Hype fatigue

I have just received an email with the subject line ‘5 Crazy-Effective Ways to Boost Landing Page Conversions’. I thought: ‘Crazy effective, really? Can that be true?’

After clicking on the link I reached a page with the headline 5 Super-Secret, Crazy Effective Ways to Get More Conversions from Your Landing Pages.


So this information is not just Crazy Effective. No, it’s also Super-Secret. And I’m in on the Super-Secret!

The fact is, I clicked through because I was exasperated by the exaggeration. I wanted to see if these five ways to boost your landing pages were really that extraordinary – and I knew, from sad experience, that they wouldn’t in fact be crazy effective. Or, as we like to say in the UK, crazily effective.

Crazy/crazily is a pretty powerful intensifier, like its synonym insanely. It’s very now, very post social media. Sites like BuzzFeed make a habit of headlines like this. It’s part of the trend for headlines so colloquial they barely look written.

Instant example: Spotify Just Revealed Which Musical Artist Each State Plays The Most And I’m Kind Of Shocked. Love that ‘kind of’ there, just to make it even more colloquial and, you know, uncontrived. Whereas all those boring old media outlets like, let’s say, the Washington Post, continue to use old fashioned headlines that sound formal and accurate and outdated. Except that online papers like the Daily Telegraph are starting to follow the trend, and tabloids even more so.

Another BuzzFeed example: 26 Absolutely Perfect Ways For Millennials To Show How Old They Are. Did it really need to say ‘absolutely’ as well as perfect? Of course not. It’s a style. It’s a very conscious choice of tone of voice. Supposedly it’s how millennials talk, I guess. It’s certainly how many millennials write.

So hype is becoming normal in writing. We’re in a kind of exaggeration arms race.

But in business writing, like the email I just received, it can feel try-hard. Straining for effect. Desperate, even.

These people aren’t content with telling me that here are some tips for improving my landing pages. These aren’t even ‘killer’ tips. They’re Crazy Effective ones. And they’re also Super-Secret.

I’ve had enough of it. True, I clicked through from the email. But I didn’t go any further than the landing page I reached. Which was kind of ironic, seeing as it should have been Crazy Effective.

Businesses that want to be seen as credible should be careful which online styles they ape. Maybe we’ve reached peak hype. I’m certainly feeling hype fatigue, and I bet others are too.