A self-proclaimed British "best PR agency you have never heard of," Twelve Thirty Eight in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, has published its 2013 survey of PR buzzwords journalists hate most.
Granting that it's compiled by and for Brits, we will allow for some loss in translation. But the gist of the findings hits home in the United States. I mean, how many of us have used words such as "going forward" and "issues" when trying to sound (even subconsciously) important when pitching a journalist (or a client, or anyone else for that matter?) You’ll have killed your pitch even before it's DOA!
· For press releases, at all costs avoid adjectives such as "dynamic" and "hotly anticipated," adverbs such as "providing solutions," and nouns such as "paradigm" and "end-user."
· Phone pitches that start with "Hi is this xxxx? How are you? I am just giving you a quick call to see if you have a minute to listen to a story idea that I have that you might find of interest..."
· The word "scoop."
At CommCore we regularly teach our clients – especially very smart technical Subject Matter Experts – to "lose the jargon" lest they lose their audience. Talk in terms the journalist you are pitching, or an audience, can relate to. Remember that they want to know "What’s In It for Me" and not "How Smart You Are." Reduce techno-babble and hard data proofs to accessible "visual" proofs, stories and analogies that will stick with them.
But none of us is infallible. I used the word "deliverables" on a call the other day.
Sigh. I guess I need a new paradigm to connect with my end users.