Top 10 Worst Public Relations Buzzwords

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Some words are thrown around soo much, they become worthless. Especially in PR, some phrases are dropped just because they’re trendy. But they get old real quick.

1. Thought leadership

Ugh, I love to hate this one. Personally, it grates on me. How many people’s thoughts do you actually listen to?? How is every single person a leader?? Also, wanting to be a leader isn’t the same as actually being one. I can write as many blog posts as I want, but if no one respects me, I’m not a leader.

But the industry still gobbles this up. I drop “thought leader,” and all I see are head nods and writing in notepads.

2. Low hanging fruit

Why, why, why is this even a thing? It doesn’t even make sense.

What should you do with low-hanging fruit? Is it bad, good? Does it mean easily grab something within reach or push higher??

3. Conversation

“We can have a conversation down the road about this.”

“Let’s start a conversation with them about advertising.”

It sounds cooler than “talk,” but it’s soo pretentious sounding.

And why do people say “Let’s have a conversation” as they are having a conversation?? I’m always like, “Well, can we have that conversation now?”

4. World-class

Everything these days is world class. I have a world-class toothbrush in my world-class apartment, and I frequently eat world-class pizza.

Everything is world-class, which makes it no-class. It means nothing when everyone uses it.

5. Sticky

“Sticky content” is a term frequently thrown at me. Why is it sticky? Did a five-year-old spill something on it?

Why don’t we say “captivating,” “engaging,” “irresistible?”

6. Deliverables

It took me an embarrassing amount of time to even figure out what this meant. I was hoping for delivery pizza, but no such luck. It just means you’re going to get a lot of items arriving in your inbox.

7. Influencer

Just like thought leader, everyone is an influencer these days. Which, one again, makes it kind of meaningless to say.

99% of the “twitter influencers” are people I’ve never heard of. With 500 followers.

8. Snackable

Do I get a snack if I click on your tweet? No? Disappointing.

Where this word even came from I will never know.

9. Scale

Marketers drop the word “scale” and expect people to rip out their wallets and throw credit cards at them. “Scale” is just a fancy term for “growth.”

10. Visibility

“What’s our visibility on this?”

“I have no visibility on this project.”

It’s code for “no clue,” but for some reason, people think they sound really smart when they say this.


11. Value-add

“But what is the value-add to this?”

Maybe in the presentation I just sent you? Ugh, this word sucks. Usually, it means someone skipped over your entire presentation and wants to know the bottom line.

It’s basically the professional “tl;dr”

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