interns in a meeting
Our Firm

A Guide to Public Relations Lingo

By Mackenzie Berk

August 12, 2020

Working at Channel V Media as a Business Communications Intern I got the opportunity to dive deep into the public relations field by joining in on client calls, creating media lists, pitch writing, formulating brand ideas, and more. Knowing public relations lingo will improve any intern experience.

To help future PR interns, here is a shortlist of 20 must-know public relations terms, their meanings and uses.

Public Relations Lingo You’ll Want to Know

B2B (Business to Business):

These are businesses that sell products or services to other businesses. This is often technology, but can also refer to a division of a company that sells directly to businesses. For example, Dropbox’s marketing targets large enterprises, but their product can be used by anyone.

B2C (Business to Consumer):

This describes businesses selling products or services to consumers. Think anything you would buy, from clothes to electronics to food.

Boilerplate:

Often used at the end of a press release, a boilerplate is a concise company description.

Byline:

This is a thought leadership article, written by a company executive on an industry topic. 

Crossing the Wire/Sending Over The Wire:

This term comes from the era of telegraph wires, but now refers to the action of putting out a press release via a service, like PR Newswire or Business Wire. These services allow you to get news out about your client to several media outlets across the country in a very short amount of time.

Earned Media:

This is essentially what others are saying about you. PR drives earned media by securing third party endorsement across publications for clients. Earned media also includes reviews, social media and articles or coverage on other websites. 

Editorial Calendars:

Publications typically release an editorial calendar every year, outlining certain themes and topics that they will be covering each month. These usually include timing for awards and events. An editorial calendar might show that a consumer publication’s theme for February is love & dating, which means the majority of content will fall under that theme.  

Embargo:

In PR, this refers to the date that a piece of news cannot be released before. For example, if a piece of news is under embargo until July 15 at 9:00 AM ET, journalists cannot cover the news before then. 

Evergreen:

This describes content or story ideas that could be published at any time. This differs from a story with a strict timely component, for example, a new product, event or campaign.

Exclusive:

This means that news is given to one journalist, who has the chance to write about it first. Majority of the time, this also allows them to cover before the embargo. 

KPIs:

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are goals set by clients and PR firms. KPIs are tracked using a client tracker that is updated weekly or even daily to track performance and movement towards the goals.

Owned Media:

The company directly controls its owned media, such as its website, blogs and newsletters.

Paid Media:

This refers to advertisements and other publicity a company pays to have created and published. Paid media includes traditional advertisements, as well as commercials, social media ads and sponsored articles.

Pitch:

Pitches are central to PR. Their purpose is to gauge a journalist’s interest in a client. Journalists get hundreds of pitches a day from publicists. You need to stand out by being creative, concise, and personal. Pitches shouldn’t only be used when a client has news. They are useful for setting up introductory interviews, offering proactive and reactive commentary on specific topics, and overall, offer interesting story ideas to journalists with your client in mind. 

Pitch Angle:

The angle of the pitch is crucial. The pitch requires a creative and finely tuned sense of what to emphasize when presenting a story to the media. This angle will change based on who you’re pitching as well (i.e. consumer vs. business).  

Press Release:

Also known as a news release, a document that outlines every part of a piece of news. A press release holds all the details a journalist will need to cover a story, and it’s distributed into the public sphere for anyone interested to make use of.

Round-up:

This is an article that focuses on summarising, products, services or companies around a certain topic or industry. I’ve found that this is effective for pointing out your client’s strengths and how they stand out against their competitors. This could be something like, “Best Swimsuits to Wear This Summer” or “Companies with the Coolest Offices in NYC.”

SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a strategy for growing a website’s visibility through organic searches. SEO is the practice of improving a company’s website rankings. PR specialists optimize content with an aim for optimized content to rank well on Google’s search results when customers search for relevant keywords.

Trade Publication: 

These are publications – be it print or online — that target people who work in a specific industry. There is a trade publication for everything from those that cover overall retail to those that cover specifically footwear.

UVM (Unique Visitors Per Month):

This is the number of individual visitors to a website per month. The IP address tracks the data and the UVM measures a website’s popularity rather than simply counting the number of site visits. 

I hope you find this short list of public relations lingo and definitions helpful as you navigate your current or future internship. 

Leave a Reply