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We Are All Mockingjays – But Resist the Temptation

mockingjayI had lots of different titles in my head for this post: Top 10 Most Abused Words in Business; Your BS Business Bingo Card Would Have These Words On It; Stop All the Bruises – Top 10 Words You Should Use Sparingly.

Instead I decided to make an analogy – Yes, I admit it is a Hunger Games reference, but I think one we can all relate to. And no, I am not using the popular reference to boost my short-term rankings or relevancy.

If you are in sales, it is actually a taught strategy, “parrot your prospect’s language.”  If you are in marketing, you are taught this same thing, it’s called, “speak the language of the customer.” If you are in SEO, you are taught this as well, “find high traffic keywords and repeat them often.” But now that anyone can communicate anything, it seems to all be running together.

Instead of a top 10 list, I thought I would share a story. No names are included to protect the guilty.

I got another pitch for a marketing technology. I swear before I was even able to let the person know that I was not the buyer for this product, they were well into their speech. I decided for fun to listen. I kid you not, in the first 30 seconds I heard the following:

  • Big Data
  • Measurable Media
  • Optimize
  • Conversation tracking
  • Real-time
  • Conversion
  • Content Marketing
  • Synergistic

I am sure there were more strung together… I can’t remember the order, but honestly, I had a moment of knowing what the Google algorithm must feel like (if it could feel that is 😉 ). We are conditioned these days to repeat. Almost blind mockingjays, mimicking and repeating the popular words to make our product or service relevant.

My point is this… choose wisely. Of course all these words are relevant in many circumstances, but avoid the keyword vomit. It makes all the words you say irrelevant and have no meaning at all.

My advice – choose one key thing your product and service does the best. Use real-people language to describe it and avoid all the additives.

Break free from the mockingjay cycle, and stand out.  I promise it is far more powerful than the most popular words on Google or hash-tags on twitter.

About the author

Melissa Kennedy

I am an innovative, practical problem-solver with an MBA. Pioneered one of the first social media strategic plans for a Fortune 100 company, including monthly online TV program viewed by 120,000 customers. Created a scalable channel marketing service model and established a new customer communication channel through partner web syndication. Developed marketing plan for start-up technology firm. Launched first comprehensive marketing campaign for major science and technology university's $1 Billion fund-raising effort. Award-winning performance for 15 years across functions, industries and organizations.

My passion for results goes beyond professional pursuits. I am a global facilitator and co-organizer of Startup Weekends and serve as an advocate and volunteer for many local charities including Food Bank of Central/Eastern NC, North Carolina International Affairs Council and Connected Women of North Carolina. Plus, I have served as the President for the Triangle Interactive Marketing Association,

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