A buzzword refers to a term or a phrase that gains extreme popularity in a specific context. They tend to be words that have been newly coined, or existing terms that are used in a different way than they were previously used. Often, they are words that are used to describe a new concept or technology. In this article, we’ll explain the significance of buzzwords, and offer tips and tricks for creating them.
Despite what a lot of industry professionals may say, buzzwords are extremely important in the world of public relations and marketing. While they may make some people’s eyes roll, in truth, they get attention and call to mind something in particular, which is why they are such an important part of PR and marketing. After all, the entire point of these two industries is to get a client, a product, a brand – whatever it is that you are representing – noticed. Buzzwords do just that.
What Exactly is a Buzzword?
A buzzword is either a written or a spoken phrase or term. It tends to be technical in nature, and it is extremely popular to use. These words are associated with something in particular, and when they are heard or seen, they automatically call to mind whatever it is that they are relate to.
For many people, a buzzword might be cringe-worthy, but they are very important to be mindful of. Why? – Because they represent the evolution of thought. Like all new words and phrases, some are short-lived and only create a “buzz” for a short period of time, while others will become a common part of everyday vernacular and can go on to reshape an entire industry.
Buzzwords can be either good or bad, but ultimate, it is important to be aware of the purpose that they serve, as well as the possibilities that they can provide.
Where did Buzzwords Originate?
Buzzwords have actually been in existence for some time. Their origin actually dates back to the 1940s when they were used by students who were studying at Harvard University and served as a way to help them attain better results from their studies. Eventually, these linguistic terms became collate and became what we now know as “buzzwords”.
The buzzwords that students were using became a very prominent part of their speech. In fact, those terms were used more frequently than the words that they actually described.
The Importance of Buzzwords in Marketing
Today, buzzwords have become commonplace. In fact, they are so commonplace that people use them without even knowing that they are! However, with that being said, when a new buzzword arises, many people roll their eyes. Why? – Because often people believe that buzzwords are used as a way to show off; a way to impress other people. When they aren’t used properly, that is, in fact, what buzzwords can come off as. However, if they are used properly, buzzwords can be a highly effective tool for marketing. Here’s why:
Believe it or not, search engines like Google crawl websites and look for certain words or terms. If your website is infused with popular buzzwords that people are searching on a regular basis, guess what happens? – Your search engine rankings go up! Google sees that your site contains useful and relevant information that their users are searching for, so therefore, they are going to put your site in a higher position.
Using Buzzwords Properly
In order to get the most out of buzzwords, you want to make sure that you are using them the right way. Like with all things in marketing and public relations, there is a right way and a wrong way to use buzzwords. Here’s a look at both:
- Using buzzwords the right way. Good buzzword use happens when you use the words to add value. They are relevant, make sense, and add value to the content that they are used within. They aren’t just there for show; rather, they really serve a purpose.
- Using buzzwords the wrong way. You can also use buzzwords the wrong way. An example would be interjecting these words simply to show off, or to attract attention, but they don’t offer any real value. If you use buzzwords in this manner, it’s almost guaranteed that you are going to get lots of eye rolls and people are going to skim right past your content.
Buzzwords to Avoid Using
There are a lot of buzzwords out there that have been used so much that they have been killed. In fact, these words have been used so much that using them in your content could actually end up doing more harm than good.
Here’s a look at some buzzwords that you are going to want to steer clear of:
- Outside the box. For too long, people have used this term as a way to describe creative thinking. In the business world, some level of creativity is required, so using this buzzword is a bit cliché, and oftentimes, it’s simply unnecessary.
- Meta. When it’s used to describe the elements of a website, such as a meta tag, this term certainly has its place. However, when it is used as a self-referential term in order to convey abstraction, it can be scoffed at.
- Game changer. While game changer is meant to imply some sort of significant change that is occurring within a business or industry, it has been so overused that it just doesn’t hold the same value or have the same impact that it used to.
- Synergy. This buzzword is usually used as a way to convey elements that work in unison to create a total final effect. But in the business world, this word has been used so much that it has lost a tremendous amount of its meaning, and in fact, it now just appears to be a filler word.
- Guru. This buzzword is meant to imply that someone is an expert at something. The issue with using this word is that it has been used so much that it has been beaten into the ground. Moreover, it doesn’t have any tangible credentials attached to it. Anyone can be called a guru without actually having a title that really indicates they are an expert.
- Thought leader. This is a term that is often used to describe a person who has become recognized as an authority in a particular industry. It doesn’t hold much value as it once did. Actually, a real job title and credentials to back up a person’s position actually has way more weight than this buzzword does.
- Strategic. This buzzword implies that a lot of thought and planning went into doing something. In business, everything should always be well thought out and planned. Calling something “strategic” really isn’t necessary because it should just be a given.
- Organic growth. This term describes how a business grows through methods that don’t involve mergers and acquisitions. There are tons of ways that a business can grow organically, and all businesses should experience this type of growth. Using this label really isn’t necessary.