Platitudes are a waste of editorial space.
According to Wikipedia:
“A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement, generally directed at quelling social, emotional, or cognitive unease. The word derives from plat, the French word for “flat.” Platitudes are geared towards presenting a shallow, unifying wisdom over a difficult topic. However, they are too overused and general to be anything more than undirected statements with an ultimately little meaningful contribution towards a solution.”
Whether you’re in marketing and communications or not, you’ll see platitudes everywhere. And for some reason, platitudes are becoming the go-to format for many branded content strategies.
How to Fight Platitudes
Platitude writing tends to do relatively well in social media. A text loaded with obvious statements and no real knowledge can still attract quite a lot of social engagement. People often hit that “Like” button (or emoji-button or whatever) without even reading the actual article it refers to. Their engagement reflects how they agree with the headline and how it adds to their own personal world view1. It’s probably also a psychological bandwagon-effect2 at play, a way of signal belonging to important social circles.
If you’re a content producer — how can you avoid platitudes in your own writing?
As you copy-edit your content, also schedule a platitude check. With a bit of conscious editing, you’ll soon become ‘allergic’ to platitudes and removing them will become second nature.