With all the information out there chilling in old libraries, on some obscure server, or in some crazed genius’ notebooks, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to write new and fresh content without sounding like a broken record. In our line of work where we need to sell brands, the biggest mistake you can make is to write boring, clichéd copy. From exciting little buzzwords like ‘future-ready’ and ‘industry disrupting’ to painful space fillers like ‘be it as it may’ – as soon as you fall into this trap, you’re more likely to get fired than win an award.
Here’s a list of some of the worst copy clichés out there (in no specific order) and how to ban them from your writing.
Born in the mid-16th century, robust is one of those words that you use as a euphemism for calling someone (especially a woman) fat and off-putting.
Not really something you want to use to describe your brand, except if your brand is fat and off-putting…
When you find yourself on the verge of calling a business or product ‘robust’ remember that Chuck Norris will robust your ass.
2. Hit the ground running
Although this may seem like a positive option, hit the ground running is an unnecessary filler that can easily be replaced with something shorter and more impactful.
Consider something like ‘smooth transition’ or ‘enthusiastic start’ – rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite. Using a cliché like this is lazy and unimaginative and as a creative copywriter it’s your job to mince and remince the words until it’s perfect instead of relying on what has already been done.
When you find yourself ready to hit the ground running remember that hitting the ground will turn you into an instant vine that will be shared across all channels.
If you want to refer to a business or product as sexy, it had better be for lingerie or an adult shop, because no other circumstance calls for sexy. Technology isn’t sexy. A website isn’t sexy. Messaging isn’t sexy. If you’re writing for a business with actual objectives – sexy has got to go.
If you find yourself wanting to describe anything that isn’t nice to look at as sexy, remember that Siri wants you to stop.
4. Think outside the box
Yes, it is important to think beyond what everyone else have already thought of, but using this tired cliché is enough to make anyone start burning boxes instead of thinking outside of them.
If you find yourself trying really hard to use ‘think outside the box’ remember that Schrödinger’s cat would very much like for you to not bring boxes into this.
5. Growth hacking
This is a buzzword to talk about experimenting across market channels – so why use a confusing buzzword that has nothing to do with what it actually means?
If the sudden urge to type ‘growth hacking’ takes hold of you remember that every time you use it, Dawson pulls a horrible face. Children of the nineties, you should know better.
This is by far not an exhaustive list – there are buzzwords and clichés stealing the souls of copywriters everywhere. For your sanity, and that of everyone else, please listen to them: an angry copywriter is a dangerous creature, they’ll describe you (and they have big books to throw at you).