So you’re reading the latest post by your favorite marketing, blogging, or business blogger, and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a wild buzzword appears! Within seconds, you’ve become enraged, smoke is coming out of your ears, and you’re about to flip your entire desk upside down.
Want to avoid inflicting that kind of pain on your readers? Then make a change. Stop saying these overused, overrated, tired buzzwords and phrases NOW.
Guru/expert/marketing ninja/social media maven…any other inflated title – See also, “Thought leader.” See also, “webmistress.” See also, “SEO rockstar.” I think you get the idea here. Any of these made up titles do not make you seem more credible in your field. In fact, they just make you sound like a tool. Are you a social media marketer? Okay, then that’s your job title. You are not a maven, a wizard, a warrior, a sensei, or any other thing that would make what you do seem much cooler than what you actually do. Get real, people. You don’t see people who work in retail or sales calling themselves “sales starlets” do you? Nope. So stop that.
Millennials, Generation Y, Gen-C, or whatever else the current generation is being referred to this week – When a co-worker asked, “What else would you use to describe them?” the answer was pretty clear: “Just don’t talk about them.” You could call them (er, us) “the current generation,” for all I care. If there has been no agreement on the age group for this generation, and no agreement on our name, how could you possibly categorize us all by our interests and characteristics? Exactly. Stop that.
Digital natives – This one goes hand in hand with previous buzzword. “Millennials” are often described as “digital natives.” Not only has this phrase been beaten into the ground, but it’s just wrong. According to the OED, native means, “Inherent, innate; belonging to or connected with something by nature or natural constitution.” So you’re telling me there’s people born with a connection to gadgets and social media? I don’t think so, buddy. Yes, it’s true that people are using technology at younger and younger ages, but it doesn’t come naturally. Humans are not born with the innate ability to operate computers, upload pictures to Instagram, and code HTML. Those things are taught.
“Content is king” – When I was in school studying Journalism, this phrase was very reassuring. At this point, now that it’s been regurgitated over and over (kind of like the dog that eats his own poop, throws up, eats the vomit, poops that out, then tries to eat it again, “the one man human centipede”, as The Oatmeal calls it), it’s a little stale. Find a new catchphrase, please. Or better yet, just WRITE GOOD CONTENT.
Viral and/or “sticky” – First of all, can we please think of less disgusting words to describe content that gets spread across the web quickly? I like the word, “shareable,” let’s go with that. Second, if you are writing tips that “GUARANTEE viral content,” you are wrong. There is no way to “guarantee” viral content. As Mitch Wagner says, “planning to go viral is like scheduling yourself to fall in love on Tuesday – it just doesn’t work that way.” Instead of using buzzwords to describe shareable content, start creating your own and lead by example!
Infographic – AHHHH! Stop!!!! Sorry, this is the buzzword that bothers me the most. I get it; infographics get consumed and shared more often. But do we really need to put the word “INFOGRAPHIC” in the title of every article or blog post containing an infographic? Here’s a hint: your headline and subject matter should be interesting enough to draw the reader’s attention. If it’s not, the subject is not any more interesting now that you’ve illustrated it in a pointless graphic. And don’t even get me started on how pointless those graphics are. Most so-called “infographics” are not even infographics at all. The term “content visualization” might be more appropriate, or more simply, just a graphic. It is only an “infographic” if it takes complex data and information and breaks it down using charts and graphics in order to make it easier to understand. If your subject is already easy to understand, just write a blog post. We all know how to read by now. We don’t need pictures to guide us through your web page. If your content is good enough people will read it.
Enticing headline just to get clicks – This isn’t necessarily a buzzword or a phrase, but it’s a habit that’s become pretty popular. It’s otherwise known as link bait, and I’ve taken up some issues with it before. Here’s a hint: if your article’s headline includes any of these buzzwords in combination with the promise that you’re offering “entirely new information about [insert buzzword here],” then you are guilty of this. For some reason bloggers have come to the conclusion that any combination of these buzzwords guarantees clicks, but we’re onto you. Do not say your latest blog post is about a marketing “secret,” if you are just going to simply re-hash the same thing 9,000 other marketing blogs have already said. Do not say your new post is “An A-Z Guide to Wiping Your Butt,” if it is not in fact an A-Z guide.
Have I been guilty of some of these buzzwords myself? Yes. But that’s because it’s the only way to get the so-called “social media gurus of sorcery” and “marketing superwizardheroes” to notice me. SO, marketers and bloggers, please stop using these empty, tired buzzwords and phrases. Readers, consumers, and share-ers of marketing and business blogs and articles, please stop falling for it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
What do you think? Are there any buzzwords that you’re tired of hearing that I missed? Vent your rage in the comments below!