Thursday, April 28, 2011

How to Lose Your Online Credibility With Just One Word

I subscribe to my share of social media and marketing newsletters and follow other social media consultants. This morning I started to read a social media-related blog, but I stopped reading after just one word. What made me stop? It was the word ''funnest'. I know that some bloggers and writers use slang as a tongue-in-cheek approach, but I'm fairly certain this writer thought 'funnest' was proper English. At that point, I stopped reading the article and clicked off the site. She lost me at just one word. 

Because of the improper word choice she used (technically, funnest is not a grammatically correct word in the English language), I was immediately turned off because it didn't make her sound credible. Maybe the word 'funnest' doesn't bother other people, and I'm just one of many in her audience but she still lost me as a reader - with just that word alone.

Even though she may be the most credible social media resource in the world, I wouldn't know because I stopped reading. It's important as bloggers and social media users to be conscious of the language you use. Funnest might be acceptable on a parenting or children's blog, but it doesn't fit on a professional social media blog.

And inappropriate word choices go beyond just funnest. I dug around and researched marketing 'turn off' words. Advertising has its share of 'no-no' words that they don't recommend using. According to BusinessWeek, avoid these five cliche words in ads:

1. Quality

2. Value

3. Service

4. Caring  

5. Integrity

If you want to stay away from spam words, check out this list of 200 spam words to avoid. 

Be careful when choosing your words, and remember that your readers and social media followers actually READ what you write. It only takes one word to hurt your online credibility. 


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Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

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