Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

7 Buzzwords and Phrases to Stop Using in Marketing

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.

social media guru

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

“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 a website named”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 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!


Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on


  1. Eric

    Well, you’ve managed to leave Mr. Verbosity, here, without much to say…I pretty much agree to all of this, Jenna. The “Millennial” phrase bugs me the most…largely because it’s such a broad and non-specific time-frame they lump people into. And, to be fair, most (if not all) of my titles are almost consistently much, much more boring than the blogs beneath them. 🙂

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    Yeah, the word “infographic” drives me up a wall – especially since it’s rarely an infographic anymore. 99 times out of 100, it’s just a pretty picture that might tell you something. Just call them shareables. Call them graphics. Call them “pretty pictures that might teach you something or might just entertain.” But for the sake of the internet, do not call them infographics.

  3. Rachel

    Awesome post, Jenna. I can’t decide which of these is most aggravating, but I think the last two — infographics and link bait headlines — might tie for the win. I have yet to see an infographic that expresses information in a way that’s actually easier to understand than a few paragraphs of text. And misleading/exaggerated headlines are super frustrating. Hopefully bloggers out there will take your suggestions to heart!

  4. Amy Swanson

    Great post, Jenna! I think it’s my new favorite from you. When I was first hired here I was so excited to call myself a content/marketing “guru” or a “ninja” but after a year and a half I’m so over it. I’m perfectly fine with being a “content developer”, it’s short, simple and doesn’t require a thirty minute explaination of what I do all day: I develop content. Bing. Bam. Boom. Done.

    Excellent stuff, I really, really, really hope other people take your advice too!

  5. Morgan

    I want to snuggle with this post every night because it made me so happy.

    I’m really, really tired of the words ‘gurus’ and ‘experts’ and crap, especially related to social media, SEO, internet marketing, whatever. Get over yourself, srsly. I can’t take anyone seriously if they have any of those words anywhere in their profiles.

    Tricking people for clicks is something I absolutely despise. You’d think that this tactic would be dead, but it’s unfortunately not. However, whenever someone IS fooled by some ‘fancy’ headline, it really pisses them off and makes them not want to go to that site anymore. So why keep doing it?

    The word viral…literally makes me cringe. This is also a word that I can’t take seriously. “GO VIRAL IN 4 DAYS” UGH! NO! If anyone talks or mentions anything about going viral, I have to completely disregard them from my mind and try to move on before I go nuts on ’em. LOL

    Ok, I’ll stop. You nailed this post. 🙂

    • Jenna Markowski

      Aw, thanks so much, Morgan!

      I’m so glad you agree with me! SOLIDARITY! Together we can take down all of the horrible buzzwords.

      You’re totally right about people getting pissed off when they are misled by fancy headlines. Most comment sections are filled with people raging and commenting “Ah! Stupid link bait!”

      ‘Guru’ is definitely one of the worst, and I can’t take the word ‘viral’ seriously anymore either! I just laugh every time I see it used in an article.

      Thanks again, Morgan! 😀

  6. Matt

    I agree with most of what you’re saying, especially the Gen Y stuff. I recently had to edit a blog article for a ‘content specialist’ talking down to most millennial’s in business– how they’re A, and B, and C… which made me laugh, because this “millennial” was editing the high and mighty work of anonymous content specialist because he didn’t know how to do his job correctly…

    In regards to infographics, I think you’re misunderstanding. Infographic isn’t a buzzword… it’s literally what that type of graphic is called. While a lot are great at illustrating information in a fun, engaging way, there are some drawbacks, largely in reference to the file size. By putting INFOGRAPHIC in the headline, it’s usually an attempt to warn you before you click on it that this image will eat up a lot of bandwidth, similar to NSFW.

  7. Chris

    You forgot the word hipsters also. I though I was the only one tired of hearing all those new words to describe the same thing every year. Isn’t that “amazing”(another word I’m sick of).

Leave a Comment

Copyright 2003 - 2019 Quality Logo Products, Inc., Registration No. TX7-524-201. All Rights Reserved.