Writing is super easy today. Here’s the recipe: keep on mixing a limited set of phrases and don’t forget to season everything with a buzzword or two. Don’t worry that all other writers compose their titles and texts as if they copied it from a shared word list. Keep on flooding the Internet with your “catchy” phrases. Keep ’em coming to be seen, to have your “hot” dish go everywhere.
Yup… We have our barf bags ready. We’ve been fed this pulp too often. We’re full. The taste is gone. We’re dying for a helping from a different kitchen.
Oh, the bland sauce
All the marketing mumbo jumbo is the agglutination of fulgurating excerpts quarried from a convoluted lexicon which commingled together to foreshadow microscopic or no meaning. No meaning…
Stop rolling your eyes. I know, I know. Getting your readers attention is hard. It’s one of the hardest jobs writers do. You want the title and the headlines to be your bait. You want the reader at your table, you want the reader stay and ask for dessert. The question is, will the blah antipasto do its job?
Marketers oversupply us with generic writing. Titles (and even entire paragraphs) that try to say something about a product, but never apply to a specific feature or part of the service. Instead, they apply to virtually anything, including their competition!
I can take some of the titles packed with buzzwords and match them to any paragraph, any product. So, is your job actually done? Will the fuzzwords convert? Take a look at my special list, try to think like your readers and then answer these questions.
Does your work revolve around fixing engines? Are you a mechanic? If yes, then go ahead keep on using boost. It’s safe when you work on vehicle modifications to improve engine performance. Otherwise, stop.
Think. What do you actually mean? Will the specific feature you describe make my work faster? Will I be able to be more efficient? This is what you probably mean. Why don’t you just say that?
Do you need to lift something? Do you think I need help in removing boulders seeded by the glacier deep in the ground? Not really, right? Leverage is one of the most nonsensical words marketers keep on using.
Sometimes you don’t have to say much. Just nail the point.
You probably mean to say, that you offer some sort of a better way of doing my job. A thing that helps me do things I couldn’t do before. Why don’t you just say that?
Terra incognita, an inhabited land, somewhere where no one has been before. So, are you writing about the wild west? Is the subject of your writing or advertising the life of people who start a new life in the wilderness?
I think the proper word here is unique. Why don’t you just concentrate on what makes you unique. Share why do you think it’s true. Is this really, really something no one else has done before?
Are you a biographer writing about Che Guevara? Literally, are you leading the revolution? It’s the 21st century. We’ve seen so many boring “revolutionary” solutions, that, we’re not going to believe in yours. Wait for other people call you that. Don’t use it yourself. Full stop.
Oh, this one is the king of trivial, meaningless speak. Whose game do you mean, and what actually is it? Whenever you use this phrase you count on the reader to complement the context. Will they? The distracted people who don’t read? They won’t.
Hello, rocket scientist. You work for NASA, don’t you? You send your gear up to the sky and it works over there. Sky is the limit they say. The rocket goes even higher. What does it have to do with my business? When I choose your product will you support me with real space technology? Or will you just let me do whatever I do reaching further?
If you love space analogies, take a look how Slack employed it in their page. Note that they actually do work for NASA, so everything their motto says is true.
Is your sauce sweet or sour? Is it just ketchup in a nice bottle? Thanks for sharing your secrets with us. But… did you know that when you tell secrets in public (attn: the Internet is a public space) they stop being secrets? Sigh. This list can go on and on. The repertoire of words which define everything and nothing at the same time.
It’s time to have a serious look at your menu. Check how non-nutritious it is.
Zero calories monotonous menu
The key of a healthy diet is diversity and freshness. The same goes for text. The solution to the meaningless writing problem is to look for unique selling points of your product. Repeating the same words or phrases over and over won’t highlight the value you provide. Look at your product as a whole, express how it stands out from the competition and why.
You know, some phrasing may be okay when used for the first time. However, when you start seeing it on every single landing page or banner, it becomes mumbo jumbo. A boring, empty block of text.
Mumbo jumbo only becomes mumbo jumbo after a while. If you eat spaghetti every day you’ll eventually get sick of it. When you keep on repeating your inspirational phrases they stop representing value. The aroma wears off. The truth is that when you create monotonous communication, it looks like your development team keeps on producing the same things over and over again.
Revive your marketing nightmare kitchen
Challenge yourself. Train your eye to isolate the blah ingredients. Act at once. Whenever you write a headline or a text, track all potential fuzzword bingo candidates. Rephrase. (Look below to download the actual bingo card! Keep our Fuzzword Bingo board at hand, it’ll help you fight your “bad language” habits.)
If you catch yourself using a buzzword, try to find at least two more specific alternatives. These don’t have to be just single words. Replace the jibber jabber with a sentence, anything that carries meaning. Anything that makes your reader understand the value of your solution.
Drop the mumbo jumbo. Trello does a great job of showing their value proposition.
Read the replacement parts out loud. How would they work if they were an invitation to a dinner? Will they let me know what I’m going to eat? Will your new wording convince me why it’s better to eat at your place? If yes, go ahead keep cooking.
Ready to drive your ROI with this game-changer secret sauce? Let us know in the comments below which words are your least (most?) favorite!