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October 30, 2015 | Katie Friedman

7 Perfectly Good Words Marketers Have Murdered

7-perfectly-good-words-marketers-have-murdered.jpgIn their desire to attract visitors and convert leads, many marketers just can’t resist referencing buzzwords. They love to know which terms are trending and which will (or won’t) improve click-through rates. They analyze studies and lists, and then—although they mean well enough—they proceed to use the latest phrase so generously that they saturate its meaning.

The list could be endless, but I’ve managed to narrow it down. Check out these 7 perfectly good words that marketers have unintentionally murdered, and try to avoid using them in your own content.

1. Thought Leader

Why It’s Unnecessary: Truthfully, declaring yourself a “thought leader” sounds a little pretentious. Consider your buyer personas on this one. Chances are they would rather learn inbound practices from someone who seems more human than vaguely like a dystopian super-villain.

Alternatives: industry expert, specialist, authority

2. Cutting Edge

Why It’s Unnecessary: Using the term “cutting edge” to describe your business often implies that your products are technology-focused (think Apple, Nissan, or Boeing, for example). Subsequently, if you’re not involved in a technical industry, this term might seem misleading to your clients.

Alternatives: advanced, contemporary, leading

3. Innovative

Why It’s Unnecessary: On par with “thought leader” and “cutting edge,” this word is simply thrown around way too often. Furthermore, if you can’t explain how your process or product is actually an innovation on traditional approaches, the word will look meaningless to readers.

Alternatives: ingenious, inventive, creative

4. Organic

Why It’s Unnecessary: Let’s be honest—you’re thinking of produce, and your customers are too. While this can be a great selling point for a food-centric business, nearly everyone else should consider replacing “organic traffic” with a more effective, less abused term. Of course, if you’re talking about actual organic traffic from search engine results, go for it!

Alternatives: genuine, natural, unaffected

5. Leverage

Why It’s Unnecessary: Marketers will tell you all day long that it’s important to “leverage your content”–and it is! But there’s a more appealing way to say it.

Alternatives: augment, elevate, maximize

6. Clickability

Why It’s Unnecessary: You could discuss the “clickability” of a certain page or link, or you could study how efficiently the content is performing. While it’s ultimately your choice, the second option is much more approachable for the non-marketers reading your blog posts.

Alternatives: efficiency/productivity or captivating/compelling, depending on the context

7. Impact

Why It’s Unnecessary: Although “impact” isn’t used as much as the others just yet, it’s quickly rising through the ranks and making an appearance on more marketing pages. Before you get too attached, consider these alternatives.

Alternatives: effectiveness, influence, impression

Without question, marketers are enthusiastic about their work. They exude passion, focus, and adapt to new situations—and words—with ease. However, when excitement isn’t tempered by good strategy, the content can sometimes seem a little overzealous. Thankfully, it’s easy to avoid common buzzword pitfalls and keep your content both relevant and interesting.

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Katie Friedman

Katie Friedman

Though Katie is no longer with VIEO, in her time as a content marketing associate she was our grammar, spelling, and punctuation queen. She used her considerable skill to write and edit blog posts, premium content offers, and much more for both VIEO and our clients.

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