Proving the adage that the best way to learn is to do, attendees at the MIPAA event we held today got behind the wheel to improve their knowledge of technical PR skills.
A few minutes practical experience of how a car behaves – with a clear explanation of why – is worth hours of reading books or listening to someone talk you through the technical aspects of a vehicle.
The second part of the event involved an opportunity to quiz two journalist “victims” about how they work with technical materials provided by PR practitioners and how these can be improved. Thanks to Ian Donaldson and Steve Slater for their insight.
Again, hearing directly from those at the sharp end of hundreds of press releases is a great lesson. The most obvious points that came across were:
- the importance of targeting a release to particular media – not sending out overly technical information to more generalist journalists
- writing for the reader of the publication in a way that helps the journalist – and not conceiving a release purely to satisfy a client
- the value of adding the human angle, ideally with opportunities for journalists to meet and talk with engineers, designers and other experts
- keeping to the facts and highlighting the particular developments and benefits that are most interesting, not throwing in 101+ technical points
- cutting the pointless adjectives and other puff
On this last point, I muted the idea of developing a list of words that should be banned from press releases.
Ian and Steve identified “iconic” and “iteration” (meaning version) as current contenders. We agreed that “unique” and “solutions” should also be deleted.
What words do you think should be on the PR barred list?