Indianapolis-based money manager Keenan Hawke must have been reading my Say It For You blog posts on using unlikely comparisons to engage readers. One of Hawke’s recent Indianapolis Business Journal columns is titled "Investing Lessons A Turtle Would Love".
While on vacation, the Hawke family had noticed a giant turtle crawling out of the ocean, then watched that turtle spend an hour building a nest in the sand and laying her eggs. Keenan notes that sea turtles have been around for more than a hundred million years, and he boils down the essence of that creature’s existence to simplicity and patience. The same two characteristics, he observes, are needed for an investor to realize the goal of growing a portfolio on a long-term sustainable basis.
The comparison of a sea turtle and and investment portfolio provides an element of surprise to the Hawke IBJ piece, and at the same time, helps him clarify the points he’s trying to convey to readers.
Putting ingredients together that don’t seem to match is not only an excellent tool for creating engaging business blog content, but also a good teaching tool. Going from what is familiar to readers to the unfamiliar area of your own expertise, allows your potential customers to feel smart as well as understood.
Since the typical web searcher has a fairly short attention span, surprising contrasts help rivet attention. I know the title "Redheads need more anesthesia" had no problem riveting mine, leading me through a fascinating Journal of American Dentistry Association report on the reason redheads feel pain more acutely.
One caution – In composing a blog using the "surprise" technique, look beyond the surprise. Far-fetched can come across as "bait ‘n switch" if the unlikely comparison doesn’t clarify and help readers get the answers they came to find.