Copywriter Susan Gunelius of KeySplash Creative Inc. wrote this informative and timely post for Entrepreneur.com on the 10 advertising words to avoid in 2009. Among my favorites are:
Free This old standby will trigger email spam filters if used in subject lines. Gunelius recommends using the terms 'complimentary' or 'gratis' to sneak past the user's email filter. I recommend that you avoid using the word 'free' in the subject line at all and only use it in the body copy with a slightly altered spelling, such as 'fr*ee' or 'freee'.
Guarantee This was a surprising one for me, but I see her point. People don't trust guarantees like they used to. Gunelius recommends crafting a "more effective message that your readers are more likely to believe and act on."
Really A useless filler word, this reminds me of when we had to write papers of so many words in school on some mundane topic. So if we were clever we'd write "I really really really like chocolate." Gunelius also condemns 'Very' and 'That' as useless filler.
Opportunity "You're not helping anyone when you offer "opportunities" in your copy," writes Gunelius. I agree. Buying a timeshare is an "opportunity."
Synergy It's high time this one was kicked to the curb. Says Gunelius: "Leave jargon and 10-dollar words out of your advertising messages. There's no room in copywriting for buzz words and words that consumers need a dictionary to understand. Consumers don't care about your "unique value proposition." They care that when they pay for your product or service, it will deliver the results they expect." Amen.