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Straplines. Some people are brilliant at them. They just leap out of bed thinking “Where do you want to go today? Premier Inn? Everything’s premier but the price. Just do it! I’m lovin’ it.

I am not one of those people. It takes me ages to come up with a decent strapline or headline. Before I come up with something good, I’ll cycle through a whole selection of tired and cliched straplines that sound suspiciously like ones I’ve rejected dozens of times before.

So if you’re having trouble writing a truly great strapline, take a look at some of these. If only so you know how not to write a great strapline or headline.

How Not to Write – My Top Eight Strap and Headline Cliches

New Year, New This, New That

On the face of it, it’s not a bad strapline to use come January 1st. It’s got the rule of three, and everyone loves new things. But seriously, it’s lazy, it’s cheap and it’s going to be used by dozens of other people. Just say no.

New [This Bit], Same Old Reliable [This Bit]

This is my default cliche. Entice the readers in with something new and exciting, while reassuring them that they can still get the comfortable old benefits too. And I hate it. Because it’s formulaic and dull. I need to think different.

This Mom’s Secret Way to [Benefit]

Why do headline writers fetishise mothers? If you believed popup ads, you’d think that mums (or, more likely, moms) held the key to world peace and everlasting life. But this headline’s almost sickly sweet. And let’s not forget mothers can make bad choices – that’s why mums go to Iceland.

We [X], So You Don’t Have to.

Of course you are. That’s why I’m paying you to do it. Try harder, put a tiger in your tank or something!

Fresh [Anything]

Fresh isn’t. It’s stale. It’s dull. It’s overused. It’s meaningless. The man from Del Monte would definitely say no.

Can You Afford To [Crippling Mistake]

All this headline tells me is that you’ve read Coppyblogger’s Magnetic Headlines series. Because the only people who use it are those that remember the headline formulas and not the advice about not using the same formula over and over. Eight out of ten cats would prefer it if you stopped.

We’re Committed to Customer Service

Great. Well done. Every single customer expects you to be committed to customer service, so all you’re really saying is “my product doesn’t have a standout benefit”. Are you really being all that you can be when you write straps like that?

Your Number One Choice for [Insert Service Here]

Ooh, choice. We all love a bit of choice. And look, you can drop your SEO keywords in at the end. But really? This is the best you can come up with? Clientboringservicewhoringdamnlazyareyoucrazydon’tpoutjustthrowitout… Copy.

Lipsmackingthirstquenching...

I’m just scratching the surface here. There are more than eight cliched chunks of copy lurking around websites, brochures and radio adverts. So make sure you share yours in the comments section – because it’s our duty to let people know about these horrors.

And knowing is half the battle.

 

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