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The Over-Used Buzzwords that Reduce Meaning

Posted on Posted in Publicity

Source: PRNews Online

One word can best describe “new,” “unique,” “innovative” and the other 22 words and phrases on the list below: predictable.

Buzzwords & Marketing Speak

Unfortunately, when trying to make your information stands out, people often get a little too, shall we say, creative with their word choices, opting for corporate-sounding buzzwords. These words and phrases pop up so much that they tend to lose their value and meaning.

Using “cutting-edge” or “groundbreaking” in press releases or other copy when a product is neither, you are doing a disservice to yourself and to the product or service you are promoting.

Holly Arthur, assistant VP, media and public relations at the Association of American Railroads, recommends sticking to the facts and skipping the hype.

“The key is to remember that a press release is only as good as the facts presented and news value they represent,” she says.

Avoiding stale, overused words and phrases in press releases and other copy will remain a perpetual challenge for PR pros. Staci Perkins, director of marketing and communications at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, says that lately she has been focusing more on her writing style.

“Even with our subject matter—foster care adoption, child welfare, policy updates and so on—there’s a way to write without sounding stale, and a way to tell a compelling story from the heart, without those overused press release words and phrases,” Perkins says.

Here are the 25 words and phrases the PR News staff and our community have deemed to be overused to the point of being almost meaningless. Keep in mind, the point is not to avoid these words entirely, but to use them with discretion or find case-specific substitutes. As Arthur says, these words have become overused because “they are so effective in quickly setting the tone or context for the information being conveyed in a release.”

  • Announced
  • Authentic
  • Award-winning
  • Best of breed
  • Cross platform
  • Cutting edge
  • Exciting
  • Exclusive
  • Groundbreaking
  • Impact
  • Improved
  • Innovative
  • Launched
  • Leader/leading
  • Leverage
  • Next generation
  • New
  • Proactive
  • Proud to announce
  • Revolutionary
  • Solution
  • State of the art
  • Unprecedented
  • Up and coming
  • Unique

 

Public relations professionals know full well the extent of buzzword abuse. After all, they serve as the voice of a company or client, paid to churn out press releases with such jargon.

Back in June of 2010, Adam Sherk conducted a search on the most overused buzzwords and marketing speak in press releases. He searched PRWeb’s press release archive for a selection of overused terms, buzzwords and marketing speak using a “site:prweb.com” search on Google.com.

So here are the most overused buzzwords and marketing speak in press releases based on the number of times they appear in releases currently archived on PRWeb. Any phrases that are sometimes hyphenated are grouped together with the non-hyphenated version (e.g. award-winning and award winning).

Buzzword / Marketing Speak /
Overused Term
Mentions in Press Releases
1 leader 161,000
2 leading 44,900
3 best 43,000
4 top 32,500
5 unique 30,400
6 great 28,600
7 solution 22,600
8 largest 21,900
9 innovative 21,800
10 innovator 21,400
11 award winning 11,800
12 exclusive 11,000
13 premier 10,700
14 extensive 10,500
15 leading provider 10,100
16 innovation 9,570
17 real-time 8,030
18 fastest 7,420
19 easy to use 6,850
20 dynamic 6,460
21 state of the art 6,400
22 smart 6,020
23 flexible 5,660
24 cutting edge 5,520
25 biggest 5,460
26 world class 5,340
27 amazing 5,320
28 next generation 4,860
29 revolutionary 4,830
30 sustainable 4,720
31 best practices 4,680
32 leverage 4,600
33 thrilled 4,530
34 robust 4,380
35 delighted 3,560
36 cloud 3,260
37 user friendly 3,190
38 extraordinary 3,090
39 breakthrough 3,010
40 savvy 2,900
41 ROI 2,860
42 legendary 2,780
43 transform 2,700
44 seamless 2,540
45 groundbreaking 2,440
46 empower 2,390
47 scalable 2,170
48 one of a kind 2,160
49 proactive 1,810
50 best in class 1,650
51 return on investment 1,570
52 market leading 1,560
53 turnkey 1,450
54 mission critical 1,370
55 strategic partnership 1,360
56 ground breaking 1,320
57 dashboard 1,310
58 iconic 1,220
59 stakeholder(s) 1,200
60 industry standard 1,190
61 never before 1,150
62 re-purpose 1,050
63 ecosytem 1,020
64 win-win 963
65 best of breed 941
66 enterprise class 926
67 empowerment 909
68 magical 853
69 synergy 838
70 out of the box 790
71 feature-rich 757
72 stack 673
73 cross-platform 524
74 value proposition 519
75 well positioned 489
76 disruptive 470
77 hit the ground running 451
78 disruption 417
79 mindshare 415
80 space-age 386
81 bleeding edge 373
82 exit strategy 373
83 customer-centric 369
84 sea change 331
85 sticky 326
86 silo 272
87 synergistic 246
88 client-centric 244
89 outside the box 226
90 paradigm shift 206
91 peak performance 205
92 perfect storm 162
93 organic growth 155
94 top-down 155
95 next-gen 121
96 never been done 110
97 bottom-up 108
98 solution-driven 102
99 secret sauce 91
100 low hanging fruit 69

Keeping Track through Newswordy

Buzzwords are words that do not typically occur in everyday speech, but are common among newscasters, talking heads, and pundits on cable news.

Caution Please — These ‘news words’ are accepted by audiences for their implied meaning. But often loaded words are misused or used out of context. The actual definitions can be different than what is implied. The website Newswordy is good for identifying them as they pop up. It highlights popular words used every week in news articles, quotes, and tweets.

Posted in Publicity | Tagged as: Press Release

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