I may be many things but I am neither a “guru”, nor a “ninja”, nor a “rock star” nor even a “hero”.
I can’t claim to have the wisdom of a guru, nor any ability at martial arts. I don’t play in a band and I don’t think I have any superhuman powers.
Such words are used so frequently that they have become clichés. They eventually devalue the expertise of anyone so described.
While it is always flattering to be seen as someone who is an expert or particularly knowledgeable in their profession it is rare to come across someone who is so spectacularly better at what they do that they deserve such exaggerated descriptions.
Somehow, all these words have crept into regular language to describe almost anyone who is particularly good at what they do.
Superlatives in content writing
There are other overused words such as “legend”, “driver” (meaning cause), challenging, controversial, post-modern and the newly transitive verb, to impact.
Sadly, they seem to be particularly prevalent among bloggers and marketers.
It is understandable that anyone writing marketing content for a client is anxious to help their client to stand out. It’s an endless competition and what they are paid to do.
If I am offering services to clients and want to be paid for them, of course I should be striving for excellence.
But it cannot be done simply by using a series of superlative descriptions, especially if all their competitors are making the same claims.
He – or she – who shouts loudest and exaggerates the most may succeed with American consumers but I believe UK consumers are more sceptical and more resistant to what could almost be described as bullying.
So when writing marketing content for a website or a blog it is important to understand the audience, understand the client’s goals and to do the research properly.
Every word should be providing information to potential customers that will answer a question, give them helpful information or tell them something interesting.
Making exaggerated claims and over-using superlatives is not the way to do it.