Overused Words

  • Stick to the facts…/images/angela_july_2012.jpg

    The US PR firm, Shift Communications, recently revealed the ‘top 50 most overused words in press releases in 2013’ – which it did by analysing 62,768 news releases (in an automated process, I believe…). Just so you know, the top five words the company came up with (once it had removed the, and, or, a etc) were:

    1. New

    2. First

    3. Mobile

    4. Professional

    5. Most

    ‘New’ was way out in front – having appeared 110,059 times, compared with 56,724 for first. I always remember an old editor of mine telling me never to use the word ‘new’ in any articles I was writing... I think she was busy throwing press releases in the bin at the time, which began: “ABC has just launched a new xxx” “Of course it’s new, if it’s just been launched,” I can hear her grumbling 20 years later.

    Over-hyping any product or service you are writing about should also be avoided – as it simply looks as if you are trying too hard. There are many ways of explaining how great something is without stating that it’s ‘ground-breaking’ or ‘revolutionary’. The facts should speak for themselves.

    Another editor I worked with always suggested that, at the end of quotes, I stuck with ‘said and says’ and didn’t come up with endless other variations, such as ‘exclaimed’, ‘uttered’ or ‘drooled’. The reason behind this, they explained (I’ll let that one go) is that it stops the reader mid-flow. If you stick with ‘said’, they keep reading.

    Jargon is something which should also be avoided. There’s jargon in every industry – but one should always assume that readers are not familiar with it and, if you use any acronyms, they should be written out in full in the first instance.

    Also, don’t fall into the trap of using over-complicated phrases or words, because you think it’ll make your piece sound more intelligent. If an editor has to consultant a dictionary to get to the end of your press release, then they will probably have got bored with it by the second paragraph.

    There is a danger, on the other hand, of using the same words over and over again. I had another editor who always described any cocktail reception he attended as ‘sparkling’ – which made the rest of the editorial team snigger quietly. It’s really a case of finding a balance when writing – keep the language you use simple, yet make it interesting and engaging. That’s quite a skill.

    When it comes to the language you use in press releases, my advice would be:

    1. Don’t overcomplicate your writing – because you think it makes you look clever.

    2. Don’t over-hype your new product or service – particularly by stating that it’s ‘groundbreaking’, ‘cutting-edge’, ‘innovative’ or ‘revolutionary’

    3. Avoid jargon or acronyms

    4. Don’t fall into the trap of using the same words over and over again – such as new or first. But, at the same time, keep the language simple.

    At the end of the day, a press release will only be used on the basis of the facts presented and how newsworthy it happens to be.

Related articles

  • Read More

    SharpSpring launches visual workflow builder to enhance lead generation and sales

    SharpSpring recently announced the launch of their Visual Workflow builder. The new feature intends to make the process for creating workflows easier and brings it in line with the likes of Pardot...

  • Read More

    Why can’t we make faster business decisions?

    Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Blink, argues that the lengthy procrastination that often takes place in decision-making is ‘post self-justification’, because we actually make up our minds pretty...

  • Read More

    Marketing activity so bad it’s quite literally criminal

    A news article came out through the Bangkok Post (we found it through The Verge) last week about the arrest of three Chinese nationals. The trio had been paid over £10,000 a month to run a...

  • Read More

    Jason Dilworth joins The Marketing Eye to develop technical capability

    Financial services marketing agency, The Marketing Eye, has appointed Jason Dilworth to the new role of Technical Director in a move designed to expand and develop the company’s data-driven...

  • Read More

    A third of B2B marketers are tracking sales through social

    For an industry whose origins and continuing existence rely heavily on the accurate analysis of statistics, the insurance sector would do well to note the seismic shift taking place in modern...

  • Read More

    Repeat, Repeat, Repeat – 4 reasons to keep contacting the same prospect list

    Asking someone to buy your product or sign up to your service after only one mail-shot or email is unrealistic. We can’t expect that one email, no matter how carefully crafted, will be enough to...

  • Read More

    Promoting video content on social media

    So, your business has splashed out on a big, beautiful high quality piece of video content, you are going to want to stretch it as far as it will go, right? Then don’t do what everyone else does...

  • Read More

    Four Facebook ad campaigns you should be running to attract and retain investors

    With around one-fifth of the world’s population on Facebook, you would think generating brand awareness and leads from it would be a piece of cake. The reality is less straight forward. With a...

  • Read More

    6 quick wins when you first sign up to marketing automation

    Marketing automation systems are powerful, intelligent and the bedrock of many businesses' marketing strategies, but getting to learn and understand them takes time and dedication. Not becoming...

  • Read More

    7 characteristics of social media implementation in B2B marketing

    If you look for evidence of the potential benefits to B2B organisations of social media, you will see both lead generation, as well as brand reinforcement are being addressed to great advantage....

Take the first step

To find out more about how we can help you grow faster, please get in touch. We'd like to hear from you.  Or try our instant marketing healthcheck, it's free!

Quick Contact

Quick contact


Contact us

T 01825 765617

E hello@themarketingeye.com

Our offices

Full details of our offices in London and Uckfield more

Request a call