September 7, 2017
As writers, we want to create content that ignites action and compels our audience. It’s best to use language that simply and accurately describes your product or service, with the end goal being to educate and persuade. The words you choose make the difference between a message that may be passed over or one that hits home.
To keep your content fresh, avoid the use of words that are so generic and cliché that:
A. Your content becomes boring and doesn’t differentiate your product or service
B. No one believes you, since your words have been overused and aren’t expected to hold true
C. Readers lose interest due to lack of relevant, specific details
Next time you sit down to write that epic (speak of the devil) email, social post or company brochure, check out our top ten list of words to avoid before you let the old standbys weaken your writing and dilute your ideas.
Unless you’re literally breaking ground on a new facility, “groundbreaking” is just another buzzword we’ve all learned not to take too seriously. It does have an impressive sound to it, but make sure you have the goods to back it up.
Before you use this word, ask yourself if what you’re talking about is “amazing” enough to cause astonishment or great wonder. With innovations happening at a rapid pace, very few things actually fit this bill. Be creative and use your thesaurus to get closer to what you’re actually describing.
We all fell in love with this word not so very long ago, but it’s time to let it go. We are open to suggestions for a suitable replacement. Anything except amazing.
There are no varying degrees of unique. Something is not “very unique” or “somewhat unique”, it’s either unique or it isn’t. It is more likely your product has a unique or special feature. Tell us in concrete terms how you or your product does what no one else’s in the universe does or choose an alternative word with less exclusivity, such as distinctive. Consider this also. Man landing on the moon was unique the day it happened – now it’s simply special.
Buzz words that your audience may not understand are never a good idea. I know, it sounds cool, but keep it simple and save the jargon for that annoying dude in the sales department.
This is one of those words that doesn’t add any real value to a sentence. Leaving it out almost always results in the same meaning and makes sentences tighter and more direct. Try eliminating this filler word from your writing and see just how much better it sounds.
The word solution in and of itself is not bad, but it has been used so often, it carries all the excitement of a deflated balloon. When you use the word solution, be sure to back it up with facts and benefits that explain why it’s a solution, what problem it solves and how it solves that problem.
Some companies do respond immediately, such as tech support via instant chat. But unless you are offering true, real-time service, be careful with this one. Instead of saying we will contact you immediately or we deliver immediately, find a word with less literal connotation such as promptly or quickly.
Peace out, man. This was a great word in its day, but it’s been overused for so many years, it has lost its power. Don’t say your company or product is revolutionary, demonstrate it with specific examples.
If you have to tell someone how great you are at something, you probably aren’t. True experts highlight their specific experience, benefits and strengths, and let the audience come to their own conclusion.
If you found this blog helpful, keep an eye out for next month’s where we’ll share our top ten tips on avoiding common grammar mistakes. From exploring apostrophe abuse to helping you get a grip on misplaced modifiers, we’ll do our best to keep you off the grammar nazi “cringe” list.