After writing thousands of blogs for various jobs and clients, I’ve developed a pretty healthy sense of what’s welcome and what makes readers roll their eyes. The list could provide fodder for several blogs, but I’ll cut it down to these five for the sake of time and reader interest. So, what should you cut from your next marketing blog?
When you saw the headline, you probably cringed. It was worth your discomfort to make my point. Clichés become so after years of overuse and abuse. Readers are looking for fresh, quality content with every link they click. If you fall back on tired phrases in hopes of getting a quick smile, you’re failing your readers.
Just like clichés, buzzwords are fun at first. After we hear it for the tenth or ten millionth time, we’re ready to move on. Here’s a quick rule of thumb: if it’s a buzzword—if it’s reached that lofty status—then it’s already overused. Create something new.
Have you ever used the words “but I digress” in the middle of your blog? If so, congratulations for being self-aware. However, you should have gone back and deleted everything from the point you began to digress to the moment you announced the digression. It’s the only polite thing to do.
Most writers aren’t even sure why adverbs exist. Sure, there are times when you need to use an adverb for clarity or to drive home a point. Most of the time, however, they’re the lazy man’s descriptor. Would you talk quietly or murmur? Walk proudly or strut? Instead of adverbs, see if you can get your point across with better phrasing.
I have a “one exclamation point per day” rule. If you need more than that, you drink too much caffeine. With colorful phrasing and powerful words, you won’t need more than one. If you do, you’re probably trying too hard. And never, ever use more than one at the end of any given sentence. No one will take you seriously anymore.
What other bad copywriting habits drive you crazy? Please feel free to leave us a comment here or join the discussion on our Facebook page.