How Buzzwords can Sting your Press Release’s Success



 November 2, 2011
We touched on the use of cliches and prop words in an earlier post in the series (see Writer, Heal Thyself! 10/7/11) warning the press release writer or PR professional not to drop in buzzwords or the latest ‘hip’ phrase they have heard but things have become even worse in the press release world!A PR writer named Adam Sherk did some painstaking research recently and he came up with the top 100 most overused phrases in Press Releases and the results are quite surprising.

The top 20 list is as follows:-

No Phrase Mentions

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

Leader is by far and away the most overused term, followed by Leading and Best. Unique features quite highly, as does Award Winning (with and without the hyphen), also Premier, Exclusive and Extensive. Real-time featured surprisingly high in the scale, probably because of the increasing proliferation of web sites and search engines, along with Fastest and Easy-to-use.

The solution to the Buzzword blues is an elegant and traditional one. The most popular online dictionary site, Dictionary.com, has a sister site called, unsurprisingly, Thesaurus.com. A Thesaurus isn’t an ancient Greek monster, it’s a dictionary of similes which can provide you with appropriate alternative words and phrases for ones you happen to be using. It initially takes some discipline to use one when writing your press releases, social media updates and blog posts but after a little while it will become as natural as using a spellchecker.

The results will be press releases that are more individual, more eye-catching and most importantly, won’t end up on any cliche lists anytime soon!

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