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The Hell That Is Content Marketing Clichés

Do you feel that B2B synergy in the go-to-market strategy? Viral content distribution outside of your wheelhouse?

Last summer’s Stuff Business People Say lampooned all the trite clichés and overused phrases used in everyday business office talk. Some gems from the Avaya promo clip included “Is that actionable?” “Do we have a drop dead date?” “What’s your guesstimate?” “That’s not even in our wheelhouse!” “Let’s get our ducks in a row here” and so on.
These ridiculous, “what do they even mean?” phrases have been in spoken practice across U.S. offices for at least a decade, and there’s apparently no stopping them from being used again and again. But what’s worse is that this insidious practice is now creeping into content marketing work.
Calls-to-action in articles and blog posts are being stuffed with marketing phrases like “one stop shop” here to help you with “all your needs.” And inward-directed mantras about being committed to “thinking and acting responsibly” are in evidence as well.
Ignoble Web-saturated phrases like “killer content” “state-of-the-art..” and “tying all the pieces together…” are being paired with cliché-centric headlines like “XX (things) that will (shock/delight/sicken) you about (something)” to create corny content that disservices your brand or news site. In the end, it’s lazy writing, and it’s not worth paying for.

No more killer content

Content marketers, it’s time to stop! Don’t fall prey to this lazy tactic in your own marketing habits. You’re choking your content of any useful purpose.
Putting out crap content will tarnish your brand’s goodwill, limit your readership and slow down your site traffic. Don’t bore an audience with trite generalizations, overcooked how-to lists and bucketfuls of BS. They deserve better.
The same principles apply to visual content, too. Avoid using stock images and make use of internal teams’ own innate creativity. Start a photo inventory of random images from your staff that can be later used in your content. Use the versatility of the smartphone to your advantage. Don’t be the laughing stock of content images in your industry.

Specificity and simplicity

Pursue “specificity and simplicity” in your content. Create easy-to-follow content with solid, specific information. If it’s content about restaurants, limit the flowery descriptions of the dishes, and concentrate on what makes the restaurant tick, like service, quality of food and overall atmosphere. Let the content reflect on what makes a certain restaurant shine. Hone in on that detail.
Sensible ways to drop clichés in content marketing:

  • Double-check content. Get a second opinion. Content writing that appears acceptable to you may be glaringly wrong from another’s point of view.
  • Avoid metaphors, similes and analogies. Drop ‘em.
  • Be upfront with your freelancers. Share strict editorial guidelines with your freelancers. When editing, nail any lazy writing habits you find.
  • Stay current with content language. Speak the language of your audience or be forever irrelevant.

Avoid these cliché BIZSPEAK terms your content:

  • Core competency
  • Streamline the savings
  • Killer content
  • Going above and beyond
  • Ideation template
  • Readership insights
  • Customer ROI
  • Leadership capabilities


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