Originally sent via email as a Letter. Subscribe here or over to your right in the side bar.
Yesterday I was in therapy struggling with a really hard decision, and my therapist kept saying “Trust your inner voice. Trust your gut.”
My first reaction, while lying on the floor trying to hold in a panic, was “My god can’t you come up with a phrase that isn’t so cliché?”
My second was “Oh. It makes sense.”
Clichés - the phrases our grandparents constantly repeated, our parents would tell us when we got in trouble, or what poorly written self-help books use as chapter titles - they are clichés for a reason.
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
“All that glitters isn’t gold.”
“Read between the lines.”
“Just a matter of time.”
“Don’t cry over spilled milk.”
Most of these make me roll my eyes when I hear them, but then again - they do tend to be good advice.
Humans are forgetful beings.
We have to be reminded of what’s important and of how we want to show up in the world.
We keep repeating those clichés because maybe one day we’ll actually listen to them.
Maybe I’ll actually “look before I leap” or take the idea that “laughter is the best medicine” more seriously.
This need for repetition is why jingles are so damn catchy.
And why taglines are short and memorable and EVERYWHERE. (Just do it / Got milk / It’s finger lickin’ good)
Repetition isn’t the enemy of creativity - it’s actually a great tool to help get your point across and to have someone else remember it.
When I’m editing my copy I make sure I’m repeating myself.
Having the same idea said in slightly different ways across a website reinforces the company’s mission and service. A reader can so easily forget what they saw on the home page when they’re scrolling through products.
Take a look at your own website - are you repeating who you are and what you do enough?
Or do you say it once and hope the reader remembers?
Where can you be more of a broken record? (<cliché for the win!)