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MARKETING TIPS FROM THE PROS
18 banned words content rules

Stop Using These 18 Words and Instantly Improve Your Content

Feb 02, 2019 Melissa Little View all posts by
Melissa Little
content strategy, marketing tips
So, I've been reading this book called Content Rules which was written by Ann Handley (Chief Content Office of MarketingProfs) & C.C. Chapman (Founder of Digital Dads) and they mentioned something interesting that I figured applies to all of us since we're all writing something at some point during our marketing campaigns.
 
Ann and C.C. suggested that the following words are basically "bloated, over-complicated" versions that should never be used in business writing because it makes the writing sound less human and the "writer sound like a tool".
 
Well, since sounding like a tool is never the goal (at least, not our goal) we figured we should share them with our fellow health & wellness marketers who might be struggling to write awesome content for their clients and patients.
 
I am guilty of using these and thought by sharing them all with you, I could keep myself accountable to stop using these words and start writing like a human.
 

18 Words You Should Ban from Your Content Vocabulary Today

1. Impactful
Good alternatives to use instead: influential, substantial, powerful
 
2. Leverage
Good alternatives to use instead: influence, exploit, enhance, rely on, use
 
3. Learnings
Good alternatives to use instead: knowledge
 
4. Synergy
Good alternatives to use instead: cooperation, help, joint, pooled, combined effort
 
5. Revolutionary
There really are no good alternatives. Just don't use it because it's too grandiose. Unless you've invented a product that reverses a significant disease or legitimately changes humanity as we know it, it's really uncalled for.
 
6. Email blast
Good alternatives to use instead: newsletter, email offer, subscriber update
 
7. Proactive
Good alternatives to use instead: active, anticipate, foresee
 
8. Drill down
Good alternatives to use instead: in-depth, detailed
 
9. 30,000 feet
This is a bit too business/marketing jargon-y. Good alternatives to use instead: overview, executive summary
 
10. Incenting/incentivizing
Good alternatives to use instead: encourage, provide an incentive
 
11. Almost any word that ends in "-ize", such as monetize, utilize, socialize, budgetize (exception: Optimize, in terms of SEO).
 
12. Solution
Good alternatives to use instead: actually explain what the product or service does and allow customers decide whether it solves their problem.
 
13. Users
This descriptor is dehumanizing. Good alternatives to use instead: people, customers, or name a specific group of people (your target audience), i.e. dog-lovers, movie buffs, crafters, swimming pool builders, patients.
 
14. Almost any word rooted in technology but applied to humans (i.e. offline).
Good alternatives to use instead: use words that describe what humans do, not what machines do.
 
15. Overused words
Don't use words like robust, granular, strategic, space, traction, etc. They have been used so much in marketing they've sort of lost any real meaning or value.
 
16. Mashed-together words
For example, don't use buy-in, dial-in, end-to-end, value-add, win-win.
 
17. Silly phrases
For example, don't use "touch base", moving forward, and other clichés. Phrases like "let's touch base" are unnecessary. No need to put your hands on anything, let's just talk!
 
18. Offensive phrases
This one is probably obvious, but don't describe anyone or anything as "Nazi like" or use phrases such as "drinking the Kool-aid", which are rooted in real human tragedy. There's no need unless you're actually discussing and describing a true historical event.
 Let's make a pact right now to stop using these banned words and starting writing like human beings. No offense to robots - we know you mean well (or do you?)
 
Resource:
Melissa Little

About The Author

Melissa Little

Melissa joined Radiant with a traditional print and media marketing background, but has since reignited her passion for digital marketing and content strategy. Melissa is HubSpot, Google Analytics, and Google AdWords certified, and uses those certifications to develop incredible campaigns for both Radiant Marketing and our clients. She’s passionate about small businesses and entrepreneurs, minoring in Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management in college. Her focus is on building brand awareness for our clients and generating leads to help grow their businesses.

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