What I Learned Writing My First PRFAQ
I’m a Product Management Intern — here’s my journey on writing my first PR-FAQ including my findings, struggles, and recommendations.
My first assignment after being accepted as a first-time product manager for a start-up creating an app was to write a PR FAQ. I’d heard of a PR, and I’d heard of an FAQ, but I hadn’t ever seen the letters together before.
So I did some googling, it didn’t help much. There’s only one Medium article about it, and that’s really the extent of any information. There’s not much open to the public and not many templates to follow, so people with varying project topics are at a little bit of a loss.
Since I’ve seen, quite literally, nothing about this topic online, here’s some things that I’ve done wrong and learned from writing my first PR FAQ that I hope can be useful to others.
What is a PR FAQ?
Literally, a PR FAQ stands for Press Release with Frequently Asked Questions. The Press Release being the announcement of a new feature of a product or project, a new product or project, a new layout of a screen, or any changes made to or having to do with a product or a project. The FAQ are questions that you (the writer) will assume the audience, the user, or a newcomer to ask about whatever is being announced. The second part of the questions that you will assume the people you work with and higher ups will ask about the announcement and its features. PR FAQs are used for putting customers/users thoughts and needs first. These are also great documents for getting everyone in the project on the same page with each other.
What I Had Trouble With
First of all, I was a little too conversational. I took this document as something that I assumed the average person would read and need to understand. That’s not quite the case. It’s a good idea to hype up the announcement and sell your product, trying to get as many people as interested in it as many, but you don’t need to spoon feed the readers information. This is aimed towards who it pertains to, so really anybody interested in what you’re doing. This means that not only will the average person read your document, but the people within your company will too. You need to condense a lot of information into ten paragraphs, for anyone at any level of involvement to read. This isn’t to say you have to be very rigid or strict with your wording, just enough to give yourself credibility. Be clear and concise, use general language but don’t give general information. Don’t repeat phrases just so you don’t have to be specific.
It was difficult trying to think from another person’s perspective nevertheless two people’s perspectives. The public and internal sets of questions don’t need to be very specific, but it needs to sound like the customer or an internal person is asking. The public questions will be a lot of “how do I do this?” and “can I do this?” while the internal questions will be more about “how will this help us?” and “how will users interact with this?”. Public questions revolve around how the product/project works and how easy (or difficult) it will be for them to figure out how to work any new feature. Internal questions are concerned about their competitors, their longevity, and figuring out of something is of quality for their customers or users. Below are some examples from my first PR FAQ dealing with making a new capture/camera screen.
- How long is the limit to record/upload a video?
The time limit for videos is fifteen seconds.
2. How can I upload pictures from my camera roll?
Swipe up diagonally from the bottom left corner and you will be taken to your camera roll where you can choose an image from any photo album on your phone.
3. How many seconds of a video can I upload from my camera roll?
The fifteen second limit still remains. If you want to upload a video longer than fifteen seconds, there will be an edit page where you can shorten the video to which part you want within the time limit.
- How does this compare to other popular apps?
The screen itself, specifically how the camera fills the entire screen is similar to Snapchat and Instagram stories, but this is a very unique screen that gives the user a lot of freedoms. It’s a refreshing break from the overused circle button and it will be very recognizable.
- What will users like least about the new features/layout?
Eliminating the “picture button” itself may throw people off and will be hard to get used to. However, the layout is familiar enough to quickly get used to it and will not be too strange after an hour or so of use.
- Which features will users interact with the most?
The features that will get most interaction will be the diamond and the camera roll buttons to take/pick photos/videos. Besides these two features, the flash button will be used the most.
Following templates is hard, especially when there’s not that many of them open to the public. When I did manage to find a nice template, I struggled with knowing when and how it could apply to the project I was writing for. Following templates is also hard when you are still having trouble understanding how you’re supposed to be writing. Nevertheless, take anything you can get. Copy and paste any and all templates you can find into a document and take it one by one, applying their steps and questions to what you’re working on. Once you finish, try to find which one seems like the best fit. If you have to, find the ones that don’t fit and work backwards. I stuck with using the Medium’s only PR FAQs article that I could find. It’s very simple, broad, and vague enough to fit to near any type of project or product you’re working on.
To get started, think about your problem and solution. You’re making something new, presumably, to fix something or to make an action easier than it was before. So you really need to think about why you didn’t like this thing originally and why it didn’t work for anyone else. Once you have a firm grasp on everything negative about this thing, you start to make your solutions to the problems you’ve found. These are the aspects that you want to see change and that you know will do better than what was there originally. Make a T-Chart if you need to (pros and cons list) — most importantly, just get started.
At the end of the day, PR FAQs are useful documents. It’s the first step in any project for advancing or changing up a product because it lets everyone know what the end goal is. It’s also a good time for you to start working through what you think is best and what you don’t. Imagining what the best options are and writing them down will help you and your team in the long run.
If all else fails and you are really at a loss and you feel like you bit off more than you can chew, always ask questions. The people in charge of you are there for a reason, they want you to ask questions. They want to have the best possible outcome so if you’re frantically searching the internet and finding nothing, ask for resources. Despite the fear of letting your boss(es) know you are inexperienced in this, it’s a great teaching and learning opportunity.
Those are just some things that I learned from my first ever PR FAQ. I wish you find something that works for you and you stick with it and it brings you a “job well done”.
I’m a Product Management Intern at Dark Matter Digital — a strategic product studio that specializes in helping companies create and test new software verticals.
I’m also a sophomore at Drexel University, where I study film and video production.
Follow along with my journey of being a first time Junior PM in my blog series, which you can find on the Dark Matter Digital publication.