A few years back, Radix Communications published its periodic table of B2B marketing clichés. It included an array of terms that were once impactful… powerful… transformational… err… meaningful, but have since been so overused they’ve lost their luster.
Let’s face it, most marketers use clichès like “game-changing,” “world-class,” and “data-driven” (among countless others) on a regular basis. And while there’s nothing really wrong with these words, they start to lose their value when people use them over and over. If every company said it had game-changing, world-class, data-driven technology, one of two things would happen. You’d either start to question if those descriptions actually meant anything, or you’d simply look right past them. Either way, the words end up not doing their job.
What Are Clichés?
The word cliché first appeared in English in the mid-19th century. It comes from the French verb “clicher,” meaning “to stereotype” and refers to words and phrases that have become worn out through overuse. In B2B marketing, terms such as “solution,” “proactive,” and “leverage” were once new and fresh, but now they’re so commonplace they offer nothing interesting or insightful. Not only have these words lost some of their impact, using them can make your company’s tone of voice sound stale and dull. Of course, sometimes you might need to use a cliché you know your audience will respond to. But just remember you could pay a high price if you wind up sounding like everybody else.
Another thing to keep in mind, it’s not just words that are clichés. People, places, and ideas can be clichés too. The notion of a romantic honeymoon in Paris might be considered a cliché or the image of recent college students working at the local Starbucks. Here again, cliché just refers to something that’s so commonplace it’s become a bit overdone. In other words, instead of new and novel, it’s expected.
How to Avoid Clichés in Your Writing
As a B2B writer, you want your content to have the greatest impact. And while there are lots of ways to do this, say by writing useful information that’s also clear and concise, it can be easy to let clichés slip in. That’s why it’s so important to be on the lookout for them. Search for them diligently and find other ways to express what you’re trying to convey, so your writing is distinct and unique.
One of the best ways to keep clichés out of your writing is by knowing which ones you most want to avoid and then reading your content out loud to find them. It’s super easy easy for clichés to find their way into your content and sometimes you won’t notice them unless you do this.
And sure, it can be a time-consuming and tedious process. Plus, you might not always know that something’s actually a cliché. That’s where a platform like Acrolinx helps. While it analyzes your content, delivering guidance on how you can make it better and more aligned with your content strategy, it also points out clichés. You can then decide for yourself if you want to remove them from your copy.
While clichés will always be a thing, if you want to keep your B2B content fresh, you’d be smart to leave them out of your writing.
To learn more about Acrolinx, check out a demo of our platform.