“It’s raining cats and dogs.” “Turn the other cheek.” “Picture perfect.” These are all examples of clichés — words or phrases that have been so overused over the course of time that they have essentially become meaningless. They evoke no vivid imagery because they are so entrenched in our language that we go on autopilot whenever we hear them.
Clichés may also come in the form of taglines and images. When I see a stick figure family on the back windshield of a minivan, my mind doesn’t revert to a happy family with wholesome values and safe driving habits. I’ve seen these things so many times that I find them more of a non-statement than a clean back windshield. And does anyone actually believe TV commercials that claim a product is available “for a limited time only?”
Cleanse your content of clichés
Clichés are so ingrained in our culture and language that we tend to gloss over them without really noticing, which is exactly the opposite of what you want when people read your articles, blog content, web copy, press releases and social media content. Using outdated, boring language is rarely going to make your brand stand out from the others in an increasingly competitive landscape.
So instead of encouraging people to “buy now” or telling them how “innovative” your products are, focus on engaging them in a narrative about how your products and services help people. Perhaps you write a case study about a customer who truly benefited from what you offer. Or, you could provide helpful tips on how a reader might overcome a problem they’re having, particularly if it’s a problem your products could solve.
Red Bull is a company many consider to be one of the best content marketers in the world. Although it’s most known for its non-cliché slogan, “It gives you wings,” the brand also publishes some truly unique and compelling content through its social media platforms and blog content. On Twitter and Facebook, Red Bull rarely mentions its product (energy drinks) at all. Instead, it shares inspiring photos, events and photos, using short but effective descriptions to tell its story.
When developing content for your brand, think about how you can engage your audience. Ask yourself an honest question: “Would I respond to this message?” If not, you need to change your approach to marketing and copywriting.