Eliminate Buzzwords to Clarify Your Message

I was working with a client recently on some of his marketing copy. The piece was already written; I was providing an editorial eye and suggestions for improvement.

The piece sounded good, but one problem popped up several times throughout the copy, a problem that I’ve encountered frequently when editing pre-written copy.


The word “buzzword” is almost a buzzword itself. It describes words and phrases that have become fillers when the writer can’t come up with a more specific word to get the idea across. Many times, these words are designed to make the business/product/service seem more appealing or more intelligent.

The problem with these words is that they don’t add any real meaning and leave the reader wondering what exactly you were trying to say. They’re a lazy writer’s crutch.

Take the word “innovative” for example. What does that mean, exactly?

I asked my client that question, and the answer I got was a lot more specific than the buzzword. Turns out, “innovative” was something he’d heard frequently that sounded good and seem to fit his purpose.

I deleted that bad boy and offered several suggestions for more specific words that suited the purpose and delivered a clearer message to his customers.

Not that the word “innovative” is bad. It’s a good word when you actually mean something is innovative.

But these buzzwords have become so common in marketing communications that your reader skips over them because they don’t mean anything anymore. They’ve become vague from overuse.

So pick a word that does mean something. Choose something specific, something that describes exactly what you’re trying to express. It takes extra time and more thought, but the effort pays off. Your word will catch your reader’s attention – rather than skimming and moving on.

What’s the culprit buzzword that always slips into your copy?


[Image by renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

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