“If you want to make your writing smooth as silk and solid as a rock, you should avoid clichés like the plague,” quips William Jeanes in the Saturday Evening Post. But, kidding aside, are clichés to be avoided at all costs (oops!”) when it comes to business blog content writing?
Cliches are words and phrases that, according to OxfordDictionaries.com, “have been used so often that they’re no longer very interesting or effective.” Examples of phrases rather overused in business circles include “When all is said and done”, “at the end of the day”, and “par for the course”.
Are clichés ever OK? Angela Ackerman of critiquecircle.com thinks so. “Cliches can be justified when it’s important to get something across to the reader quickly…when the best choice may be a familiar wording that’s instantly recognizable,” she observes.
As a business blogging trainer, you might say my feelings are mixed on the subject of clichés. On the one hand (oops, again), I wouldn’t want to create an impression of laziness or a lack of careful thought, which is a risk oxforddictionaries.com sees in using clichés. But, as Paul Gillin, author of “Secrets of Social Media Marketing” advises, we bloggers need to “make it human”, and good writing when it comes to blogs is conversational. “Write like a person!” Gillin says. One thing about us “persons”, I’ve found, is we tend to sprinkle our conversations with clichés.
At least one of the bottom lines (gotcha!) for blog content writers in judging whether clichés have a place in their content relates to defining the market for the blog. Who will be reading the stuff?
Equally important, who is saying the stuff? Business coach Donna Gunter calls it the WYSIWYG approach (what you see is what you get), referring to authenticity in advertising and promotional materials. Successful content creation consists of capturing the unique style of the business owners, practitioners, and employees who will be delivering the service and products.
At the end of the day, we at Say it For You have come to realize, clichés can be plagues OR positives. It depends.