More Bad Words (for PR)

January 09, 2012

Posted in Marketing.

Last week I posted about the word “support” being overused and abused after seeing it mentioned in a list of words to avoid.

I’m fascinated by these lists, and each year they seem to grow. Last year, I saw a list that mentioned the phrase “at the end of the day.” As in, “at the end of the day, your actions define you.” I realized I had been using that phrase a TON and once you become aware of it, you notice it everywhere. My co-workers were dropping that left and right.

Here’s a compilation of words from a variety of sources, called the Essential Word List for Lazy PR Writers and it has some good ones for nonprofits.

My favorites:

Leader, leading, leading edge, leading provider, market leading – Don’t tell people you’re the leader. They’ll know it from how you work, interact, and relate. They’ll know it before you tell them. Leadership isn’t dictated, it’s demonstrated. If you have to tell people you’re the leader, then you aren’t.

Epic, excited, thrilled – I’ve made this mistake myself. These words are about your feelings. As in, they’re about you, not your donors, beneficiaries, or customers. Your writing (especially in public relations) should tell stories about other people, not about you.

You can find the whole Essential Word List for Lazy PR Writers at

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