1224506Tartlets. I’m of a generation for whom that word holds a very specific meaning. A meaning that goes beyond the dictionary definition of small pastry tart. If you don’t know which meaning I’m referring to, YouTube can explain everything. It’s a word I’m regularly reminded of while I scan Google search results or my Twitter feed.

These days you can’t go anywhere on the web without running into hyperbole. Headlines scream at you at every turn, ‘pick me, pick me’. Everywhere you go you’re being offered the best and only advice you should listen to. It seems like every marketer, every blog, every website has the answer. It’s become a little tiresome.

A common piece of advice people give you on digital marketing content is to write in a way that grabs attention. You’re told to create content that demands attention. The use of big and brash adjectives, verbs and nouns is encouraged. The problem is, words get overused and begin to lose their meaning.

Lets take a tame-sounding word as an example. ‘Amazing’ is defined as “Causing great surprise or wonder.” If every single piece of digital marketing content is “amazing” do you think they each have the capacity to cause great surprise or wonder? At what point have you seen so much amazing content that you are beyond surprise?

I may be being a little pedantic here, but the point stands. We over use this stuff. In fact we drown readers with it. So let’s try to cut down, find other ways to grab readers and try to be a bit more honest with ourselves. To help start the process, I’ve compiled a list of some of the worst offenders. How many have you used?

Jedi’s, Rockstars and Gurus

It’s not just digital marketing content that is filled with meaningless hyperbole. Digital marketer profiles are too. This one is a pet peeve of mine. Which means it must bother others. If you are a (insert industry here) Jedi, good for you. Do you know Yoda? Can I get a LinkedIn introduction?

Failure, Disgrace, Embarrassment

Content marketing, inbound marketing and social media marketing are all designed to move marketing away from the traditional, cynical tactics advertisers used to use. It’s supposed to be about creating content people love. So why are you trying to scare people into reading your content. ‘Read this or you’ll fail’ may sound positive to you. After lists of titles like this it’s clear what it really means, ‘please read this or I’ll fail’.

Hair-brained, Stoopid, Dumb

If it’s not fear, it’s shame. Digital marketing content that might make people feel inadequate can’t be a positive step. These words often accompany lists of really simplistic advice. The idea being that you’re dumb for making these mistakes. Of course some people just make mistakes because they’re, you know, people.

Simple, Easy, Facepalm

If you actually facepalmed as often as some marketers suggest, you’d have very little face left to palm.

Perfection, Greatness, Legendary

Possibly the most meaningless words in digital marketing content. Perfection is unattainable in content creation. Nobody can reach it and you can’t tell them how. Greatness is reserved for the few, that’s what makes them great. You can’t just hand it out. The day reading online content creates actual legends is the day the world ends.

You’re Wrong, You Lose, You Suck

With online content, there’s no such thing as wrong. Some things work better than others, that doesn’t mean those others suck. If people really gave up on all the things marketers tell them are wrong there would be nothing left. The Internet would just become one guy, typing ‘the’ over and over.

There’s so much of it out there now, it’s starting to look desperate. Like marketers are just trying to trump one another with the most outlandish claims. The only one who suffers is the reader.

Tartlets… tartlets… word has lost all meaning.

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