Just about every style guide worth referring to tells you not to use cliches. If something can be said in a simple, different way, then say it – that’s the message. Then, why does most corporate writing/ business writing sound cliched and uninspiring? Here’s a content writer’s take on the topic.
• There’s no time. It’s easy to string the often-used words and phrases into impressive sounding sentences. But it takes a little longer to get to the heart of the matter, understand it, and communicate it in a refreshingly simple way. Who’s got the time? Surely not the company who wanted it done ‘yesterday’.
• The ‘must-edit’ attitude. Just about everyone who reviews an article or piece of writing feels the need to edit it. Great if one has genuine inputs that make a difference. But if someone’s merely reading it for technical accuracy or making sure it’s factually right, then should he indulge in creative editing? Shouldn’t it be best left to the true editor?
• The iteration cycle. Seldom does a written piece get accepted without many rounds of iteration. Add to it approvals from multiple managers, and what you have at the end, often, is an article that reads like a distant cousin of the original. The calamity: all traces of originality and freshness.
• A jargon-centric view. Yes, the client will understand even if the write-up is not filled with technical words. However, in industries where knowledge and ‘domain’ understanding are synonymous with jargon, is anyone ready to risk a different approach?
These are really not excuses to churn out stale copy. However, in a creative process which has to not just result in ‘wow’ copy but also earn the big bucks, they make a difference.