ANALYSIS: Thinkpiece - Today's jargon may match your clients' feats to a tee, but shouldn't you be more original

Do your clients offer 'leading edge,' 'best-of-breed,' 'end-to-end' solutions for the 'wired economy?' If yes, then you are not alone.

Do your clients offer 'leading edge,' 'best-of-breed,' 'end-to-end' solutions for the 'wired economy?' If yes, then you are not alone.

Do your clients offer 'leading edge,' 'best-of-breed,' 'end-to-end' solutions for the 'wired economy?' If yes, then you are not alone.

These days PR clutter and jargon abound. If use of certain words could be measured like radiation, contamination sirens would be going off all over the country.

Some companies put out one or more news releases a week, whether or not they have news, and most of them sound alike. The Gable Group studied news releases issued during one week over PR Newswire and Business Wire.

Companies touted a new 'solution' every eight minutes on average, and more than half claimed to be 'leading providers' of something, but never submitted evidence to support the claim.

Research targeting major media found a distinct anti-jargon bias and diminishing respect for the PR profession. At media relations conferences in New York, San Francisco and Seattle, editors from The Industry Standard, Forbes, The Economist, Investors Business Daily, WSJ Interactive, Fast Company and others said that the daily deluge is so bad, they've created 'bozo and jargon filters' on their e-mail, to automatically delete messages containing words such as 'first,' 'leading-edge,' 'best,' and 'solutions.' Releases from agencies known for their hype are automatically sent to the trash.

Clients can dictate the use of favorite phrases against agency advice, with expected results. One WSJ Interactive editor had this thoughtful response to a client-mandated pitch: 'No thanks, I'm done covering solutions ... please don't write to me about solutions anymore ... they've become a problem.'

Writers from Forbes and other publications have created to point out PR atrocities, including a list of their least favorite words.

The Gable Group has launched, a Web site with a feature known as 'the Jargonator' that measures the jargon content of copy and rates its contamination level.

So how can we turn it around? For starters, we can take the collective pledge to avoid jargon. In order to increase the value of our profession, we need to be steadfast in providing our clients with honest counsel - such as telling them when they don't really have news or when they should be more strategic and avoid the tactical, frenzied approaches that have become so common in certain industries.

Try to fit the story into a bigger picture, such as the industry or economy, then provide ongoing data or other proof of any claim to superiority or leadership. Sounds like more than your basic solution.

- Tom Gable is chairman and CEO of The Gable Group.

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