Never Use These Words In A PR News Release

Jun 24, 2011 by

One can almost always tell when a public relations communique has been hi-jacked by engineers, designers and weak writers.  What truly becomes a “press release” (the opposite of a “news release,” defined as a document circulated amongst the news media that actually contains, wait for it …. NEWS) … becomes paragraph after paragraph of pure techno-speak, jargon and gobbledygook that has little meaning what so ever to anyone besides the person who wrote it (and maybe not even to the 21-year-old intern) and the person who approved its release.

So many of today’s PR writers get sucked into the world of techno-speak because they frankly lack the initiative, guts or common sense to stand up to, but ironically for, their client and say, “I’m not going to put my company’s name on something like that when it literally says NOTHING and is going to waste your money!”

English Words That Should Be Banned From News Releases

It wouldn’t take one long to search a few websites across the Web to find (we will call them “press releases” here because they most likely have very little news value) press releases literally soaked with words that should be banned by those of us in the PR profession.

We have amassed a list of words that truly should be outlawed from use, much like journalism professors would issue an automatic F for five or more AP Style errors.

What are these words?

Flexible
Scalable
Groundbreaking
Industry Standard
Cutting-Edge
Innovative
Innovate
Unique
Leading Provider
New and Improved
World-Class
Cost-Effective
Revolutionary
Earth-Shattering
Game-Changing
One-Of-A-Kind
Epic
INTEGRATED
SOLUTIONS
Matrix
Stakeholders

Saving Public Relations

If we are to save PR from becoming so trivial a service that anyone can do it, it’s time to set some new standards in how PR is conducted in the United States.  Using words like these in a news release, particularly for a software or tech company does little good for the client in the way of getting news media attention.

Seriously, what is an “integrated solution?”  By its meaning, integrated means to combine somethings into something bigger.  Right?  A solution is combining a series of things into something bigger that also, supposedly, solves a problem.  So if you have an “integrated solution,” don’t you really have something that was combined with something else to make it bigger that was combined with something else to make it bigger?  If you were adding them together in the first place, wouldn’t you be trying to combine the best of some knowledge to solve a problem?

Just entering “Integrated Solutions” in Google leads to more than 21.8 million uses of it across the Internet.  By acquiescing in your client’s insistence of this term, what good are you doing them?  Great.  You put out, what genuinely becomes a “press release” and there are now 21,800,001 uses of it across the Internet.  Stay close to the phone.  The New York Times tech writers will be calling you in the next five seconds.

It’s kind of like what my roommate at Auburn University said about the Southern term, “Fixin’ to start.” Well, if you’re fixin’ to do something, you’re starting to do it, and if you’re starting to do it, you’re starting, so he said that really means “You’re starting to start starting something.”

Duty to Our Clients

PR professionals are supposed to put the interests of their clients first.  If we acquiesce in the use of words that mean nothing and not say anything, then why on earth should they hire us in the first place?

What words would you recommend be added to the list?

Recommended Additions Of Words To Never Use:

A Perfect Storm–Kimberly Reeves, Austin, TX


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1 Comment

  1. Tom

    In my opinion author is to much categorical about the words that “should be banned”

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