Let’s face it: some marketing and business terms are just losing their buzz today. Otherwise known as “buzzwords,” these words are known for slowly catching fire, being widely adopted by businesses across all industries, and then losing their meaning and significance once they’ve been stuffed into every blog article, web page and headline.
For content creators today, buzzwords are a double-edged sword, as they can generate a lot of interest and clicks in the upswing of their trend, but can also cheapen the quality and authenticity of your content once they’ve become oversaturated and essentially meaningless. They say everything is better in moderation, after all, and knowing which buzzwords are being overused today can help keep your content fresh.
I’m sure you can already picture some examples, but as a marketer, here are some of the most overused buzzwords and phrases that I’m ready to see killed off in 2018:
Growth hacking really took off as a marketing term a few years ago, as a large wave of companies were getting started with inbound marketing and looking to optimize their website design and ways to maximize conversions. Soon, every little tweak and change was being dubbed as “growth hacking.” Today, it’s fine to simply explain that adding a pop-up CTA increased conversions by 33%, without saying you “hacked” your website or pretending like it’s some secret solution.
While I don’t have a problem with the storytelling style of content that many brands are turning toward today, the term “storytelling” has essentially become a buzzword for “more authentic content.”
Digital natives refer to people who grew up using the internet and other modern devices and technology. To me, the term is a bit pretentious, and really just a way to generate buzz in headlines. It does serve a purpose to help classify a certain niche of internet users, but can't we think of a better term that doesn’t make it sound like the internet is home to a group of indigenous people?
Not to be confused with digital natives, Millennials refers to a specific age group of people, those born between 1981 and 1997. However, the way it’s thrown around today, most businesses translate this as “any young person” and are quick to throw it in their headlines – as the group is often seen as somewhat of a mystery to marketers. While you can’t do away with the name given to a generation of people, make sure you’re using the term correctly.
While I won’t sit here and say that innovation isn’t important or is meaningless these days, the ways brands use the word today can often be very vague and generic. For example, when companies say they specialize in “innovation,” “innovative solutions,” or stress the importance of innovation, what are they really saying? Unless context or evidence is provided for how that company is innovative, it’s kind of just fluffy business jargon.
Why Fresh Content (And Stale Buzzwords) Matter
Overused buzzwords and phrases will continue to be part of the larger marketing conversation (that’s how they achieved their “overused” status), but using them doesn’t necessarily make your content relevant, especially in inbound. With your content being one of your most valuable business assets today, you want it be interesting and appealing to your audience. Most importantly, you want your content to stand out. When you use buzzwords that have been overused to death, however, you start to sound like everyone else and your message becomes generic and uninspiring.
Today’s audience also knows how to tune out marketing chatter, and they know when you aren’t saying anything of value. Your personas will resonate with plain and meaningful conversations that aren’t packed with buzzy business jargon, and you’ll attract more of the right prospects and leads. Rather than focusing on buzzwords that are popular, focus your efforts around keyword optimization and the topics and pain points your audience is searching for.
Pay attention to the other content being created in your industry, and be wary of terms that generate a lot of hype quickly. Avoid using jargon just because everyone else is doing it, and use your content to really say something — not just hop on the buzzword bandwagon.
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