Top 20 PR Buzzwords to Avoid (Again) in 2014

Journalism3-246x300About a year ago we covered the annual “buzzword report” compiled by the folks at UK firm Twelve Thirty Eight, and wouldn’t you know it—they just released the 2014 edition.

You should definitely read their “How Not to Do PR” story, but it’s a bit long. For now we’ll focus on the top 20 PR buzzwords to avoid, which the firm compiled based on the suggestions of hundreds of UK journalists.

Managing director Hamish Thompson claims that the firm’s anti-buzzword “buzzsaw” tool has been used to “purge jargon from more than 25,000 documents since we launched it”, and we almost believe him!

It’s true that the Brits have some slightly different rhetorical standards than us Yanks, but these are all still great examples (and you may notice some repeat offenders).

We’ve added suggested translations…but you probably shouldn’t use those either.

20. Hard-working/hard-up: “Just poor enough to consider buying our products”

19. Dynamic: “Tedious”

18. Paradigm: “It’s like, the whole thing, man”

17. Elite: “Obscure”

16. Hotly anticipated: “Even more obscure”

15. End-user: “Normal person”

14. Influencer: “More than 1,000 Twitter followers”

13. Evangelist: “More than 10,000 Twitter followers”

12. Deliverables: “That stuff you pay us to do”

11. Icon/Iconic: “5% chance you’ve heard of it before”

10. Rocketed: “Received coverage on one or more trade blogs”

9. Astonishing: “Mildly impressive”

8. Marquee event/client: “Known by people outside our zip code”

7. Going forward: “We don’t like dates. Too specific”

6. Ongoing: “Late”

5. Optimized: “Not broken”

4. Horizontal/vertical: “I have an MBA”

3. Phygital: “Click. Swipe. Click.”

2. SoLoMo: “Just roll with it.”

1. Well-positioned: “Maybe we’re a little nervous about the launch. Why do you ask?”

Whew. You might want to check out the buzzsaw itself, which will supposedly strip the offending terms from any press release. Here’s a final quote from Thompson:

“We’re planning a series of enhancements in the year ahead including a suggestions feature. The Buzzsaw will strip out the buzzword and offer a list of better words. ‘Next generation’, for example, would become ‘new’; ‘human resource solutions’ would become ‘recruitment’, etc.”

Well then. Let us know when that happens!

Oh, and please send us your personal favorite/least favorite buzzwords. We’d love to write a follow-up post.

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.