Here’s why “Here’s why” is now cliché

Here’s why “Here’s why” is now cliché

Search Google for the phrase “Here’s why” and it returns 5.26 billion results in under one-half second. In the news search alone, it returns 633 million headlines using that phrase to entice readers into everything from stock market coverage to horror movie reviews.

I believe the phrase came into overuse in headline writing as a reaction to buzzy teases that didn’t live up to expectations. It is a format that pledges to give the audience a very specific answer, a promise the writer could keep, without giving anything away.

It’s been a successful strategy, but when “here’s why” messages arrive on a user’s phone several times in a week (or even a day), it quickly becomes a cliché.

Once upon a time, calls to action were even more explicit. Phrases like, “swipe now,” were successful for a time but quickly began to feel obnoxious. The kind of promise made by “here’s why” is a strategy that feels like an offer to the reader, rather than implying that they need to take action for us first.

It’s the right kind of thinking, but it’s now simply overused.

And THAT’s why it’s a broken buzzword.

We should learn the lesson of delivering on the promise in our headline, but writers and editors need to use a greater variety of phrases to achieve that goal.

One alternative approach where I see promise is crafting titles that includes the same question readers are asking. It implies we’ll answer the question and, as an added SEO benefit, it has the chance to match their search term.

For example:

  • “Who won the debate? Voters say…”
  • “Do new rules affect you? An expert explains…”
  • “Why is it not done yet? Construction continues…”

Like every writing strategy, they have to be used in moderation or else we’ll be adding another thing to my banned phrases list.