What is a PR/FAQ?
PR/FAQ, or Press Release and Frequently Asked Questions, is a document that places customers first and guides your team during the early stages of a product or feature launch. They are the first documents that outline your customer’s experience.
Amazon first pioneered this approach, but it has gained traction with product managers because it is customer-centric, considers internal and external questions, and is exemplary for other product documents that come later in your launch. Perfected with launches like Amazon Music, PR/FAQs start with the customer and “work backwards” instead of placing the product first and asking customers to get on board later.
Why should you prepare a PR/FAQ?
One of PR/FAQ’s greatest strengths is that they are readable by everyone. You should write them in a language that the customer can understand. They address both internal and external questions–which ensures everyone is on the same page.
Your marketing team uses it to craft public and open press releases and to create an appropriate publicizing plan. Your sales team uses it to build a sales framework and to consider their networks. The design team uses the PR/FAQ to guide their first design drafts. Your engineering team uses it to start the scoping process. Project managers use it to guide their goals and make sure the team is on track. Backers and stakeholders use it to understand resource designation.
What is “working backwards”?
“Working backwards” describes the method of crafting the perfect customer experience as a goal and then tracing steps retroactively to advise your team on how to proceed. “Working backwards” might be frustrating for your team because you need to perfect your PR/FAQ document before anyone can start coding, designing, or marketing–but doing it this way guides the whole team and lessens ambiguity. Considering the ideal customer experience reduces the risk of trying to fix a disconnect down the line. Doing it this way saves unnecessary delays later on.
As outlined in Colin Bryer and Bill Carr’s book Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon, the most important thing is to listen to your customer. Make sure you fully understand their needs and concerns. Use your observations to clarify what problems your product or feature solves. Describe your solution, and explain how your customer’s experience will improve after launch.
How are PR/FAQs structured?
Because PR/FAQs were standardized and perfected by Amazon, the press release portion follows a relatively standard construction with routine components and is often only one page. However, the question section is exceptionally customizable—and can address what you feel is necessary and may be whatever length you find appropriate. The FAQ section is often considerably longer because it attempts to cover any questions that might arise with your customers and stakeholders.
What do you include in a PR/FAQ?
Press releases typically include a summary that outlines the rest of the PR/FAQ. This part is moderately short, but it guides the reader and gives a basic understanding of your new product or feature.
After the summary, list the existing problems and corresponding solutions that you plan to address. Explain how you plan for your customer to interact with your product after its launch. Include hypothetical internal and external quotes. Your customer quote should be an ideal comment from your audience that elaborates on the problem solved due to using your product.
Finish by writing a short call to action that keeps the reader interested. The frequently asked question portion of the PR/FAQ is a bit more open-ended. It can be as long or short as you need, but make sure to include both internal and external questions and answers. Include realistic uncertainties that a customer might sensibly ask. Next, add internal questions. These are reserved for company eyes and address stakeholders and their concerns.
What is a PR/FAQ template?
A template makes writing your product or feature PR/FAQ easy and comprehensive. Collato’s template guides you through the entire process. Since PR/FAQs are exceptionally collaborative and impact the whole team, Collato’s unique features like card-in-card embedding, embedded tool previews, and integrations including Figma and Jira, make planning and implementation easy. Our template organizes all your information from different tools, email threads, Slack messages, and more. Collato’s template walks you through the process of writing a PR/FAQ, including summaries, customer quotes, and problem and solution descriptions.
PR/FAQ best practices
Take advantage of your preparation – Since you consider your customers and your stakeholders meticulously while preparing your PR/FAQ, use the opportunity to consider questions that they might have ahead of time. Craft answers methodically and precisely to reduce the ambiguity that could arise later. Answer possible questions before your audience has the chance to ask.
Take your time – Because customers are at the forefront of the PR/FAQ, it is crucial to take your time and consider possible questions and concerns they might have. It takes time but be thorough and meticulous. PR/FAQs must be perfected before code is written, so taking your time now will save time later. Many PR/FAQs are rejected in their first iterations, but that way, you’re forced to diligently consider the needs of your customers and company before you develop your launch further.
Put customers first – Amazon’s “working backwards” method revolutionized press releases and frequently asked question documents. For PR/FAQs, your customers should be your guide. Start with them first, and then trace your steps backwards from there.
Make it readable by everyone –PR/FAQs should be digestible to anyone who reads them. And since they begin with a short summary of your product or feature, a well-crafted PR/FAQ doesn’t need to be deciphered. All the information is laid out in an easy-to-read, digestible way. They shouldn’t just be for product managers—everyone in the company should be able to read them. No prior knowledge should be necessary to digest a well-written PR/FAQ.
Include the stakeholders – Make sure to clarify your product or feature to stakeholders, especially in the internal FAQ section. They use this section to understand the product or feature better, to consider capital allocation, and to build trust in the initiative. If stakeholders ask questions you aren’t prepared to answer in your FAQ, then you know that you are not yet in the right phase to complete your PR/FAQ.
Use a template – Although the FAQ section of the document is open-ended and adaptable, the press release portion follows a relatively standard structure. Use Collato’s free template to ensure you stick to the industry standard!