One of the many benefits of hiring WideFoc.us over another social media strategies company is our concentration on high-quality writing. When we bring on new team members, we always start by looking at writing samples, because social media is the front line of our clients’ customer interactions. Poor use of language (grammatical mistakes, misplaced punctuation, or unfortunate syntax) can have a serious impact on brand perception.
That said, although we always hire solid writers, everyone can use a kick in the ass and encouragement to improve. As a former newspaper editor and elementary school teacher, I feel a deep responsibility to help all WideFoc.us team members become better, stronger, more impressive writers.
Lately, I’ve started to come down hard on a few, overused words that give me a visceral reaction when I see them in our content. I’ve been torturing our community managers by red-lining their work whenever these words are used, and working with them to tighten up their copy. We’re all super-sensitive to these words, now (not just in our own content development, but everywhere else).
Here are seven words that irk me.
It’s the easiest, laziest adjective, and hard to avoid. You may not see us using the word in our copy, but I find it difficult to avoid using it in conversation.
“Oh, that’s great!”
“Reading your writing aloud is a great way to make it stronger.”
“How are you?” “I’m great!”
This modifier is an easy way to soften a sentence, but it’s usually unnecessary. Try reading your sentence without it, and see if it still works. With most posts on social media, brevity and low word counts can make a difference in organic visibility. Removing a word like “some” can save precious characters.
We don’t have much occasion to use this word with our clients, but I see it everywhere online. It’s one of those formerly cool, techy, insider words that is now overused across conversational media. You can find “hacks” for everything from gardening to falling asleep faster. We need a new word.
Really, Pretty, Very
These three are really pretty unnecessary, most of the time. I’m very serious about that.
Ugh. I find myself saying this in answer to questions (especially with clients), every day. It’s my go-to response, and when I hear myself saying it, I shiver.
What are the words that irk you in marketing and conversations? Am I out of line, here? Let us know.
—by Eric Elkins
As CEO and Chief Strategist of WideFoc.us, Eric brings nearly two decades of of experience to our clients. In his other life, he’s a single dad, a good eater, and a bourbon aficionado.