories. Tween celebrities, classic movies and hot guys that turn into some sort of supernatural hero are all safe choices.

So there you have it. Edward Cullen just officially taught you about metaphor posts.

To be fair though, I enjoy reading the occasional metaphor post out of sheer entertainment. What about you guys, do you actually get anything of value from these kinds of articles or are they the equivalent of trashy tabloids? (Like what I did there? That’s called a metaphor.)

{Photo credit}

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  • SuzieQ

    I fucking love this. HILARIOUS!!!

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      Thanks Suzie, you rock :)

  • http://www.rebeccaosberg.com Rebecca

    This is so funny. I have a love/hate relationship with these kinds of posts. I do think they’re fun to read, but I also think they’re totally ridiculous. I made one attempt when I wrote a post called The Mad Men Guide to Social Media. Looking back on it, I’m surprised to see it really did get more traffic and press than most of my other posts. Especially since I wrote it in my first month of blogging. Perhaps it’s time to try again as a social experiment.

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      Haha, thanks Rebecca! They’re definitely fun – I do like seeing info like this in new ways, but eventually it just gets to be the same info and I end up skimming the post. That said, your Mad Men Guide sounds pretty cool and the PERFECT example of a relevant/popular culture reference and blogging love smooched into traffic generating goodness ;-)

  • http://johnmichaelfulton.com/ John Michael Fulton

    This is perfect!

    In reference to the first quote: “What if I’m not the superhero? What if I’m the bad guy?”

    What is good or bad? The protagonist and villain should have deep emotional wounds driving their motivations.

    The “bad guy” believes he is the hero, as the sympathizing of the protagonist reinforces the villain.

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      What you said.

  • http://twitter.com/julianowebpages Bret Juliano

    This is as close as I’ll come to supporting Twilight.

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      I’m going to take that as a compliment.

  • Lanham True

    Yeah, these things get attention, but it’s cheap attention, you know? It’s a cheap hook that leads to cheap, shallow engagement, if any.

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      Absolutely 100% – my point exactly.

  • http://www.nevermoresearch.com Mike Wilton

    Twilight and Blogging. LOVE IT! I’m an internet marketer with a love for Twilight so this was right up my alley. Great ideas and great tie in.

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      Thanks, dude :) Happy to oblige. A Twilight day is a happy day.

  • http://twitter.com/marianschembari/status/27731946585 Marian Schembari

    {latest post} The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI

  • http://twitter.com/linkhumans/status/27732158721 Link Humans

    RT @MarianSchembari: {latest post} The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI

  • http://gopopgo.wordpress.com/ Pop

    I refuse to say I got anything out of any post relating to glittery vampires, lady gaga or little beaver. At least not publicly. Baby, baby, baby OH!!!

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      Ha! You totally got something out of this. Say it. SAY IT!

      • http://gopopgo.wordpress.com/ Pop

        Fine. Aside from that sparkly vampire, it was a good post. I wonder if I should do a Sarah Palin Guide to Twitter? Stick to your 5 talking points and respond to every mention with a You Betcha or Doncha know.

  • http://twitter.com/leslieajoy/status/27735995008 Leslie A. Joy

    RT @MarianSchembari: {latest post} The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI < Loving this post.

  • http://twitter.com/angscopywriting/status/27736756407 Angie Nikoleychuk

    Made me think of @mwilton13 RT @leslieajoy RT @MarianSchembari The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI

  • http://www.sweeneysays.com Nicole

    This is completely spot-on. Love it.

    Most of these posts are definitely just rehashing the exact same information, while employing a different gimmick to frame the recycled material. However, I feel like there might be some sort of merit in that. If you connect with one metaphor over another, the information might take on some sort of new meaning for you. After all, isn’t the basis for what you do this idea that everyone has a unique way of connecting with information? Maybe some people just feel a deep connection to Lady Gaga…and how can you not love Inigo Montoya!?

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      Thanks, Nicole!

      I like the word “gimmick” – it’s so so true. While some of the original posts do feature some good tips, it’s not the same stuff over and over and OVER again.

      There is something to be said though for reframing information. For example, Twitter is what it is. You don’t change what it is, but whenever I try to explain it to someone who doesn’t know I compare it to a cocktail party and they seem to understand the premise better. Metaphors are often great ways to explaining things so they’re clear, easily digestible and often more fun. That said, the blogging world needs to cut it out with celebrity metaphor posts – they’re really not clever anymore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.falchetto John Falchetto

    This is GOLD! Great analysis of much of the posts out there, really sometimes I feel like its Groundhog day in the blogosphere….everyone writes a ’7 secrets to’ something than ‘how to blog like Madonna’. You nailed it.

    I wish someone would write a metaphor post about a really unsavory character, blog like Bin Laden or Get comments like Saddam Hussein.

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      Haha, thanks! Once Copyblogger writes something you can rest assured 50 million other blogs will be following in their footsteps.

      Your Bin Laden post is pure genius – write it! Well, maybe don’t, you’ll get lynched ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/walloby/status/27746603768 Mary Jane

    The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts — Marian Schembari: Edward Cullen provides a combination of namedropping… http://bit.ly/duyJHw

  • http://punintended.com Bamboo Forest

    Saying the same things over and over again seems to be inherent to any blog on blogging regardless of the way the information is conveyed. This is why I’ve chosen to subscribe to very few.

    Nevertheless, I do follow two or three blogs closely in this genre simply because I do so many guest posts on the subject to help promote my sites.

    I enjoy your unique take on things! Booya baby!

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      God, you are so right (unfortunately). There are a few blogs that do it right – for example, the first Lady Gaga post I reference is actually really good. But so many people have now done the Lady Gaga Guide to Blogging that it’s lost it’s charm.

      But I’m glad you think my take is unique – what a compliment!

  • Mike Wilton

    RT @AngsCopywriting: Made me think of @mwilton13 RT @leslieajoy RT @MarianSchembari The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI

  • http://twitter.com/lyricalkris/status/27752030690 LyricalKris

    You know what I love? I love when Twilight invades my work. http://tinyurl.com/25bhlkd The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphore Posts Flove.

  • http://twitter.com/marianschembari/status/27753288430 Marian Schembari

    In which I make fun of bloggers for hopping on the celebrity-metaphor train: The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI

  • http://twitter.com/redheadwriting/status/27753762804 RedheadWriting

    More fun than a Paris Hilton sex tape RT @MarianSchembari: The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI

  • http://twitter.com/dyuhas62/status/27754104688 Diane Yuhas

    RT @marianschembari: The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI Marian, U R hilarious.

  • http://twitter.com/tlcolson/status/27754216559 Tammy Colson

    From @marianschembari: The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI – a viral post about writing viral posts. #facepalm

  • http://twitter.com/pushingsocial/status/27762572138 Stanford Smith

    Guess I am an Idiot, who knew? -> RT @marianschembari: The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI

  • http://twitter.com/nettiapina/status/27772086256 Nettiapina

    Nice post! :) The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI (via @RedheadWriting)

  • http://thomasmcmillanjr.com Thomas McMillan Jr.

    Love Love Love it like Eva Longoria. You must let me know how this post does – you know how to find me :)

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      Haha, so glad. Maybe next up should be a post with Twitter lessons from Eva Longoria?

  • http://twitter.com/vampqueen78/status/27792001335 Vampire Queen

    The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts — Marian Schembari: Edward Cullen provides a combination of namedropping… http://bit.ly/bT8gIC

  • http://twitter.com/ManOfLaBook Zohar Laor

    I guess I’m in the minority. I despise Twilight and I don’t care for metaphor posts unless they have something new or present information in a more understandable way (as you said).

    I’ve read “The Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words” before and, while it’s mildly entertaining, it certainly didn’t provide anything new and worst, it didn’t have anything to do with Mr. Montoya. However, taking a real celebrity/ successful person and dissecting their successful ways is always interesting even though sometimes redundant (after all, there is no such thing as overnight success).

    That being said, if it didn’t have “Inigo Montoya” in the title I probably wouldn’t have stopped by at all .

    Now, if you can blog about “The Inigo Montoya Tutorial to the Agrippa Method” you have something going for you.

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      Haha, you crack me up.

      I’m a total Twihard, but I understand the disgust. That said, you should have seen my traffic spike yesterday. Regardless of the fact that I was blatantly making fun of people who write metaphor posts and there’s nothing the least bit valuable here, my traffic *doubled* simply by mentioning Edward Cullen and blogging. Teenyboppers and A-List bloggers were salivating apparently ;-)

      I agree with you on the Inigo Montoya Guide, as none of the info was remotely different. But you’re also right about clicking on it in the first place. I probably never would have read it otherwise. So that, coupled with my little traffic jump just goes to show that sometimes the quality of your content doesn’t matter at all. Which makes me depressed.

      • http://twitter.com/ManOfLaBook Zohar Laor

        Marian,OK, traffic spiked – so what?The teenage girls who comb the Internet for some movie actor aren’t your targeted audience.Just asking.Z.

        • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

          Ummmm… That’s kind of my point. People who are obsessed with numbers and not the “quality” of their readers write posts like this. They’re not super valuable to their existing readers and will attract people solely because they have a celebrity name in the title.

          I could give less of a shit about the vampire Twitter profile that retweeted me. I think it’s pretty obvious this post was a satire of popular bloggers who take advantage of the SEO juice – I made that incredibly clear. The reason I mentioned my traffic spike was to further prove the point that content doesn’t seem to matter. Just compare you post to someone/something famous and numbers go up. That’s all.

          • http://twitter.com/ManOfLaBook Zohar Laor

            Got it, good points on your part.

  • http://twitter.com/ManOfLaBook Zohar Laor

    I guess I’m in the minority. I despise Twilight and I don’t care for metaphor posts unless they have something new or present information in a more understandable way (as you said).

    I’ve read “The Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words” before and, while it’s mildly entertaining, it certainly didn’t provide anything new and worst, it didn’t have anything to do with Mr. Montoya. However, taking a real celebrity/ successful person and dissecting their successful ways is always interesting even though sometimes redundant (after all, there is no such thing as overnight success).

    That being said, if it didn’t have “Inigo Montoya” in the title I probably wouldn’t have stopped by at all .

    Now, if you can blog about “The Inigo Montoya Tutorial to the Agrippa Method” you have something going for you.

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

  • http://twitter.com/jackiortega007/status/27824306806 Jacki Ortega

    The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts — Marian Schembari: While they tend to say the same things over and over… http://bit.ly/azJhKg

  • http://Desirai.com Desirai

    Oh Edward, you’re so cute when you talk about Social Media– Hey wait! How did I end up over here?

  • http://twitter.com/marianschembari/status/27843333412 Marian Schembari

    In case you missed it: The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI

  • http://twitter.com/paulocamposink/status/27851625808 Paulo Campos

    More concept than content. Why #Twilight #LadyGaga #Buffy #etc metaphor posts go viral & say little http://ow.ly/2VRD4 via @MarianSchembari

  • http://randomchickblog.com/ Random Chick

    You had me at Edward Cullen. *sigh* This is absolutely priceless. I’m going to attempt to do this on my blog if I can stop thinking about Edward Cullen.

    • http://marianlibrarian.com Marian Schembari

      An impossible feat. Sorry, dollface ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/lysscm/status/27866438136 Alyssa Martino

    Ha! Awesome. RT @marianschembari: The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts http://bit.ly/cEKZEI

  • http://twitter.com/severitydesign/status/27867323275 Severity Design

    Interesting article. http://lnkd.in/Fuhz-2

  • http://eeleenlee.wordpress.com/ e.lee

    I see these posts all the time on blogs but now I know the name for them
    thanks!

  • http://everydaybright.com/ Jen Gresham

    Ahhh, now you’ve thrown the gauntlet down. Can a metaphor post be written that has new information? I say it can! And I’m willing to bet a few vampires against anyone who will take me up on it…

    (By the way, I had no idea who Cullen was, which is why it took me a couple of days to land here)

  • http://www.sukiebaxter.com Sukie Baxter

    Great post, Marian. You’re a brilliant writer. This one definitely had me laughing! (and learning)

  • http://twitter.com/elizabethscraig/status/28024222097 Elizabeth S Craig

    The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts: http://dld.bz/2zzY

  • http://twitter.com/rhondalane/status/28024790408 Rhonda Lane

    If you read blogs, you've seen 'em. RT @elizabethscraig: The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts: http://dld.bz/2zzY

  • Harriet Smart

    RT @elizabethscraig: The Edward Cullen Guide to Metaphor Posts: http://dld.bz/2zzY

  • http://twitter.com/mmbizon/status/28423087632 Michelle Bizon

    @copyblogger's "The Inigo Montoya Guide to 27 Commonly Misused Words" http://bit.ly/cRycTa (h/t @marianschembari in http://bit.ly/bP1hc2)

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