January 18 is National Thesaurus Day, which is a wonderful (splendid, magical, magnificent, happy) day for marketers!
A thesaurus is basically a dictionary that lists synonyms. You can use it to search for other words when you don’t want to use the same term repeatedly. You can also use it when you can’t remember a specific word.
Thesaurus.com is owned by Dictionary.com, and just offers a straight-up list of synonyms to different words. You can also use it to find antonyms (opposite words), but it’s somewhat limited to those two features.
OneLook’s thesaurus is a little better for marketers because it doesn’t just offer synonyms, it offers other words related to your search term, including words associated with that term. For example, sword gives us saber, scimitar, and rapier, but it also shows us gun, samurai, and plowshare. OneLook also has additional search filters for options like words with a certain number of letters and syllables, rhymes and soundalike words, and even words related to a second term. This last filter lets you narrow down your list to only show words with a specific meaning, and ignore all the not-quite-related terms.
How a Thesaurus Can Help Marketers
For writers and marketers, a thesaurus can be a blessing for anyone who might be stuck for a particular word or even a mood they want to create. You can give your memory a little poke and find the word you were looking for. Plus, with OneLook’s related terms (sword –> samurai), you can be inspired by new ideas and concepts.
A thesaurus can also help you cut through the clutter in your writing by helping you replace adverbs and adjectives. That is, don’t describe a verb, use a stronger verb. Don’t describe a noun,
use a picturesque noun paint a scene.
Instead of trying to find a way to spice up your marketing copy about your amazing new product, you can talk about how you’re going to transform, reinvigorate, or reshape your industry.
(Just don’t talk about being revolutionary or say it’s a “paradigm shift.” That’s a marketing cliché we can all do without.)
A thesaurus helps you find alternatives so you don’t have to settle on the first word that came to mind. Translation: First word = best word is rarely true.
Finally, from an SEO standpoint, a thesaurus can help you figure out different keywords to use. Google’s algorithm has gotten a lot smarter. It understands synonyms, so it can still understand what a blog article is about, even when you use different words related to your keywords.
Just don’t misuse it
A thesaurus is not just a word-switching tool. Don’t just swap out a word with another word, otherwise you could end up using the incorrect word.
For example, don’t barter a tidings with another countersign, alternatively you could conclude operating the mistaken message. See what I mean?
This was a favorite trick of SEO spammers around 2009 – 2011, when they would run their blog articles through article spinners. But thanks to those spammers, Google has gotten much smarter, and they no longer rely on exact keywords, which means you can use more synonyms instead of trying to find the precise balance of keywords to use.
How are you going to celebrate (honor, observe, praise, memorialize, revere) National Thesaurus Day?