Lake Superior University just announced their 41st Annual List of Banished words and phrases.
A collection of letters that, when combined, produce sounds and meanings so heinous, they don’t deserve to be uttered any longer. Some of those listed were ‘vape’, ‘manspreading’, and ‘break the internet’ which frankly, is fair enough. Unfortunately, Lake Superior missed one phrase, and the record needs to be set straight.
What is the most overused, and ultimately meaningless phrase in the world of marketing today?
‘We are excited…’
Often used in the context of making announcements about well… something.
‘We’re excited’ or, ‘We’re excited to announce’, has been a scourge of the decent and wholly innocent art of marketing copywriting for too long.
What’s the problem?
Waste of Space
As you can see above, if people find you in Google, all they know is you are easily excitable. It’s also a pretty good proxy for some nonsense BS written by marketing every time something happens.
The problem with ‘we’re so excited’ is it looks inwards to the organisation – instead of saying why the potential customer, user, prospect should be excited, or even vaguely interested in something. It’s a virtual equivalent to giving yourself a pat on the back and taking a celebratory selfie.
It’s an easy mistake to make, as often, the person writing will often be genuinely pleased to share their latest update, their new partnership etc. with the community. But for the rest of the world – those people who do not live and breath the business – the feeling is often ‘what’s in it for me?’
Kathy Sierra puts this better than anyone else. Her video is below, but to paraphrase for convenience, it’s about thinking,
‘What makes my customers feel like they are badass when they use my product’ not ‘what makes my company sound good’.
So, what can you do?
Simply. Write for the reader, not for yourself. Tell them why the announcement is exciting for them and how it will improve their lives. Sell the benefits and not the features. Tell the customer why it’s exciting for them. Make your customers badass above all.
Kathy’s video is linked here. It’s seriously worth watching.
The BLN is now Business of Software
Business of Software runs conferences for people that build great software businesses and products. To access talks online, hear about new events, contact speakers and stay in touch with great ideas, share your email address with us.