Want Your Release to Fit In? Use These Words!

June 30, 2010

– by Phil Dennison, Senior Marketing Specialist

About a year ago,  we wrote about gobbledygook phrases — words that are used over and over in press releases and other marketing materials, but serve little purpose other than cluttering up your news. We included a link to the HubSpot Gobbledygook Grader, developed by David Meerman Scott, where you could evaluate your own copy for that kind of language.

A year later, Adam Sherk has taken a new look at overused buzzwords in press releases. Sherk developed a list of 75 phrases, then searched the PRWeb archive using Google to see how frequently those phrases were used.

I thought it would be interesting, since Sherk limited his search to the PRWeb site, to see how often those phrases have appeared in Business Wire press releases over the last year. Below is a list of Sherk’s top ten most-used phrases, ranked by their frequency in Business Wire releases, and compared with the ranking in PRWeb releases.

Rank               Buzzword          Mentions on Business Wire       PRWeb rank
1                  leading            168,000                           2
2                  best*              102,000                           3
3                  leader              96,400                           1
4                  largest             21,900                           6
5                  innovative          75,900                           7
6                  unique              65,400                           4
7                  solution            56,500                           5
8                  exclusive           25,600                          10
9                  award winning       24,200                           9
10                 innovator              866                           8
*Note: My search excluded the phrase "Best Buy," as Best Buy is a Business Wire user and would have skewed the results.

Interestingly, the top three buzzwords were the same, just ranked in a different order. In fact, all of the top ten were pretty consistent, with the exception of “innovator,” which does not seem to be a word favored by Business Wire users. At least not in the last twelve months.

Since these words are so unlikely to add any value in describing your own company, service and products, one wonders why they’re used so often. Certainly, they’re unlikely to be the terms that consumers or reporters use to try to find your news online. Rather than continue to clutter your press releases with these kinds of phrases, you’re better off concentrating on using the proper keywords to improve your search results.


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