How to Stay Clear of Copywriting Clichés

How to Stay Clear of Copywriting Clichés


Many say clichés have become clichés for a reason – that it is because they work. Others argue the exact opposite. In Stephen Fry’s opinion, “It is a cliché that most clichés are true, but then like most clichés, that cliché is untrue.” Albeit that quote might be a bit confusing, it still rings true. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether a cliché is true or false, a simple fact remains… it is still a cliché.


A cliché can be defined as “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought”. As a copywriter, using clichés means that your work might be seen as the opposite of creative or interesting.

Bad attitudes lead to painful platitudes


We all have used clichés at one time or another, and have gotten away with it. But this doesn’t mean you should continue to use clichés when you can avoid it. Don’t shift blame when it comes to your use of clichés either (as that is a cliché). Blaming the client, brief, or product is no excuse for delivering copy riddled with platitudes.

It is important to also ask yourself: Is the potential damage of using clichés truly something that you want to risk in your writing, even if you do it unknowingly?

Not only are clichés, well… cliché, but there is a lot more to it. Because clichés have become so generic, we can attach them to a wide variety of ideas and that, in turn, makes them ineffective.

Here are some tips on how to avoid the trap of copy clichés.

Critically assess and cut back

Before you can ensure that your copywriting is cliché-free, you must be aware of where they are creeping into your copy. Carefully look at the last 10 – 20 copy projects that you worked on and compile a list of phrases, adjectives, and images that you tend to lean on too much. With this list in hand, go about crafting your copy for your next job, and be very strict to not use any of these words and phrases on your list.

This will force you to find new words and ideas, and compel you to think critically about the meaning and power behind the new words being used. This is just the first step you can take to becoming the fully-fledged, silver-tongued copywriter that you always wanted to be.

Away with templates

Although you may not have it physically written down, most copywriters have a template they use for structuring certain content e.g. website copy or press releases.

As previously mentioned, go over past copy to see what structure you use over and over again and assess how you can make some changes to keep your copy fresh and interesting. Using templates can put a damper on your creativity and your copy can easily sound mechanical as a result.

Personality triumphs


Most copy becomes bland and dull because copywriters aim for a certain type of writing style that does not fit with their personality. It then comes across that most copy sounds like it was written by a well-versed robot.

Don’t always go with the flow… or in this case the cliché. You can stick to your brief while still bringing in some personality. Staying true to your personality will always win over following the status quo.