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PR terms demystified

Every industry has its terminology and public relations or PR) is no exception. Over time it has acquired its own business practices and jargon, which can cause some confusion to the uninitiated -and many of us don’t like to ask for fear of exposing a gap in our knowledge. Additionally, journalists employ their own terms, some of which overlap with PR, that everyone in PR must understand to effectively pitch story ideas and work with journalists. A good grasp of the terminology will help you get the most out of the PR process and we are here to help.

Let’s start with the definition of PR itself - according to the Cambridge Dictionary - it is “the activity of keeping good relationships between an organisation and the general public.” Similarly PRIA’s (Public Relations Institute of Australia) definition is: “Public relations is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics”. But what about all the other phrases and acronyms? Well we’re here to give you a helping hand to cut through the jargon.

What are channels?

  • Broadcast: TV, radio

  • Print: newspapers, magazines, journals, supplements

  • Digital & Social: websites, podcasts, video, social media

Some PR terms:

· Angle/Hook – A specific emphasis we chose for a story that we present to the media.

· Boilerplate – A short company description most often used at the end of a press release.

· ​​B-roll –Previously recorded video footage, often shown in the background of a company video or broadcast news story.

· ​Coverage – An article, story, blog or news segment that mentions your company or a leader within your company.

· ​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.

· ​Exclusive – Offering first-look information or samples to a single 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 or get a larger piece of coverage.

· ​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.

· ​Opinion Piece – Also called a by-line, an opinion piece is perspective written by a thought leader and then placed in a media outlet with the article attributed to the thought leader as the author (rather than attributed to an editor at the news outlet).

· Pitch – A highly targeted message that is crafted and sent to an editor to gauge their interest in a particular topic or company. 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 company or a specific product/service.

· ​Syndication/syndicate – A news service that takes a single story and places it on several websites or in several outlets nation/worldwide – News Com is an example of a syndicate. When a piece of coverage is syndicated, it means that the same story ran in multiple media outlets.

· ​Traction – A term to denote interest 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). Examples include: Australian Broker (mortgage industry)

What’s the difference between circulation and readership?

  • Circulation: how many print copies are sold or distributed

  • Readership: total number of readers including those who read it second-hand

  • Then there are digital terms to get your head around too:

  • Reach: how many individuals or households have the opportunity to read your advertising messages during a set time.

  • Unique users: also known as unique visitors, or simply ‘uniques’. This is the number of unique individuals who access a webpage. If they return to the same page within a set time frame, it only counts as one visit.

What’s the difference between B2B and B2C?

  • B2B: business to business. Businesses selling their products and services to other businesses

  • B2C: business to consumer. Businesses selling their products and services to consumers

If you need help with PR and keeping great relationships between your organisation and the public via the media, we’d love to hear from you!

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