“Did you see that huge hit for X client? I am receiving a lot of great traction for that pitch angle!”
If you are a veteran of the PR world, you most likely read the above sentence and understood its meaning perfectly; you maybe even have had a slight, victorious smile on behalf of your fellow pro in the trenches. Yet to our friends, families and even some of our colleagues that are new to the hectic world that is public relations, that sentence probably seemed like it was written in a foreign language.
As PR continues to evolve into a career that integrates writing, editing, social media, research, communication, events, and a whole host of other skills, the terms we use to describe our jobs and daily activities will grow and change – and staying up to speed is essential for the experienced and newbie alike.
Though the PR universe is rich with lingo, I compiled a list of the 25 must-know words and phrases to get any professional off on the right foot and keep us all in-the-know:
- Angle – A specific emphasis we chose for a story that we present to the media – ie: presenting headphones as a great travel gadget because they are portable.
- B2B (business to business) – Clients that focus on resources by businesses for businesses – PR efforts deal a lot with trade and business publications as well as analyst firms.
- B2C (business to consumer) – Clients speak directly to average consumers with their products and services – PR efforts deal with print, online and broadcast consumer media.
- Boilerplate – A short company description most often used at the end of a press release.
- Byline – Articles or tips that are authored by a thought leader at a company (or the company itself) about a topic in which they are influential. Used as part of a robust media relations campaign and often preferred by media because it is ready made (a.k.a. easy to publish) content.
- B-roll –Previously recorded video footage, often shown in the background, which can be used to bolster a news story about your client.
- Circulation – The total number of copies of a print publication that is available for readers, whether through subscriptions or newsstands. This is a number we share with clients as one of the factors to the relevancy of a piece of coverage they have received.
- Coverage/Clip/Hits – An article, story, blog or segment that mentions your client. Also refers to the physical copy of that mention that can be given to clients.
- Earned Media – Third-party endorsement for your client, whether from the sharing of media coverage or tweets, reviews and posts from consumers of your client’s product.
- Ed Cals – Short for editorial calendars, ed cals are a schedule of topics media will cover at a certain publication for the entire year. These can give PR pros a starting point for reaching out to an editor about a story.
- Embargo – The sharing of unannounced, relevant information between a PR pro and the media that cannot be published before an agreed upon time and date. For example, if you have a new phone model coming out, you contact reporters asking if they are interested in information, reach an agreement that they won’t post the news before a certain time and then give them a preview of the information to be announced.
- Exclusive – Offering first-look information or samples to a single, usually major, media outlet. This means that the information or product won’t be shared with any other outlets until the original outlet has posted their story. Can be a good way to kick off a campaign.
- Launch – The official announcement, usually jump started with a press release, about a new product or service.
- Lead time – The amount of time needed by reporters to gather information for their story; varies by type of outlet, with magazines having the longest lead times and online the shortest.
- Owned Media – Content created by you and your client, such as company blogs, company website and corporate social media profiles.
- Paid Media – Not just your traditional advertising, this can encompass Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter ads that can work as part of an integrated PR and social media strategy.
- Pitch – A highly targeted note that is crafted and sent to an editor to gauge their interest in your client. Can also incorporate photos and videos, and ends with a call to action.
- Press kit – A set of documents given to media, usually containing press releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other relevant material to them about your client or their product/service.
- Press tour – Usually done in anticipation of the launch of a new product or service, press tours are 1-2 day events where you invite select media to interact with your client and their upcoming offerings face-to-face. This can be a great way to enrich relationships with editors you may not often see, and allow reporters an early, hands-on look at unreleased projects.
- Round-up – A story that highlights several products/services that apply to a certain topic, which can range from Valentine’s Day gifts to best products from a trade show. Though these are smaller than feature stories, they are a great compliment to any media relations campaign and can often point out the strengths of your clients versus their competitors.
- Syndication/syndicate – A news service that takes a single story and places it on several websites or in several outlets nation/worldwide – Associated Press is an example of a syndicate. When a piece of client coverage is syndicated, it means that the same story ran in multiple media outlets.
- Traction – A term to denote interest in your client from a media outlet – this could be a request for more information or actual coverage.
- Trade publication – A publication targeted to a specific industry for people that work in that industry (usually not for consumption by the general public).
- UVM (unique visitors per month) – The number of real, individual visitors to a website, determined by individual IP addresses of the visitors. A way to measure the popularity of a website (the higher the number the better), rather than relying on number of site visits, which can encompass one person visiting a site several times. Can help show clients how many people potentially saw their article.
- Sending over the wire/wire service – A distribution service for press releases that allows you to get news out about your client to several media outlets across the country in a short amount of time. Since there is a cost associated with wire services, they are usually only used in the event of big company news or breaking news. Businesswire and PR Newswire are examples of this service.
Though this certainly isn’t a complete list, it can serve as a quick guide for both PR pros and clients, letting them know what services your you are expected to perform and can offer.
Any other terms you think should make the list?