Avoid these 13 Naughty PR Words and Phrases

Posted on Posted in Blog, Public Relations

By Alex Altman

There’s a reason PR professionals spend so much time agonizing over statements: every word matters. Whether you’re touting an achievement or issuing an apology, stick your statement by avoiding these 13 words and phrases:

Arguably: This is arguably the greatest blog you’ll ever read.” If your BS detector didn’t go off just now, it’s time to change the battery. Qualifiers usually precede grandiose statements that can’t be substantiated, and therefore come across as desperate attempts to reel in coverage.

Solution: The black-tie alternative to business casual words like “products” or “services,” this word works just fine in business-facing marketing materials but should be kept out of media releases.

Thoughts and Prayers: This phrase has become incredibly polarizing, especially when used to express sympathy after an act of violence. Go with an alternative yet still benign phrase, such as “we express our sympathies” or “our deepest condolences.”

We’re Proud to Announce: Obviously you’re proud — why else would you be seeking to draw attention to yourself? Instead of stating the obvious (“McDonald’s is excited to announce the expansion of our Extra Value Menu”), dive right into the news (“McDonald’s has added more healthy options to its Extra Value Menu.”)

State of the Art: This idiom was once attached to products that represented the height of quality and modernity, but overuse has rendered it just another cliché superlative. Go with a shorter and more meaningful adjective instead, such as “unparalleled” or “rare.”

Outside the Box: Another phrase that’s grossly overused by Corporate America. Every company claims to think “outside the box.” Instead of leaning on the tired cliché, jump right into what you’re doing differently.

During a Time When: This phrase is often used to force a narrative: “During a time when pollution is on the rise, Sunny’s Solar Panels provide a clean source of energy.” This is a weak hook and most reporters will see right through it.

Leverage: Another buzzword pulled straight from the marketing jargon handbook. “Leverage” might work in a business proposal, but not in a statement directed at reporters or consumers, when a simpler word such as “utilized” will suffice.

Innovative: Everyone claims their business or product is innovative, to the extent that the word has effectively lost its meaning.

First-Ever: Is your product really the first of its type? Or is it just a variation of something that already exists? “First-Ever” is a strong claim that’s begging to be disproved. Tread carefully.

Cross-Platform: Just.

Synergy: Say. 

Omnichannel: No.

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