Let’s talk copy.
Few PR pros sit down to write a press release or product pitch giddy with enthusiasm. At the best of times, writing them is challenging. At the worst of times, it is mind-numbing exertion to transform unintelligible company news into something people — any people — outside of the company will care about.
There is pressure to convey how great a new product or company is and why people should be excited about it. And so there is a temptation to fall back on meaningless biz speak, as if hyperbolic gibberish and buzzwords lend an air of authority to the news. They don’t.
Consider taking these five offenders out of your press materials:
What it means in biz speak: A company or technology has completely redefined the way people live or do business. Real-life examples include antibiotics, hypodermic needles, airplanes, telephones and the internet.
What it actually means: Absolutely nothing. With every Tom, Dick and Harry working this word into their press materials, it has been downgraded to a hollow buzzword. If you — the person representing a company or technology — have to describe your technology as disruptive, it isn’t.
What it means in biz speak: New, revolutionary, cutting-edge.
What it actually means: The opposite. As the expression has become overused and hackneyed, so has its meaning become ironic. Its use implies trend-following, not creative thinking.
What it means in biz speak: “This sentence lacks oomph; it needs a little extra something.”
What it actually means: This is just another adverb junking up your press materials. In almost every situation, cutting “incredibly” will make your copy cleaner and stronger. So, instead of saying “incredibly versatile” just say versatile; instead of using “incredibly honored,” just say honored.
What it means in biz speak: “Use,” but fancier.
What it actually means: “Use,” but “use” is a stronger, simpler, more effective word choice. Leverage it instead.
In parting, if you ever find yourself accidentally slipping into biz speak, visit this hysterical corporate BS generator and be reminded that in press materials (as in many things), less is more.