Mike KUB Content WRiter

The Curse of the Cliche

Mike KUB Content Writer Writing Business Messages

“So your key messages might also be “We care” or “We aim to learn each day.””


Clichés can be irritating.

I avoid them like the plague (ha ha), but sometimes they’re true and then, perhaps, worth using?

Take ‘less is more’. Yes, take it. Don’t let me see it again! But actually, that’s exactly what I preach when I’m teaching people how to write effectively.

Here’s another: ‘People buy from people.’ Sounds meaningless, doesn’t it? But, again, it’s a key point when I talk to clients about messaging.

How often do you consider the messages that you transmit to prospective customers and clients each day? What are they? Where do they come from? I would guess you think about this less than you should.

Look at it this way. Would you arrive at a make-or-break meeting with an important client dressed in old, ill-fitting, torn clothes that were universally beige and smelt stale and musty? No? So why provide a digital version of this to greet them each day online. Yes, that’s your website I’m talking about.

Many businesses ‘get’ this now. So, digitally speaking, they’ve bought new clothes, had their hair done and brushed their teeth. But still no impact. Why?
Time to look at the other messages you are projecting.

SMEs often see messaging as the opportunity to impress. So they talk in superlatives . We are the best, the newest, the longest established, the quickest, the largest, etc, etc, etc. This is ok, even better if it’s true, but it’s not even half the real story.

Why? Because (wait for it) ‘People buy from people’.

Superlatives tell us ‘what you do’. They don’t explain ‘who you are’. On the web, people first look to engage and learn, not be sold to. Trust and belief are at a premium. So you need to tell your story – who you are, why you do what you do and what matters to you. Values, ethos, purpose.

So your key message might also be “We care” or “We aim to learn each day.” Not a superlative in site, and all the more effective for it. And, from customer engagement, will come sales and profit. Nothing wrong with that!

There are many ways you can tell the world ‘who you are’. But’s that’s a story for another day.

Aargh! The cliché klaxon sounds again. Irritating, aren’t they?