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Copywriting language that deters your online audience

I met George Clooney once. He was really down to earth. Proper top bloke.

True fact. He was lovely. I also met Mark Wahlberg, and he was really cool too. It was back in my performing days when I'd get invited to a whole host of glitzy affairs. But that's by the by.

What's your point, Sam?

Okay, we often expect people like George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg to have inflated egos because they're so famous. When they surprise us with an authentic charm. it's a really pleasant surprise. That's because ego is a rubbish human condition in any of its forms.

But you just namedropped and that's like, really egotistical!

Yeah, yeah. Fair enough. But I'm not mentioning it to look cool. I'm trying to make a point. Maybe I need a shovel.

I write for lots of different clients and I'm often seeing the same phrases banded about. When you do the sort of work I do, you often get companies that think they're being really alternative and unique with their copywriting language. In truth, I'll have often just written virtually the same bumf for someone else. Gutted.

Sometimes, this 'SEO-rich' (hmmm, debatable!) language that clients request can make me shudder a little bit, and not in a good way. In fact, it can sound a bit on the egotistical side.

Look, I'm always very honest about how companies can improve their language, and nine times out of ten, I'm successful in helping them see the error of their ways. But when I have to go with any of the following 'brand-driven' wording or phrase choices, my soul cries out a little.

Let's have a look:


Well hey there, Columbus! You know, by using this phrase you're really placing yourself as something extraordinary. And I don't mean 'marvellously excellent' or 'divinely incredible' or even, 'the best!' We're talking about a PI-ON-EER!

Do you even know what a pioneer is?

'Pioneer - develop or be the first to use or apply (a new method, area of knowledge, or activity)

Where are you on that score then, Chris? What method, or area of knowledge or activity have you, indeed, pioneered? Now, if you're a researcher or a scientist/doctor/inventor (and tons more!) that truly has pioneered something wonderful (a cure for AIDS, e.g.), then kudos to you. You have rightfully earned this title. But if you're a construction firm, for example, that renovates beautiful properties, delivers on time, and does a smashing job using tried and tested methods but with no newfound and fandangling strategies, while you're quite right to celebrate your efforts, you're not a pioneer.

When I explain this to my pioneer-spouting clients, they pull an expression akin to the cat filter in that famous Texan judge cock-up! But hey, what I'm trying to say is, please don't call yourself a pioneer unless you've earned the title. It isn't fair on those that truly have!


Here we go again. I see this one a LOT! 'Our service is invaluable...!' Is it? Really?

When I read that something's invaluable, I always expect an extortionate price tag to 'justify' the invaluable nature of the product/service. For me, personally, it's a red flag, and I hit the X. I imagine many consumers will do the same.


I should bloody hope you're an expert at [insert expertise] but you don't need to harp on about it! As a standalone word, expertise is perfectly acceptable. Incorporate it into your sales copy and you sound like you're trying to convince yourself that you're an expert. That makes people think you're not an expert. By now, you've fully deterred your audience as they think you're full of your own importance, a non-expert, and a fibber to boot!

You don't strictly need to refrain from using this one, but just proceed with caution. Try and avoid filling a page with too much expertise by experts, if you catch my drift.


Do not even go there. A guru is a highly-respected religious leader. Unless you're Gandhi, go home and reel your neck back in,


Yep, had this one too. More than once. Behave. You're no more Bruce Lee than Gandhi.

State of the art

If something's state of the art, it means it's the best on the market courtesy of contemporary techniques and cutting-edge (bleuRgH!) technology. Tell us about your state-of-the-artness! Is it comparable to Apple's smartwatch; a mobile device turned wristwatch? Could we liken it to the groundbreaking (genuinely!) stereoscopic 3D and CGI combo that was used to create the Avatar movie? Oooh, are we talking about a robotic leg prosthesis that seamlessly enables walking, climbing, and sit-stand transitions?

If your state-of-the-art product/service is any less than the aforementioned, get your coat. You've been dumped.


Bet you 50p it isn't. The end.

We've got you covered.

Just vommed in my mouth.

Right, that's that then. I could list another bunch of these little gems but I'll save that for another time. Off out now to ninja about in my state-of-the-art automobile.

Struggling to find the right words? Get in touch and I'll gladly offer my unique expertise.


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