Absolutely nothing – they’re both completely meaningless words and yet I see countless IT and tech companies, intent on stuffing them into their copy at every opportune moment.
I remember being at university, sat in the dimly lit lecture theatre as my tutor delivered a class on strategic marketing management. He shared this little nugget with us:
“You should use the word ‘solution’ whenever you can because it can mean anything.”
At the time I remember thinking that this was the ultimate productivity hack because if everything is a solution, my positioning, messaging and copy could never be wrong. And then I started working in the wonderful world of IT and tech, and read page after page after page of copy stuffed with ‘this solution’ and ‘that solution’ – it all sounded the same and left me questioning ‘so what?’.
And that’s the problem – the word ‘solution’ means absolutely nothing because it can mean anything.
The opposite side of the spectrum
Then you have ‘requirements’, which is the other side of the story because before you know what solution to implement you need a good understanding of the client’s requirements…
But what does it mean?
Absolutely nothing, because again, anything could be a requirement.
Sat here writing this I could say:
“My requirements included fixing a sugar craving that caused immense frustration, so my husband delivered a chocolate-based solution.”
Or I could say:
“I wanted sugar so my husband bought me a Twirl.”
In the first instance, the sentence sounds so cold, corporate and full of BS. Whereas the second statement is personal and easy to understand.
Because I’ve stripped out the fluff and inserted detail. And because I’ve inserted detail, it makes it easier to visualise me sat in front of my computer eating that delicious purple chocolate bar. And because I’ve helped you to visualise something, I’ve encouraged you to feel something. And now you feel something, I’ve got you – you’re hooked in, engaged and listening to what I have to say.
If you truly are a subject matter expert…
I beg you to drop the word ‘solution’ from your vocabulary and switch it for the thing you actually do, because it will instantly boost your credibility, strengthen your positioning and make what you have to say memorable.
Rather than use ‘solutions’ think about switching it for:
Better still, go one step further and add a few more details to help your audience understand exactly what you offer…
So for me ‘copywriting solutions’ becomes ‘interesting and engaging top of the funnel content – such as blogs and white papers – that clearly positions and differentiates you in the market’.
For you it could be switching:
- ‘big data solutions‘ to ‘software that analyses big data sets faster to deliver the insights needed for more timely decision making’
- ‘cloud solutions’ to ‘cloud migration that helps you move mission critical systems without disrupting business-as-usual’
- ‘cyber security solutions’ to ‘next generation cyber security technologies that improve your security posture by alerting you to questionable behaviours’
Hopefully you get the idea – switch a nothing word, for a meaningful one and it instantly resonates better with your audience.
You probably think I’m being crazy
As a copywriter I’m exposed to terrible writing on a daily basis, and over time you can’t help but develop pet hates for words that make you visibly shudder – like ‘utilise’ ‘consultant’ ‘trust’ and ‘partner’…
As a copywriter, it’s my job to present you in the best light, and that involves me actually communicating what you do and the value it provides to your customers. I can’t do that if you choose to wrap yourself in fluffy words.
So let’s make a simple pledge today. If we make 1 tiny but effective change to our content, please, please, PLEASE let it be to banish the word ‘solutions’.
Will you join me?