Top PR agencies know that words really do matter. That’s why crafting pitches that will grab a reporter’s attention but not disappoint, confuse or otherwise lose their interest is essential to a successful campaign. Unfortunately, concise writing that doesn’t rely on using the same old tired phrases but still gets noticed seems to be a lost art in the public relations realm. At Bluetext, we’re careful to make sure that we always keep our writing fresh, clever, accurate, and to the point – without resorting to jargon. Here are eight over-used PR terms that are so tired that it’s time to retire them.
- “Unicorn.” A unicorn in tech PR parlance is the next billion-dollar start-up that’s just waiting to be discovered. Of course, every startup thinks it is the next unicorn. By throwing this term into the pitch mix, you’re sending a clear sign of unreal expectations or hyping a company far beyond its real story. True unicorns don’t need to be labeled as such.
- “Synergy.” We never were really sure what this dog of a word meant. It seems just like more marketing babble rather that a true description of how organizations (or even individuals) can create more value when working together than on their own.
- “So,…” This is a big faux pas and is not allowed out of the shop here at Bluetext. Starting a sentence with “So” is simply sloppy writing. Your argument should speak for itself, and your reader should be able to figure that out without being instructed to do so.
- “Arguably,…” Following on the heels of “So,” this is another one of our forbidden words. As a writer and editor, I see the reason as part logic, part annoyance. Anything that can be argued is arguable, so using the term doesn’t add anything, except for annoying me.
- “Circle Back.” Ok, I’m guilty of this one and pledge to police myself better. A reporter already gets that you are “circling back” because you do so in the email. Telling them again doesn’t make it more likely that they will respond. Let the pitch do the convincing rather than the extraneous words.
- “Honestly.” One of my least favorites. Using this term is a signal that everything else you’ve written hasn’t been honest. Not good.
- “Thrilled.” As in, “We’re thrilled to announce our client’s latest product/service/new hire/etc.” Really? That’s not an emotion I typically associate with client announcements. It gets less thrilling every time a reporter sees that word.
- “Stakeholder.” I’m also guilty of overusing this term. Technically speaking, a stakeholder is someone who owns stock in a company. Today everyone is a stakeholder if they even have a minimal relationship to the company. Calling someone a stakeholder doesn’t really mean anything. Just use a more precise term, like the customer, employee, partner or vendor.
If PR professionals can dial back on these tired PR terms, they’ll be forced to write more concisely with less confusion, and have more success with their pitches.