PR dictionary

Below are a number of terms that you may come across when researching or first entering PR.

  • Above the line: Advertising that is 'talking at you', e.g. television, radio, posters.
  • Below the line: Advertising that is 'talking to you', e.g. direct mail, point of purchase, leaflets.
  • Blog: Is a website, usually maintained by an individual, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic.
  • Brand: A product or service that has been refined and given a registered name to distinguish it from other products/services.
  • Brief: The outline of what needs to be done on a project.
  • B2B: (Business to Business) Public relations marketing communication dedicated to providing information resources between businesses. Includes professional services, training, human resources and office supplies.
  • B2C: (Business to Consumer) As B2B, but between businesses and the consumer.
  • Community Relations: Corporate social outreach programmes designed to build relations and foster understanding of the role of the business to neighbours in the local community.
  • Consultancy: Externally hired public relations services, either an individual consultant or a public relations consultancy.
  • Copy: Written material for printing, the text of an advertisement, a press release or an article that is being written (before it has been published).
  • Copywriting: The production of text for publications, advertising, marketing materials, websites etc. Most agencies employ specialists skilled with a direct and succinct writing style.
  • Corporate identity: The ways in which companies identify and brand themselves. This can be through logos, house style and uniforms.
  • Corporate Communications: Public relations for a corporation integrated as part of the company's strategic objectives.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Borne from the belief that trade brings obligations, CSR makes companies responsible for their use of resources, both environmentally and socially. The role of public relations in CSR strategies is to communicate effectively to build corporate accountability and transparency.
  • Crisis Management:Having a plan in place that can be effectively actioned when something goes wrong for an organisation.
  • Embargo: In international commerce and politics, an embargo is the exclusion of commerce (division of trade) and trade with a certain country, in order to isolate it and to put its government into a difficult internal situation, given that the effects of the embargo are often able to make its economy suffer from the initiative. The embargo is usually used as a political punishment for some previous disagreed policies or acts, but its economic nature frequently raises doubts about the real interests that the prohibition serves.
  • Environmental Communications: PR sector specialising in communication on sustainable use of resources, environmental impact of business and corporate social responsibility.
  • E-PR/Online PR: Communicating over the web and using new technology to effectively communicate with stakeholders.
  • Evaluation:Measuring the impact of a public relations campaign. This process is typically linked with planning and research.
  • Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG): Are products that are sold quickly at relatively low cost. Though the absolute profit made on FMCG products is relatively small, they generally sell in large quantities, so the cumulative profit on such products can be large. Examples of FMCG generally include a wide range of frequently purchased consumer products such as toiletries, soap, cosmetics; as well as other non-durables such as batteries, paper products and plastic. FMCG may also include pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics, packaged food products and drinks.
  • Fees: The charges consultants and consultancies make for the time of their staff working on client programmes, usually invoiced in regular monthly instalments or quarterly in advance.
  • Financial PR: Financial services sector communications demanding understanding of consumers, their buying patterns and how to influence them, the position of companies in markets and corporate processes such as Initial Public Offerings (IPO's), Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A's), demutualisation and hostile bids.
  • Fundraising/Sponsorship: Looking for partners to provide financial support or support 'in kind' for an event or activity where both parties will benefit.
  • Healthcare Communications: PR sector specialising in public and private healthcare provision, including leisure health, effect of drugs and impacts of medical research.
  • In-House Magazines/Newsletter: A tool to communicate with employees about news, issues and developments of interest to them about the organisation they work for.
  • In-House: Staff within a company or organisation responsible for public relations function.
  • Internal Communications: Organisational use of process communication to help achieve corporate objectives. Includes employee and shareholder communications.
  • Marketing communications (marcomms): Are messages and related media used to communicate with a market. Marketing communications focuses on product or service as opposed to a corporate communication.
  • Media/Presentation Training: Training to help when dealing with the various media (including television and radio), with journalists and when making a pitch to prospective clients.
  • Media Monitoring: Monitoring a company's coverage in the press, on TV and radio, and on the internet.
  • Media Relations: Dealing with and building up good working relationships with journalists from the broadcast and print media.
  • News/press release: Written information that is deemed to be newsworthy. Often sent out to journalists and/or interested parties.
  • Pitch: A presentation of a recommended public relations programme, generally carefully researched and costed, which can take up to four weeks to prepare and for which some consultancies reserve the right to charge a fee if not subsequently appointed.
  • Podcast: A podcast is a series of digital computer files, usually either digital audio or video that is released periodically and made available for download. New files can be downloaded automatically by the podcatcher and stored locally on the user's computer or other device for offline use, making it simpler for the user to download content that is released episodically.
  • Press Release (also known as a News Release): Statement describing an event or item which is considered to be of sufficient interest to readers/viewers/listeners for an editor to publish reference to it.
  • Print Production: The process of producing printed material such as brochures, posters and leaflets.
  • Public Affairs/Lobbying: Those aspects of public relations communication involving relations with governmental or statutory bodies or their semi-official organisations through sophisticated use of political intelligence and pressure.
  • Public Relations: The determined, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics. Also understood as reputation management.
  • Publics: Audiences important to the organisation.
  • Research: Finding out background information about a company, product or person to assist with a public relations campaign.
  • Social media: Can take many different forms, including internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, to name a few. Examples of social media applications are Google Groups (reference, social networking), Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), Facebook (social networking).
  • Social Messaging: A social messaging utility for staying connected in real-time for example, Twitter.
  • Spokesperson: The PR person authorised to speak on behalf of an organisation/individual.
  • Stakeholders: Can also be referred to as publics; audiences important to the organisation.
  • Target market: The audience(s) the organisation has chosen to whom to communicate its key messages.