Keep it simple sweetie (or stupid … depending on the version with which you are familiar) or KISS for short, is an acronym that was first introduced to me during my journalism degree.
Fast-forward to working in technology PR today and its relevance still holds true.
Take press releases; there is a tendency for releases in the technology sector to be jargon-heavy. In many cases, particularly with specialist trade publications, journalists are often very well versed in industry language. However, reporters tend to move around frequently, particularly on nationals, meaning they won’t necessarily know every facet relating to their patch … herein lies the issue.
One day a reporter may be working on the travel desk and the next they may be covering technology, which is why it pays to keep press releases informative, whilst omitting any unnecessary jargon to help with the flow of copy and aid understanding. Using too many ‘buzz words’ is also a no-no. Econsultancy, for instance, has its own extensive list of banned words and phrases, including ‘phablet’.
After all, if a reporter doesn’t understand how your news will have an impact on readers and it takes too long for them to read or digest the information, your release is worthless.
Another reason for keeping copy simple is that reporters receive hundreds of press releases every day and if they understand the crux of your news story quickly by scanning the title and first section of the release, you will be more likely to receive a call back for more information.
So how can you ensure your press releases are jargon free? Get someone else to proofread them, especially someone who isn’t as close to the business as you are and who can easily spot where you are getting too technical. Your PR consultant will also be able to advise if you are being overly technical and equally where you should go into more detail, for example if a release is being targeted at a specialist journalist who would understand more technical terminology.
And if you are working with a PR agency and they suggest that the release is getting too technical or jargon-heavy, remember that their advice is the reason that you hired them – so trust their instincts.