Top 10 words to eliminate from your press releases ASAP

Press releases are one part timing and two parts art form. Communicating a new product release or company initiative is a challenging task when faced with the PR noise from competitors in the marketplace, combined with news cycles and the flood of press releases before trade shows. PR pros feel the pressure to cut through the noise and clutter by using trumped up words and phrases with the intention to elevate their writing.

Unfortunately, it often has the opposite effect. I’m sure at some point that these phrases held weight, but some words and phrases are so overused that including them in your PR is more cliché than prose.

Here’s my list of Top Ten Words and Phrases to Eliminate from Your Press Releases ASAP:

Leading provider – Everyone, and I mean everyone, is a leading provider of something. You’ll get more traction by explaining exactly what your company does. Does a “leading provider of AV solutions” mean you’re a manufacturer or a distributor? I can’t tell and neither can anyone else who reads that description.

Global leader – Yes, the world is flat but there are only a handful of true global leaders in the world. Are you Apple or Microsoft? No? Then you’re not a global leader.

Communications technology solutions provider – I can’t imagine a more bland phrase to use to describe a company. Seriously.

Robust enhancement – Let your user base/your readers decide whether an enhancement is robust or not. Lofty adjectives don’t elevate the conversation.

Streamlined user experience – I often see this phrase without any supporting explanation, e.g., “Our robust enhancements include a streamlined user experience.” This phrase means next to nothing without some idea of the new vs. the old user experience.

Strategic partnership – The term “strategic” is overused, especially when paired with “partnership.” Most people don’t truly understand what strategy means and will often point out the tactical benefits to the strategic partnership. If the partnership really is strategic, then explain its importance for the future of your company.

{Company name} is excited/happy/proud to announce…
– The assignment of emotion to any announcement is unnecessary. The company is announcing or has announced. Period.

Leading edge/bleeding edge (Bonus phrase: state of the art) – Similar to global leadership, there are very few products or services that are leading edge. This term is so much overused that it should be stricken from our language forever.

Mission critical – Similar to global leadership and bleeding edge products, there are only a handful of technologies that are mission critical to customers. Unless you build tanks for the military or jets for the Air Force, it is a bit of a stretch that an AV switcher or loudspeaker is truly mission critical.

Pious adjectives like transcendent – Are you saying that using your products is akin to a religious experience? If so, sign me up. Otherwise, stop the fluffiness.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 words to eliminate from your press releases ASAP

  1. >Dave,Taking it to the next level? Yikes. And I like your list too.I think if enough people keep telling clients to stop using these phrases, they will eventually stop…I hope.

  2. >Good list, and agreed. We keep banging on clients to stop doing this stuff and they keep at it.Add revolutionary, cutting edge, groundbreaking and my new favorite, "taking to the next level."I love when there are exclamation points used just to ensure readers get just as excited as the writer!!!My own list, circa 2009 and skewed to digital signage: Buzz Not Buzzwords

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