The demands on your organization to create enough valuable (and relevant) content are greater than ever. So how can you ensure quality when quantity becomes a necessary evil? Here’s one way to create effective content that’s clear, on point, and pleasant to read.
When it comes to when it comes to…
If you’re hard at work on something and you’ve just written the words when it comes to, you’ve reached a special moment in the evolution of that project: the moment when you should A) stop writing for a moment, and B) make a mental note to return to when it comes to and do whatever is necessary to eradicate it.
What’s wrong with when it comes to?
Technically, nothing. It doesn’t cause confusion, readers know what it means, and it’s far from offensive. The problem is that the phrase is trite and more than a tad unimaginative. As a collection of words, it carries no substantial meaning and delivers no memorable impact. Your writing deserves better — and so does your audience.
Try writing your sentence without it.
When it comes to finding a unique recipe, there’s no place like the internet.
If you want to find a unique recipe, there’s no place like the internet.
You’ll end up with a sentence that’s simpler, quicker, more direct, more engaging — all of which are positive attributes, particularly given the unfortunate phenomenon of shrinking attention spans. Eliminating unnecessary words and meaningless phrases increases the chance that your focus-challenged audience will actually receive your message.
Of course, simply eliminating when it comes to isn’t the only solution to effective content. You can easily rewrite the sentence and keep the spirit intact.
Need a unique recipe? Search the internet.
The basic idea: Don’t add phrases that don’t add anything worthwhile to your writing.
Good editing is a key to more effective content writing.
Of course, it’s not fair for me to call out only when it comes to. There are plenty of other phrases that can be filed under “trite”: at the end of the day, in the final analysis, think outside the box, myriad solutions, your unique needs, solutions provider, reach the next level… I’ll stop there because I can see you nodding in agreement.
We all know the offending phrases. We’re all sick of them. And yet we all use them… which is perfectly OK — in a first draft. Use those trite, first-thing-you-think-of words and phrases to move your idea from your head to your keyboard (or pen and paper if you still use them, you quirky little anachronism you). They function quite well as a time-saving shorthand that allows you to keep plugging away at your work.
Just make sure you go back and scrub them out of your subsequent drafts. If you’re not having any luck editing, tightening, rewording, and streamlining, take a break. Clear your mind. Go for a walk. Have some tea. Catch up on Words with Friends. Separate yourself from your writing for a while. Don’t worry; the project will percolate in your subconscious, and eventually — might be a few minutes, might be a couple hours — something far better than when it comes to (and all those other hackneyed expressions) will form in your brain. And that’s when you’ll know it is safe to resume the task at hand. Your writing will thank you — and so will your audience.
John Beaupré, senior copywriter, has been writing advertising and marketing copy for more than 20 years and he’s still not done.