Unique, one-of-a-kind, best-of-breed…blah, blah, blah. We see this type of marketing speak over and over in press releases and promotional materials. And let’s be honest, we’ve all used it at one time or another — shame on us. But which buzzwords are the most overused?
I saw an item in PR Daily recently using the MoMA press release archive to demonstrate how press releases were much better years ago. That got me curious about which terms are currently being most abused. I hadn’t come across any anti-buzzword content lately so I thought I’d do my own research.
So I searched PRWeb’s press release archive for a selection of overused terms, buzzwords and marketing speak using a “site:prweb.com” search on Google, for example:
I opted for Google over PRWeb’s internal search because internal search results are not typically very good. I chose PRWeb over PR Newswire, Business Wire, etc. because it was among the first search-friendly services so I figure its content is fairly well indexed. And from what I can tell the PRWeb archive dates from 2006 so that is a good way to check press releases from just the last four years.
To come up with the list of buzzwords I started with the usual suspects then got some more ideas from Wikipedia and TechCrunch. This led me to David Meerman Scott, who I realized did something similar back in 2007 and then again in 2009 using a different set of terms and a larger range of press release services.
My list of terms could have gone on endlessly but I decided to cap it at
75 100 (the list is growing based on suggestions in the comments). A lot of what I have included is more marketing speak than technology or industry buzzwords since I wanted to look at overused words across all industries. If there are any glaring omissions please let me know and I’ll add them in.
So here are the most overused buzzwords and marketing speak in press releases based on the number of times they appear in releases currently archived on PRWeb. Any phrases that are sometimes hyphenated are grouped together with the non-hyphenated version (e.g. award-winning and award winning).
|Buzzword / Marketing Speak / |
|Mentions in Press Releases|
|19||easy to use||6,850|
|21||state of the art||6,400|
|48||one of a kind||2,160|
|50||best in class||1,650|
|51||return on investment||1,570|
|65||best of breed||941|
|70||out of the box||790|
|77||hit the ground running||451|
|89||outside the box||226|
|96||never been done||110|
|100||low hanging fruit||69|
“Leader” was the most used term by far — funny how many companies, products and services anoint themselves as “the leader” or “a leader.” And it is not surprising to see “unique” in the top five since we all think we’re special, now don’t we.
I was glad to see “revolutionary” with less than 5,000 mentions. That one was overused like crazy in the 1990’s.
Which terms do you think are the biggest offenders? What would you love to see stricken from marketing speak forever?