Meet the City Road Comms team: Archie Osmond

As far as meet-and-greets are concerned, Archie Osmond was thrown in the deep end. It was two years ago that he showed up at the City Road Comms’ Christmas party (he was invited, to be fair) – it was his first chance to meet the team before starting his role with the agency in January 2022.

Archie joined CRC soon after finishing his politics and international relations degree at Leeds Uni. Ever since taking his first steps into the world of PR and comms, he has excelled in delivering great content, exceptional media coverage and assisting on a wide variety of accounts, ranging from mortgage clients through to personal finance and cybersecurity.

Away from work, Archie’s interests include live comedy, the languishing Chelsea Football Club, and a new-found love of running. Read on to learn more about our up-and-coming account executive.

What attracted you to work in PR and communications?

Strangely enough, I didn’t know I wanted to go into PR until I was sitting in a job interview for a comms role with a different agency. They asked me why I wanted the job, and I said that I wanted to be a journalist. They then said: “That’s not what this job is”, and the interview ended quite abruptly. 

However, when I then started doing some reading up – probably something I should have done before the interview – I learned that I actually did want to work for a comms agency, not a newsroom. 

Coming from a degree in politics and international relations, I knew I wanted to work in an industry that required you to have your finger on the pulse of current affairs. The rest, as they say, is history.

Which business is nailing it with their PR and comms?

Norwich City Football Club did a social media campaign for World Mental Health Day earlier this year, which I thought was fantastic. As well as changing their shirt sponsor to suicide prevention charity Samaritans for a game, the club produced a clever video that raised awareness for men’s mental health and encouraged people to check in on their friends, even if they don’t appear to be struggling.

It’s a really important topic considering that suicide is the leading cause of death among men under the age of 50. The video is on the club’s X (formerly known as Twitter) account, I’d encourage you to check it out if you haven’t seen it already. For me, it was a great example of how organisations or brands can use different platforms and forms of content to spark conversations around big issues. 

What are you most likely to be found doing outside of work?

During the summer, I’d most likely be found watching the cricket. But now that the season is over, I spend most of my time running or cooking – although I don’t always do them at the same time.

What website do you visit the most?

I suppose I should say that Cision (the website we use for our media monitoring and journo database) is my most visited website… but I think it would be remiss of me to suggest that it was anything other than BBC Sport’s cricket page. 

Whether it’s keeping up with someone’s bowling average or checking in on the latest scores, I think it’s important for PR professionals to be on top of the world’s greatest game at all times.

What is the last book you read?

The Business by Iain Banks. He’s my favourite author at the moment, although this probably wasn’t his best work. Nevertheless, it had an interesting concept, and the main character was very likeable – I don’t think I’d want to do PR for her company though.

What is your coffee order?

Cappuccino with no cocoa powder on top under any circumstances – it’s a coffee, not a hot chocolate.

Archie Osmond

Account Executive

About the author

Archie graduated with a degree in International Relations from the University of Leeds in 2021, where he took a keen interest in U.S. politics and political communication. He started at City Road Communications in January 2022 as a Communications Executive with clients spanning property, investment and technology.


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Why clichés and jargon will kill your PR strategy

Dominic Pollard, Director, City Road Communications

Jargon is divisive, especially in business. Some embrace it – there’s nothing they like more than to touch base, deep dive or circle back. Then there are those who are seemingly revulsed by these workplace idiosyncrasies. Such phrases are readily mocked, easy fodder as they are for any satire of crap management. 

But I am guilty of using jargon. It’s hard not to. Barely a meeting will go by without my mentioning marcomms, op-eds, sell-ins, and “hits” of coverage – all terms that would have people outside of the PR and communications industry scratching their heads.

I am working on it. Yet there is also an important distinction in when jargon is used.

In everyday internal communication within businesses, jargon fulfils a purpose. They are invariably phrases that are understood and can succinctly convey an opinion or a necessary action. Also, in dialogue, clarifications can easily be provided to ensure the right message comes across. 

When it comes to external communications, however, it is a very different matter. Jargon and, more generally, lazy clichés must be avoided at all costs. 

As PR professionals, our job is to help businesses and brands effectively communicate ideas and stories to different audiences. Jargon can be a huge hindrance, both when speaking with journalists and when putting content in front of a reader. 

Avoiding jargon with journalists 

Journalists are contacted by dozens if not hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of businesses and PR agencies each day. Whether sending them a press release or an idea for a guest article for their publication, to get their attention, your pitch must be clear and concise. Jargon that might be familiar to one business (or PR agency) might be lost on the journalist. The result: they quickly move on to the next email in their inbox.

Yet it is equally bad practice to use phrases that are so commonplace and clichéd that they lose any impact or meaning. 

Here are some of the best examples of this: disruptive, next-generation, innovative, ground-breaking. There is a propensity among businesses to weave these adjectives into their marketing copy. And many PR professionals are guilty of it too.

I’ve lost count of the number of businesses I have spoken to that describe themselves as disruptive. Very few are – in fact when it comes to early-stage startups, it is a tiny, tiny percentage. They might be nascent businesses with the potential to disrupt a market, industry or status quo, but only if they scale immensely. 

If, then, you email a journalist shouting about the latest piece of news from your disruptive, next-gen startup, expect short shrift. Journalists tend to be cynical by nature – they ought to be, given they have to scrutinise and unearth interesting, newsworthy nuggets of information from a vast number of lengthy emails and documents. So, it is logical that they would tut and roll their eyes when reading their tenth press release that day wherein a startup describes itself as disruptive.

Robert Scammell, editor of UK Tech News, sums it up perfectly: “Startups have limited time to capture a journalist’s attention. Why waste it on clichéd words that add no value and will ultimately never make it into a story? 

“At best, words like ‘next-gen’, ‘market-leading’ and ‘disruptive’ come across as lazy. At worst, they indicate a startup is compensating for a lack of identity or, in some cases, a solid business model.  

“The inverse is also true – a startup that clearly communicates what it does and the problem it’s solving without the fluff signals confidence in itself.”

Clear, whenever speaking with journalists, being as plain and direct as possible is the best approach. That’s why brevity is now such an important skill when it comes to PR and communications.

Keeping jargon out of your customer-facing content 

Jargon can act as a deterrent when trying to pique the interest of journalists. Its impact when communicating directly with your desired audience is different, but no less serious.

We could be talking about a press release or guest article you want to get published in the media or perhaps content for your own blog or social media platforms. Whatever form the content is taking, the same guiding principle applies – focus on conveying your message as clearly and simply as possible.

Your content needs to demonstrate a knowledge of a particular topic or issue; establish your brand’s values and align these with those of your customers, and encourage people to trust in what you say and what you do, to name a few key objectives. To achieve this, get your points across using simple language that everyone understands. Avoid banal phrases that don’t actually mean anything.

Yes, yes, there might be times when you are writing for an industry-specific readership, in which case there are likely going to be phrases that will be widely understood by the audience. But one should always be mindful of writing content on the assumption that their jargon is universally known within a particular field. 

Moreover, as stated at the very start of this article, jargon is divisive, even if people know fully well what it means. It will not resonate well with all people nor build a positive rapport. Similarly, clichés are by definition, generic and unimaginative, hardly likely to elicit much of a response from a reader. 

Fundamentally, PR is about building and maintaining a positive image of your business and the people within it. Getting in the right media outlets so as to be seen by your desired audiences is a key part of the challenge, but creating content that will have a positive impact is even more important. Jargon impedes both. 

Businesses managing their own public relations and external communications must step back and carefully consider the language they are using. PR agencies, meanwhile, must have open enough relationships with clients to tell ‘you shouldn’t describe yourself as a disruptive, next-gen fintech innovator’ for fear of pissing off both journalists and their readers. 

Say what you think, explain what you do, or provide insight into the topic. And do it through clear and concise language.

Dominic Pollard

Communications Director

About the author

With a history degree, journalism Master’s, and several years’ experience writing about business and technology for both the national and trade press, Dominic moved into the world of content marketing and comms in 2014. He joined City Road Comms in 2016, becoming the agency’s director of comms two years later. Dominic now oversees clients’ strategies and the overall operations of the agency.


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