A free PR critique: Flush the buzzwords

Columnist David Pogue picks apart a jargon-filled email from a PR pro and offers a rewrite.

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Today, though, my Inbox encountered a particularly persistent PR woman. She hadn’t gotten the hint. She followed up twice to ask why I hadn’t replied.

“Not to bug you,” she wrote, “but just wanted to get your thoughts on the last email. If you’re in—cool. If not, please give me some feedback.”

Feedback? She wants feedback? I’ve got some feedback for her. In fact, I’m prepared to offer her a complete critique, complete with some insight into the life of a tech writer. No charge. Here’s her pitch—with my notes interspersed.

Hi David. Wanted to chat with you about a shift in eBooks—digital publishing mobile apps such as [her client’s name], which is at the forefront of what we like to call the content convergence trend.

Wow. “Digital publishing mobile apps?” “Content convergence trend?” So far, we have one sentence and seven buzzwords. And no mention of her product.

Rule No. 1 for PR folks: Know your target. If she knew anything about me, she’d know that buzzwords are my pet peeve. (Actually, if she knew anything about any tech writers, she’d know that buzzwords are a universal pet peeve.)

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