Over the years, writing and editing construction product content, I have cut out the phrase “a wide range of” countless times.
We offer a wide range of high quality [insert your product type here].
I find myself returning to the following advice: if a phrase is overused – avoid it.
If you are able to simplify or shorten your writing, while still making sense, then cut the word or phrase out. In most cases, saying that you offer a wide range of products does not add meaning. Simply referring to the product type in the plural will do the job.
Manufacturers seem keen to express that they make many different types of a particular product. Sometimes, this isn’t even true!
Sometimes a narrow range of products is OK!
For technical products, often, a relatively small range of things that do specific jobs is (1) offered. For example, there’s no need to say ‘we offer a wide range of earth-retaining products’ if you offer geotextiles, geogrids, retaining walls and soil nails.
Spell things out in plain language. Be specific about the different product types that you offer. Make the information easy for specifiers to access.
Explain what the wide range of products actually is
Products with an aesthetic qualities like street furniture or paving are often offered in many different styles.
In these cases, the company does in fact offer ‘a wide range’. However, people aren’t drawn in when you say ‘we do everything’, or ‘we have every styles to suit any application‘.
Put yourself in their shoes – when specifying, they normally have a fairly specific requirement that they are trying to fulfil. You need to direct them towards the product in your range that is best suited to their requirements.
It is much more helpful to the specifier to summarise or provide an overview of the breadth of types available.
Three of George Orwell’s 6 questions / 6 rules are relevant here:
- Could I put it more shortly?
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
“is offered”? – isn’t that a typo? Actually, it isn’t – more on that in a future post.
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