The Perspective 
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
A few months ago, I started reading a new blog called “Buzz, not Buzzwords.” And as I continued, I wondered if someone had magically tapped into my stream of consciousness and made a blog out of it.

After covering the digital signage industry for three years and coming from a PR background, I’ve painstaking sifted through many a bad press release and wondered what corporate communication department actually gave it their blessing. Apparently, there was someone else out there thinking the same thing.

That man is Dave Haynes, known to many as one of the veterans of the digital signage industry, having worked for EnQii, Broadsign and now with the Preset Group. But Haynes is also a former journalist, and like me, reads through all the digital signage press releases that hit the wire (both good and bad).

Seeing that a lot of the mar-com in this industry needed some refinement, he launched the Buzzwords blog along side a service called PressDOOH in 2009, which is geared specifically at improving public relations in the digital signage industry.

As an industry journalist, let me say that companies that have taken him up on this offer have reaped some rewards with the digital signage journalism community (as small as we may be). I know when I see an email coming from PressDOOH, I can expect an organized press release, images and quotes that actually have some meaning to them.

That’s because, from my point of view, Haynes writes for the modern multimedia journalist. Here are several examples:
1. Unlike traditional PR, he doesn’t walk the line between providing key information for journalists and making an executive board happy. This means that we don’t have to dodge terms like “best-in-class,” “leading provider” and “next-generation.” (or “bleeding-edge!” Grrrrr!)

2. He takes the most relevant and appealing information and puts it first. Bottom line: I have a reason to keep reading.

3. When possible, he adds images and video to any releases he sends out. This allows us as editors to create a more complete story, and these days, that kind of multimedia reporting is almost expected.
Let me say that not all press releases are bad, but the ones that are, I get the impression that they’re coming from a small company where someone untrained in public relations or professional writing was tasked with throwing something together at the last minute. Or, the release is so jargon-heavy that I can’t understand what the product even does (this usually occurs in release about media players or connectivity hardware).

Now, the Buzzwords blog hasn’t existed without any criticism. I’ve heard several mar-com people knock Haynes for being overly judgmental of their press. For those folks, I encourage them to just take a few minutes to take a look at the blog and be open to a few things that Haynes has written. The advice is coming straight from the source (several of us industry editors are quoted in posts) – and it will help us work better together in the future.

For those who do want to enlist Haynes services, especially with “tradeshow season” coming up, he’s started a new program for the spring called the “Message Tune-Up.” Basically, he’s relaxed his minimum engagement policy for the next few months so you don’t have to do a full-blown campaign, maybe just a few hours of copy editing.
Posted by: Bill Yackey AT 12:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  
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