Buzzwords. These nouns, adjectives and verbs are either every content writer’s best friend, or a marketer’s worst enemy. Sometimes coined “the most annoying means of promotion” in digital marketing, the technical definition of a buzzword is a word or phrase, or sometimes jargon that is trendy in a specific context. Big Data, earned media and viral marketing are just a handful of effective buzzwords, while synergy, snackable content, a 360 campaign and gamification are some of the laughable ones.


Do these buzzwords work? Are they affective? Or are they a red flag indicating a real novice “professional”? The way you spell buzzwords is even debated: buzzwords, buzz words, buzz-words, or buzz wordz?

I conducted a survey asking some influencers in the marketing and social media field their opinion on these highly debated buzzwords.

Erin Everhart, Director of Digital Marketing at 352, @erinever says:

There’s a really fine line with buzzwords. On one hand, there are those that are so overused that you can lose credibility (and other people’s interest) just by staying them. Things like: synergy, thought leadership, advertainment, and immersive experience. On the other hand, there are the buzzwords that relate to what’s happening in the industry. As a marketer, I want to use those buzzwords in my content writing because that’s what people outside the industry are just responding to. They’re hearing about, they want it, and they’re searching for it: So if you’re going to be found for it, you’ve got to use them. Those are things like: user experience, big data, content marketing.”

Sola Obayan, President & Dir. of Social Media Association of Michigan, @solao says:

“I think buzz words, when used appropriately, can be incredibly effective for content marketing. What doesn’t work is keyword stuffing. I find buzz words useful and use them when they’re relevant. Social Media, social commerce, and social media marketing will always be appropriate buzz words to use when sharing social media related content.”

Ryan Evans, Owner of Lift Marketing, @ryanevans says:

“I HATE buzzwords. Buzzwords are used to impress people by making things sound complicated. But buzzwords don’t impress people. What impresses people is articulating a complex issue in a simple way then can understand. Being able to teach someone demonstrates your understanding of an issue. Teaching is impressive. Buzzwords aren’t.”

Wendy Kirwan, Director of Media Relations at Kars4Kids, @Wendy_Kirwan says:

“I’m not that into the use of buzzwords myself. Our industry is full of them but I really believe that usually, when someone uses a buzzword, they’re just disguising the fact that they don’t really know what they’re talking about. I’d say it’s important to have a good grasp of what the common buzzwords are, what they mean and how they are used so that you can follow conversations peppered with them and sound “in the know” when necessary, but generally, I’d avoid them like the plague. Especially in your writing.”

Oleg Korneitchouk, EVP, Director of Digital Marketing, @olegko says:

“Are buzz words dead? Absolutely not. Have their value diminished? Absolutely. Especially over the past year, everyone and their grandma has been plugging in as many buzz words as they can into their headlines. Buzzfeed are the champs of this – every title contains superlatives and buzz words. As people become accustomed to these phrases, their novelty and effectiveness will diminish. That being said, buzz words still trigger certain parts of our brain that peak our interests and make them powerful marketing tools. I think the future of buzz words lies in using novel/trending (e.g. super bowl, NSA, Olympic)and powerful, genuine conversational expressions (e.g. explode, sideline, bounce). For example, “The Super Bowl Tweet that Landed me a Fortune 500 Client” & “How Your Business Can Win Gold During the Olympics”. Basically, use things that currently attract the public’s attention and leverage it to get your message across.”

After this small pool of interviews, it appears buzzwords aren’t dead, but abusing them is. Adding such to appeal to a larger audience works, but inserting buzzwords in your writing just for the flare of it doesn’t. My recommendation is both novice and expert marketers should instead educate themselves on topics, instead of searching for keyword-stuffing nouns, adjectives and verbs.

Are buzzwords dead? Or do they need to be used with caution? I want your opinion! Answer these questions below, or tweet me @i_alexandrarose!

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