What Are Your Bad Words?

Posted on Posted in Writing

In downtown Raleigh, “density” is a bad word. Doesn’t sound like much, does it?

As a copywriter, of course I ask clients what words they regularly use, especially SEO keywords.

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Photo by Juliejordanscott.

But I also ask what words to avoid when writing their press releases, websites and brochures. Most people furrow their brows and say, “No, I don’t think there are any.”

Yet after I send them what I’ve written, they realize they don’t want a particular word used. The bad word is often something they perceive to put them in a bad light, or a word their customers use negatively. Maybe it’s a legal consideration, such as a requirement to describe someone’s certification in a specific way. The other day I was told that “marketing consulting” is a bad word.

The word “density” may not have four letters, but for Raleigh planners it’s a lightning rod, attracting immediate vehemence from certain groups. Like everyone else, planners have a brand to worry about, so they have identified which words to use — and which ones incite controversy.

Any terms that might be considered jargon are on my list of bad words. Check out this list of press release jargon identified by journalists.

Next time you’re ready to hire someone to work on your words, take a moment to think about your brand. What words are on your “bad” list?

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