Let’s be honest—communication can be tough. When you’re in a bind, a well-placed cliche can undeniably help. Nevertheless, using them too frequently can lead to uninspired marketing. Fortunately, you can create more engaging campaigns by focusing on a more deliberate writing process.
In this article, we’ll take a look at why cliches can weigh down your copywriting. Then, we’ll give you three tips for producing original and effective marketing content. Let’s go!
The Problem With Cliches in Marketing Copy
Cliches aren’t inherently bad. We tend to use them for a reason. They can communicate ideas quickly, which is often a necessity when it comes to ad copy. You may even find that your fresh ideas work well alongside a few tried-and-true sayings. When used in moderation, these familiar phrases can help extend your reach.
However, the impact goes both ways. Cliches are effective because they’re non-specific. As such, you’re probably not saying much about your business when you use one. If you rely on them too often, you might find that your brand identity suffers as a result.
Using fewer tired phrases can also help you sound less like your competitors. Finding new ways to convey established ideas may be difficult, but it’s a smart way to underscore your brand’s unique traits. Cutting down on cliches can help breathe new life into your marketing and age-proof your writing.
How to Avoid Using Tired Cliches in Your Marketing (3 Key Tips)
Fortunately, there are many ways you can take advantage of the benefits of cliches without your campaigns falling flat. If you’re looking to add a more captivating lens to your marketing, check out a few of our tips for curtailing unimaginative buzzwords.
1. Try to Make Time for Multiple Drafts
If you work in advertising, you may be used to some pretty tight deadlines. You might not always have time to do as much editing as you’d like. Even so, finding the space to hash out a second draft can be valuable. It can help curate deliberate language for more direct, meaningful content.
One possible approach for more creative copy is to write your first draft without thinking about cliches too much. On your second readthrough, you can keep an eye out for any common phrases. You might discover a better way to get your point across after having fleshed out the entire piece.
For example, you might market your brand as a business that ‘raises the bar.’ While most of your audience will likely understand what you mean, there’s an opportunity to do a little more. You might ask yourself exactly how you’re raising the bar and use your response in your copy instead.
On the other hand, you could build upon the cliche instead. For instance, consider Taco Bell’s slogan:
“Think Outside The Bun” takes a classic saying (“think outside the box”) and revamps it. The tagline emphasizes the relative uniqueness of a fast food restaurant that doesn’t focus on burgers. In similar ways, you can give cliches a relevant spin.
2. Consider Using Unexpected Phrasing and Statistics
A recent study found that ads are more memorable when they trigger insight. Creativity also plays a role. As cliches rarely say anything new, you might want to consider swapping them for less conventional substitutes.
For example, let’s say you’re marketing a product as the ‘clear-cut’ choice. You might want to opt for a less common word instead. Consider using ‘irrefutable’ or ‘unequivocal.’ The meaning will remain nearly identical, but the more innovative phrasing may stick with your audience better.
Alternatively, you could replace cliches with statistics and concrete numbers. Having scientific proof of your claim can be a professional way to influence your customers. Consider this ad from the brand popchips as an example:
Similar to Taco Bell, popchips reworks a common cliche (“guilty pleasure”) in a relevant way. However, this ad takes it a step further by incorporating the snack’s calorie count as a selling point. Using new approaches like this can also help you create more appealing campaigns.
Despite the benefits that a creative shift can offer, you may want to be careful with how far you take it. Overusing complicated words might make your ads feel stuffy. You could also risk alienating some members of your audience. Therefore, consider keeping accessibility a priority while you innovate.
3. Prioritize Your Brand Identity
One reason that cliches can fall flat is that they tend to be generic. Instead of falling back on an old standard, consider creating opportunities to let your brand identity shine.
Try reading your copy sentence by sentence. When you see a trite phrase, ask yourself if it’s promoting the best parts of your product. If your copy doesn’t live up to your standards, you may want to rework your wording. Cutting fluff can also help translate posts to Twitter.
You might try comparing your marketing campaigns to your competitors’ to ensure they stand out. Take the following example:
This ad is colorful and lively. However, there’s also a lack of specific brand identity. Paired with the cliche of ‘one-stop shop,’ this campaign could potentially refer to any business selling gift cards.
If you’re looking for a cliche replacement, highlighting your business’ unique qualities can go a long way. Try to fill in the gaps with specific details about what makes your products or services special. Focusing on your brand identity may also help you reach your target audience with more appealing ads.
Cliches can be a helpful tool. However, using too many can lead to uninspired advertising. Fortunately, by focusing on your marketing goals, you can create fresh copy that will pull your audience in.
How do you avoid cliches in your marketing? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photo by Diana Parkhouse on Unsplash
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