Copy clichés to avoid like the plague.
16.05.23 | By Kimberley Killender | copywriting
Copy clichés to avoid like the plague.
The dirty little secret of the copy world is that we all love clichés. But here are the cliché crimes you don’t want to be caught committing.
Pages are being exited, skip buttons are being pressed, eyes are glazing over - or worse, rolling - as your customers are hit with stale and uninteresting words at every touchpoint. Of all the copy sins, using words people are bored of surely calls for a few Hail Mary’s. Or Bloody Mary’s.
Sure, they’re an easy go-to. But we can do better. Here's the list of cliché crimes you don’t want to be caught committing… or typing.
Why does shouting about authenticity sound so deeply inauthentic? Because it’s something you show, not something you tell.
The Cliché: We’re authentic in our mission to protect wildlife.
The Fix: We’re donating 5% of all profits to help protect our Aussie wildlife.
Back and better than ever
The triumphant return of a beloved product, the upgraded experience of a fan favourite, all the hard work your team pours into its creation…ruined with ‘back and better than ever.’ Yikes.
The Cliché: The Chion X20 is back and better than ever.
The Fix: Get there faster with the new Chion X20.
Best of both worlds
Great in theory, but entirely too vague. What worlds? What’s the best part of them? Why should people care about this balancing act?
The Cliché: Get the best of both worlds with Marigold Cruises.
The Fix: Waterslides and 5 star dining in one place. Only on a Marigold Cruise.
Content is king
We get it. It’s been crowned. Let’s move on to the why.
The Cliché: A good content plan is key, because content is king.
The Fix: See how a content plan can boost your brand awareness by 30%.
‘Do more with less’ variations
You’ll do more by saying this less. The question is, what are people going to be able to do more of?
The Cliché: Search more sites in less time.
The Fix: Compare hundreds of hotel sites at once.
Easy as pie
Unless you’re writing for a pie brand (and if you are, we’re totally jealous), you can make this more interesting and relevant.
The Cliché: We make sun protection as easy as pie.
The Fix: Sun protection that feels as easy as a summer day.
Go the extra mile
Go the extra mile and think of another way to express how your offer is adding value to customers lives.
The Cliché: We go the extra mile for all your homecare needs.
The Fix: We're making it easier to find better care for your whole family.
Let that sink in
This cliche makes you sound a little pretentious. Let that sink in. (See? How insufferable.) People will pause naturally when you give them something to think about.
The Cliché: You will spend nearly 10 years of your life on your period. Let that sink in.
The Fix: You’ll spend 3500 days on your period. Don’t spend them in pain.
Brands cannot be all things to all people. With customers looking for companies to help them navigate their options, claiming to have them all will see you passed over in favour of businesses with a less-fuzzy brand proposition.
The Cliché: Your one-stop for all your baking needs.
The Fix: If it frosts, pours, pipes, or slices, we have it.
Take your X to the next level
Another classically vague phrase that gives your readers nothing to cling on to. Add in some narrative about that next level to help your copy stick.
The Cliché: Take your sausage rolls to the next level.
The Fix: A sausage roll recipe to rival Grandma's.
Trending TikTok phrases
Language changes fast, especially trending TikTok language that flows in and out of fashion faster than a dance trend. Don’t get caught out with last month's language, Gen Z can spot Boomer energy from a distance.
The Cliché: Hey bestie! Are you ready for your hot girl birthday queen? Yasssss! Shop with your birthday szn vchr and slay all day.
The Fix: Cue the confetti! We know you can party like a pro, so here’s something on us to add to your pile of presents. Shop now with your birthday voucher.
Part of the family
There are so many other ways to show a sense of warmth and friendliness than equating it to family.
The Cliché: You’ll always be treated like family at Hot Cup Cafe.
The Fix: We’ll save you a seat at Hot Cup Cafe.
This phrase has become cold and meaningless, rather than the polite way of saying “What the hell is going on right now?” it began as.
The Cliché: In these unprecedented times, home is more important than ever.
The Fix: The importance of home has never been more apparent.
We do XYZ, so you don't have to
It’s transactional, it’s stale, and it’s just a little bit boring. (A lot boring.) But don’t worry, we’ve written an example fix so you don’t have to. Wink.
The Cliché: We prepare and deliver fresh ingredients and new recipes so you don’t have to.
The Fix: Our chefs have you sorted, with top quality ingredients delivered to your door.
We do things differently
Don’t we all? What specifically are you doing differently? Highlight that instead of using this ironically common line.
The Cliché: We do things differently around here.
The Fix: We’re the only coffee pod provider that’s upcycling used pods.
X people can't be wrong
We’re not denying anyone the use of customer proof - it’s a great technique for building trust and demand. But if you’re leaving it at that one stat, it’s vague and isn’t truly identifying what you offer.
The Cliché: 250 happy customers can’t be wrong.
The Fix: Last year, we helped 250 brides plan their perfect day.
Passion is a strong, barely controllable emotion. It’s powerful, all consuming, and generally not something you feel for socks or accounting software.
The Cliché: Great quality hiking socks are our passion.
The Fix: We create socks that are made for adventure.
Of course, the dirty little secret of the copy world is that we all love clichés. Don't hold it against us, every rose has its thorn. Used correctly, they’re comfortably familiar and can help frame conversations. Used poorly, and they make your copy sound vague and generic.
Having something new to say, and a new way to say it, is at the heart of every great brand. So if you’re going to use a cliché, at least add a twist that makes it sound fresh and unique.
Need a cliché cleanup? We can help with that.