You may have noticed, (as mentioned in my post The Website Cliché Drinking Game) when you’re browsing websites, there are three phrases that are used more than any others. They are:
“We pride ourselves on…”
“We have a proven track record.”
“We have a passion for…”
You’ve probably seen these clichés so many times that they’ve lost any actual meaning. They’ve been so overused that the original thought behind them has been lost – like leftovers that have been so reheated that the original flavour is no longer discernible.
But ask yourself, did these phrases ever have any actual meaning? Any actual relevance to you and me? Well, let’s break them down:
“We pride ourselves on…”. Okay, You take pride in the fact you’re good at something. How does that help me? It just tells me that you think you’re pretty good at whatever it is your business does. Well, excuse me, but I’d like to think that’s a given. If you tell me your clients think you’re good at what you do – perhaps supported with a few relevant quotes – I’d find your claim more credible. And anyway, doesn’t pride come before a fall?
“We have a proven track record.” Really? How is your ‘track record’ proven? Don’t expect me to take your claim at face value. Give me some actual evidence. How about a couple of case studies? Tell me what your clients think of the work you do. Show me the results you achieved for them. And what’s a ‘track record’ anyway? Are you a racehorse? Are you a racing driver? Just the phrase ‘Here’s what our clients think about us…’ would be so much more engaging. Just show me how you can do what you say you can.
“We have a passion for…” Passion. An overwhelming emotion, a strong affection or enthusiasm for an object or a concept. Even though this is the most overused cliché of the three (printers all seem to have a ‘passion for print’) it’s actually the one I’d believe. If you love what you do, your ‘passion’ gets you out of bed in the morning and drives you to achieve great things. But how about finding another phrase to tell us how you feel about what you do? How about simply ‘We love what we do. Which is why you can trust us to do it well.’ And then support it with how you do it well – in a way that’s relevant to me.
Listen, if you want to communicate effectively with your readers, just remember that you’re having a conversation with them. Just imagine you’re sitting across the table from them and tell them what you want to tell them, in a clear, concise and engaging way. No one wants to be talked to in clichés – it’s boring, uninteresting and the best way to lose readers. Of course, if you’re not sure how to communicate your message, perhaps think about commissioning a copywriter to do it for you. We do have a passion for writing.