Broken Buzzwords: When cool terms turn cold

We’ve all been there; we’re sitting, reading through the industry’s most prominent news aggregator site catching up on the day’s marketing-musts or watching an influencer’s latest viral video, interested enough to click on the content in the first place. But despite the interesting subject matter and all your will power, you cannot get through the information. Why? You’re too distracted by the buzzword overkill.

You know what we’re talking about – words like “synergy,” “advertainment,” and “freemium.” Words, that, when used infrequently can be stellar descriptors, but are instead often used as embellishments in what is otherwise meant to be simple informative content. With words like “martech” and “advertorial” being dropped everywhere, portmanteaus seem to be a common offender in the world of overused buzzwords. But even non-stylized words from our lexicon can suddenly evolve to become the new it-word. Just look at how “game changer” has been ushered out in favor of its trendier alternative, “disrupter.”

Buzzwords operate in the same manner as our fashion sensibilities; they come and go in cycles. First, they woo us with their perceived cool-factor and ability to aptly describe business concepts from a seemingly fresh perspective. However, just like that unremarkable Amazon winter coat that started appearing everywhere inexplicably, we, too, become perplexed by the absurd over usage of the latest buzz terms. And, in wanting to stay in the loop and for fear of not appearing savvy, we adopt the use of these new, unnecessary terms, just like a teenager who reluctantly attends the school dance to avoid #fomo. To appear knowledgeable about our craft, we start littering these buzzwords throughout our content marketing materials.

Here’s the problem with buzzword overkill: It can clutter your content, making it clunky and hard to digest. Or worse, it can cause us to lose the consumer. With attention spans shrinking by the day, every opportunity a brand has to get in front of a potential customer shouldn’t be squandered on clunky content.

That said, these words can be fun and helpful when sparingly sprinkled throughout your copy. Just be mindful of whether they add or detract (or distract) from your core message. When drafting marketing communications, telling a clear, easy-to-follow story is key to delivering the message you want to drive home. You don’t want to trip up the consumer with distracting jargon that’s used simply to wow. In marketing, anything that detracts from the message is a disservice to your efforts. Just keep your messaging clean and clear by avoiding any inflated verbiage or tech-speak, and your content will always be golden.


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KWSM is a digital marketing agency made up of brand journalists. We specialize branding, positioning and ongoing marketing execution in order to generate leads. Our offices are located in Orange County, CA, San Diego, CA, Las Vegas, NV and Atlanta, GA, but we serve clients all over the country. Read More