The job of a copywriter is to be creative—that’s why they call it creative writing in the first place!
But is the word “copy” in “copywriter” being taken more and more literally? Perhaps so.
Clichés in themselves are clichés. Saying something is cliché is unoriginal. Just about every article title starts “Top 10 Ways” or “Tips & Tricks”. Sure, they are informative, but in all honesty…they’re boring. The titles aren’t the only blasé aspect of copywriting; general phrases are afflicted as well. As like any human, you don’t know something is wrong until someone else points it out. And Inboun is here to point out the obvious to you. We’ve provided two short of a dozen sayings that are overused and need to be put on the shelf for a while. We give you the top 10 cliché phrases of all time:
“It is easy as pie”: Last time I checked, pie isn’t easy to make (unless it’s store-bought from the grocery store!). Not only is this cliché phrase totally confusing, but it is also very much outdated. “Easy as pie” replacement:“Like napping on a Sunday, it is effortless.”“Like hotcakes”: If I knew where hotcakes were sold, I’d wager that the owner would be ashamed to disclose the sales figures. Think about it: hotcakes haven’t been in high demand since the great depression. “Like hotcakes” replacement: “Like an iPhone on release day.”“It’s gut check time”: In sports, a gut check is defined as a striking blow to the mid-section to verify if you’re still able to compete. In the real world this can be constituted as battery. “Gut check” replacement: “If you’re not ready, quit now.”“Don’t re-invent the wheel”: Honestly, who is sitting in their garage trying to re-invent the wheel? Sure, you can re-imagine the wheel and even create new materials that can be used in the composition of a wheel. But when it comes to the invention of the wheel, it is pretty standard. “Reinvent the wheel replacement”: “Don’t waste your time rebooting a movie that was better to begin with.”“It is revolutionary”: We live in an age where words are thrown around despite their true meaning. If something is truly revolutionary, it should have a major and sudden impact on society. The iPhone is an example of something that was an innovation based off of other products. Something cool? Yes. Something that changed society? For its customers, without a doubt. But it was a culmination of ideas and technologies that had already been around. “Revolutionary” replacement: “It is an evolutionary innovation.”“It is the Cadillac/Rolls Royce of…”: What is the use in comparing a product with one that is in no way similar? Sure these brands evoke a product of superb quality, but it’s redundant. Toyota isn’t calling its Prius the “Cadillac of Hybrids”, are they? “Cadillac/Rolls Royce” replacement: “The effort and care put into_______ is hard to be matched.”“Once in a lifetime”: This cliché implies that there are some experiences that can happen more than once. Everything is once in a lifetime. It’s paradoxical. No experience is ever exactly the same. Every moment in life is unique; you’re always older than your previous self, everything that is happening is always new and will never be duplicated. “Once in a lifetime” replacement: “A unique occasion.”“Think outside of the box”: I’ve never, nor have I met anyone who has, encountered this proverbial “box”. The idea of the box is a reference to general common thought. I get that. But this idiom is like beating a dead horse (oops! See #10! Even I’m guilty every once and awhile). “Outside the box” replacement: “Explore an independent realm of opinion.”“The best kept secret”: Add a “T” and drop the “M” from the word “idiom” and you have the type of person that relies on this statement. If you aspire to make a profit off of your business, why would you keep it from the masses? What could’ve been said: “The best you didn’t know about yet.”“Beating a dead horse”: I hope by now you’re in on the joke. Clichés are used simply because they’re easy. These phrases were once original, but because everyone enjoyed using them so much, they’ve lost the zing they once had. So let’s avoid beating the dead horse and instead…“Beating a dead horse” replacement: “being redundant.”
There are many other expressions that have been overused or become dated. These clichés surface because we, as a species, tend to use something up until we become tired of it. Moderation isn’t our forte—though we know the definition, we’ve yet to apply its meaning.
From now on when writing, don’t be afraid to give your copy a gut check. It’s as easy as pie to revolutionize certain clichés. When you’re creating new phrases, it’ll be like you’re re-inventing the wheel on the Cadillac of copy writing. In the long run you’ll be glad you did. After all, followers tend to read articles that are outside of the box. Before you know it, your copy will be selling like hotcakes. Plus, enjoyable writing is something to take pride in. So much pride even, you may want to keep it a secret. However, hiding your talents can make you feel like you’re just beating a dead horse.