Pardon the jargon

December 12, 2018

Public relations is an industry rich in lingo. It’s also an industry that is commonly confused with advertising and marketing. While a PR campaign can work in tandem with both, the language of PR is all its own.

The correct terminology helps us determine the strategy and services best suited to your business goals, but we never want these terms to become a barrier for our clients and prospective clients to understand what we do on their behalf.

At ECPR, we offer public relations, branding, digital and video services. Check out our glossary of commonly used terms to keep from getting lost in translation.

Above the fold — content that appears on the top half of the front page of a print newspaper or on the topmost part of a news website before scrolling

Advertorial — advertisement + editorial content = advertorial. An advertorial is an advertisement in a publication that resembles editorial content but is in fact advertising

B-roll — extra video footage captured as supplemental that can be used for cutaway footage adding visuals to the story, which appears over the audio of a reporter or interviewee

Boilerplate — short paragraph at the end of a press release used to describe a company or organization

Brand — while informally referring to the logomark, logotype, name and color palette, a brand is more broadly defined as all communications that comprise an entity’s image by stakeholders and the public

Brand Standards — a document that outlines all or most of the rules for using the elements of a brand, including the logomark, logotype, color palette, typography, photography, tagline, entity name as written and spoken and more

Byline — the author of an article

Clips/Hits —published media content about your client

Cost per [Click/Action] — in a digital campaign, the average cost for every click/action taken by your audience

Earned Media — publicity gained through word-of-mouth or promotional efforts other than paid media advertising

Embargo — a media release or announcement shared with the media prior to its publishing date, which includes an understanding that the information will not be published until a certain date and/or time

Engagement rate — a percentage reflecting how many people saw digital content and acted with the content, including liking, sharing/retweeting or commenting

Exclusive — an item of news or an interview given to a single news outlet or reporter who will be the first to broadcast or publish

Identity System — a branded suite of printed and digital correspondence materials, such as business card, letterhead, envelope, notecard and mail label

Impressions v. Reach — impressions are the total number of times a piece of digital content is viewed, while reach is the number of people who viewed a piece of content (Impressions can be greater than reach since a person can see a piece of content multiple times.)

Lead time — the amount of time that a media organization needs to produce a story as it moves from a pitched idea to publication (online, broadcast or print)

Logomark — the non-typography portion of a logo within a brand (for example, the Apple shape or the Nike “swoosh”) sometimes independently used without the logotype

Logotype — the typography portion of a logo within a brand, which is the custom typeset of the entity’s name sometimes independently used without the logomark

Op-ed – A phrase that originated in the world of newspapers, it meant “opposite the editorial page” to distinguish it from the paper’s own unsigned editorial stances. Now, this phrase typically means “bylined opinion column.”

Ping — send an email, text or instant message to reach someone

Pitch — an overview of your client’s news or information that you offer to a media outlet or individual reporter to suggest a story

Re-brand — the process of researching, vetting, developing, refining and gaining consensus for a new brand, which can include a partial or total revision of brand elements, including the entity’s name

Secondary brands — related logos that relate to an entity’s overall identity (the main logo) but which represent a division, service area, program, service or product (for example, SXSW Film and SXSW Music)

Video supers — short for “superimposed,” which is any text or graphic that appears on screen during a video

As PR professionals, we are trusted to communicate our clients’ messages to their target audiences. Although our glossary certainly isn’t a complete list, these more common terms can serve as a quick guide to communication for PR pros and clients.

Lindsay Ketchum is Vice President of Account Management with ECPR.