What Words Do You Hate Seeing in Copy?

34 replies
Just wondering if you guys have any "pet peeve" words you hate seeing in a piece of copy.

For me, I hate seeing the word "windfall" in a sales letter. It just seems so hokey and I can never take the writing seriously, after that.

It drives me so nuts, that I'll actually stop reading and click off the page if I see the word mentioned.

It got me thinking about whether or not anyone else has any copywriting pet peeves.

If you do, what are they and why?
#copy #hate #words
  • Profile picture of the author molisa
    i hate free word
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    • Profile picture of the author nameless7
      Originally Posted by molisa View Post

      i hate free word
      Totally agree. In real life free is never free
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  • Profile picture of the author Badassbro
    -this one weird trick..
    -this one simple trick..
    -this simple secret..
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  • "This short presentation" (when it rambles on for 57 minutes)

    "Keep watching because I'm going to reveal the ONE secret you need" (no it doesn't)


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    I hate seeing the word "please". Makes me cringe.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jennifer Hutson
      Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

      I hate seeing the word "please". Makes me cringe.
      You know, I honestly didn't think about that one. It's so true, though. You should never have to beg your readers for a sale.
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      • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
        Originally Posted by Jennifer Hutson View Post

        You know, I honestly didn't think about that one. It's so true, though. You should never have to beg your readers for a sale.
        Yeah, makes me think they're desperate. They may not be, but that's the way it comes across the majority of the time.
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        • Profile picture of the author Thursday
          Originally Posted by RickDuris View Post

          Yeah, makes me think they're desperate. They may not be, but that's the way it comes across the majority of the time.
          I agree with that one – 'please' often feels cringeworthy.
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  • Worst of all - "no brainer"

    No matter how it's used or phrased I always think it insults the audience.


    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

      The sound of it is something quite atrocious.

      Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
      "Trainers Hate Him!"

      Yeah because he spreads false information rather than effective fitness advice...

      I hate the term "laser targeted". I prefer the term "precision guided".
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      • Profile picture of the author mrmouse
        I hate seeing swiped headlines that I have seen 1,000,001 times with a word or two changed.

        I hate seeing, "this simple trick".

        I hate the word ninja!!!!!!!!!

        I hate the word epic --- (unless describing an epic journey, such as Atreyu's journey in The Never Ending Story.

        I hate seeing "dear friend". I know that it has been proven to work well. But as a consumer, I am not your friend. You don't know me. I have seen dear friend 100,000,007 times now. As a consumer, it is an immediate trigger, telling me I am about to be hard-sold and not to trust the person writing me because it is obviously a sales message.

        I hate seeing poorly done iterations of the hero's journey story. Over and over again.

        I LOVE being entertained with a great story that sucks me in and strategically uses psychological components (I'm listening to Chris Haddad's Language of Desire VSL in another tab while I'm typing this response). It's the perfect example. Written more like a women's romance novel than a sales letter (but strategically uses persuasion and sales tactics to sell his program). Brilliant!

        I like getting instant value. Something I can use.

        I hate being sold additional work that I have to do. Such as reading a long book, plus a bonus of four other books I need to read in order to get the results that I am after.

        I like seeing social proof from people that I know and respect -- or see an eruption of social proof from people who obviously have had great results and are not just contrived testimonials that I have seen 100,000,003 times.

        I hate seeing people copying others, and just changing a few minor things, but basically being nothing more than a replica. I like seeing copy and strategy that are original but use the same PRINCIPLES though.
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        • Profile picture of the author John Lloyd
          Originally Posted by mrmouse View Post

          I hate seeing "dear friend". I know that it has been proven to work well. But as a consumer, I am not your friend. You don't know me. I have seen dear friend 100,000,007 times now. As a consumer, it is an immediate trigger, telling me I am about to be hard-sold and not to trust the person writing me because it is obviously a sales message.
          I agree. When I see "dear friend", I get angry. It's just the type of over-familiarity that rubs me up the wrong way.

          A lot of top copywriters swear by it though. If it gets results then I can't judge. But I do feel uncomfortable using it in my sales letters.
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          • Profile picture of the author caretaker
            I hate: "all I can say is wow"
            " my jaw dropped"
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            • Profile picture of the author Tim Bazley
              Oh dear...it's back to copywriting school for me then.

              You lot have just robbed me of all the words I normally use!

              On a more serious note, it's not so much words that irritate me but formatting and styling that looks like a 5 year old has been let loose with a crayon set.

              I'm sure you've all seen sales letters that change colour, font sizes and styles every two lines for no reason at all.

              Then there's side boxes to the side to confuse you even further...do I read the main copy now or the text written in those?

              If you were writing a letter to the Prime Minister or President that was of life or death importance, would you present it in such a child like manner?

              Or would you write it as you would a proper letter, in a simple style? A style which lets the words you write tell everything you want them to without distraction?

              Less is more is the phrase that comes to mind.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Interestingly, I wrote an article on this same topic.

    Words To Avoid Using In Copywriting And Advertising

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author erikko
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      Interestingly, I wrote an article on this same topic.

      Words To Avoid Using In Copywriting And Advertising

      -Ray Edwards
      This summarizes all my pet peeves in copywriting.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
        My good friend _____ = some guy I have never met but he pays a commission if I can get you to buy.

        Most things bringing religion into the discussion = I would stab my own mother for the money if I needed it and I won't honor my refund policy but I go to church on Easter so it's okay.

        Don't tell anyone about this secret link or special discount = PLEASE tell everyone because the light bill is due on Friday and we are a little short.

        Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author DougHughes
    Haha..."One weird trick" Boy, we sure burned that one out. But that line drove a lot of banner ad clicks for weight loss and small cap campaigns.

    I guess for me it would have to be "cutting edge."
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  • Profile picture of the author dhjtruh
    "Money Back Guarantees" by those "coach" or so called "gurus"....
    Which in reality it is not 100% true, where you need to struggle going through a lot of procedures and meet certain criteria. (which is not being revealed earlier).
    Signature

    Loading..........

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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    dirty little secrets...
    done for you...
    "weird little trick" is getting a lot of play lately
    Ninja
    autopilot
    "discover" I know it's been tested and proven, yadda yadda. I still can't stand it, especially when someone tries so hard to make it fit that it becomes awkward
    legally steal

    EDIT: How could I have left this one out: Game changer... I want to puke.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark 99
    Of course many of the words or phrases mentioned actually work.

    a few that I see that are getting old are "a secret loophole in her/his brain"
    a method, formula, technique I stumbled on"
    And the worst... It converts/works like gangbusters" so cheesy in my opinion
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    • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
      Originally Posted by Mark 99 View Post

      Of course many of the words or phrases mentioned actually work.
      Best observation in the thread. As copywriters, it's irrelevant what we like or dislike... it's what the market responds to that counts.

      After all, we want our copy to "skyrocket" sales, right? LOL

      Alex
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      • Profile picture of the author jjosephs
        Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

        After all, we want our copy to "skyrocket" sales, right? LOL

        Alex
        Hey! Leave my dead horse out of this!

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        Marketing for ACTION & REACTION.
        Roll Out "The Cannon"
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Mark 99 View Post

      Of course many of the words or phrases mentioned actually work.
      Some, probably, in some contexts.

      Call me a skepchick, but I strongly suspect that far more of the words/expressions mentioned so far in this thread don't actually work at all, but are "lovingly" copied and used, typically without testing, by people pretending to be copywriters, who imagine that "they must work, otherwise so many people wouldn't be using them".

      In other words they're often self-perpetuating, whether they they actually work or not.

      And others perhaps once worked, but often in strikingly different contexts from the ones in which they're still so widely used.

      .
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  • Profile picture of the author IDoTheLegWork
    Trying to be clever but end up saying something idiotic
    "The new Chrysler 200 -- America's Import"
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    ..and you WILL contribute a verse.
    Indifference is the enemy that must be conquered.
    Appeal to the crowd by addressing the person.

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  • Profile picture of the author affiliatez
    [DELETED]
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  • Profile picture of the author WebOutGateway
    We are always receiving copies on emails that says "Hey! Don't tell anyone about this" and WE HATE IT.

    Okay. Then what now?

    Remember to use appealing (to action) words. See what Small Business Sense has to offer with us for 25 top words-to-use when doing a copy.
    1. Free
    2. Guaranteed
    3. Incredible
    4. Powerful
    5. New
    6. Revealed
    7. Proven
    8. Ultimate
    9. Uncovered
    10. Profits
    11. Results
    12. Breakthrough
    13. Easy
    14. Exciting
    15. Power
    16. Turn Key
    17. Top
    18. Winning
    19. Solution
    20. Quality
    21. Instant
    22. Benefit
    23. Convenient
    24. Improve
    25. Master
    Those are awesome words to use. Hope i helped.
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  • Profile picture of the author NadineL
    I think we hate particular words, because we are all marketers and we know all the angles and pitches already. Makes me think of the poor souls who phone me up starting with a stock standard script to sell something. It takes a lot more to convince us than just plain John and Jane.

    As for hate words, Limited time.
    As for hate tactics. Fake time counters.

    See I can still get the Limited releases which is great given that the net is content driven.
    I know that limited time offers really work, still doesn't mean I need to like them

    N
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    Originally Posted by Jennifer Hutson View Post

    Just wondering if you guys have any "pet peeve" words you hate seeing in a piece of copy.

    For me, I hate seeing the word "windfall" in a sales letter. It just seems so hokey and I can never take the writing seriously, after that.

    It drives me so nuts, that I'll actually stop reading and click off the page if I see the word mentioned.

    It got me thinking about whether or not anyone else has any copywriting pet peeves.

    If you do, what are they and why?
    I hate general statements like this....
    1. We pride ourselves on quality and service
    2. We really care about our customers
    3. We work hard to understand our client's needs
    4. We put the customer first
    5. We're experts at what we do (<---my favorite)

    ...disguised as "unique" selling positions or points or differentiation. You see this, not only in ads, but in networking meetings. Everyone is asked to stand up and tell the group how their company is different. Then, they all stand up and say the same shit, like a flock of parrots mimicking each other.

    Or, when you're doing discovery questions for a client and they only thing they can come up with is this crap.

    Bad marketing is often the results of lazy thinking, and these are tell tale signs.
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  • Profile picture of the author obaynes
    No specific words, but when words are constantly CAPITALIZED for EMPHASIS like THIS.

    It seems so hackish and amateur. Instantly makes me stop reading anything that does it.
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    Otto Baynes, Web Content Specialist (visit me at greatcontent.today)

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  • Profile picture of the author UnkwnUsr
    I hate when they start out with "Dear Struggling Marketer". It's like they are purposely going after the most desperate and insecure people they can find.
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  • Profile picture of the author affiliatez
    We all know most of the IM products are grabage, but what do you think on a sales page with " success guarantee" stament?
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    • Profile picture of the author GlenH
      It only seems to have appeared on the scene in the last 6 months.

      But I seem to be seeing more of it. And that is....

      Any copy that has the word 'HACK' in it.

      .....A new SEO Hack..

      ......The $1,000 Facebook hack....

      It's worse that damn ...'LOOPHOLE'
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    I'm surprised no one mentioned the word "Zoooom!"
    (Lol)
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    "Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognized a problem and turned it into an opportunity."―Joseph Sugarman
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