Are you embarking on a new career in public relations?

It is a busy, exciting and constantly evolving environment, so it’s important to keep up to date with new phrases and key terms that you will hear around the office.

Understanding these terms is the first step to building your confidence as you attend interviews, or start your new role.

Key PR terms:

Advertorial  – Copy that has been paid for its insertion, usually with images.

Boilerplate – A short description of the company at the end of a press release, it is there to describe the ‘who’ and ‘what’ within release

Byline – A byline credits the author of the feature as their name gets published, usually with the date under the title of the article that they or their PR agency has written on their behalf

B2B – This means business to business, where clients use PR to communicate with tools that focus on reaching business audiences via trade magazines, business news pages, business related exhibitions, business digital networks such as LinkedIn, corporate networking groups, etc

B2C – This means business to consumer, where clients raise awareness of their product or services via consumer channels such as national newspapers, lifestyle magazines (or special interest media if you are targeting a very specific demographic), broadcast channels, consumer exhibitions, or the popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc

Copy  – The words that make up a feature or a news story

Editorial  – Copy that generally is placed by the print or digital title free of charge as it offers something of value to its readership, so its deemed good news and feature content (the backbone of most PR agencies)

Exclusive – An item of news that is given to one publication before any other.  It cannot be shared with other publications until it has been published by the first media outlet. ‘Exclusives’ can often be associated with celebrity news

Embargo – An embargo is a request that the information provided cannot be published until a specific date and time, due to the sensitive nature of the story. Of course some publications have been known to break an embargo in the past – so if a piece of news is highly sensitive, its always best to consider if this is the best route, or are you best releasing the news when its safe to do so

Forward Features – Forward feature lists are a schedule of topics that a publication will cover throughout the year. Knowing this information gives you a head start; you can inform a magazine editor about a story or client which is relevant to their upcoming articles

Long Leads / Short Leads – Publications are often categorised as to whether they are ‘long lead’ or ‘short lead’. This refers to how far in advance they work – so Long Lead publications such as monthly magazines can typically work 4-6 months in advance, where as with the the weekly magazines 5-8 weeks is more the norm.     

Owned Media – Content created by your client or their PR agency, this includes company blogs, company website and social media posts

Photocall  – A photo opportunity styled to attract press interest at a specific venue, time and date. Issued in advance to news and photodesks with further information on what is being publicised

Page proof  – This is the edited version of how the piece will appear. If you are running a magazine promotion for instance your would normally expect to see a page proof once it has been laid out by the editorial team. This allows you to make any changes prior to the publication going to to print or being published online

Press Cuttings – Media coverage that has been placed by PR professionals – this can be across a wide variety of publications, from local to national publications

Press Pack – A pack which includes press releases, photos, videos and fact sheets about a client, service or product, these are often sent out by PR professionals to journalists at events and exhibitions or before a product launches

Press Release – This is a news story distributed to a range of media, which can include anything from the announcement of a new product on the market to a record-breaking company turnover

Trade Media or ‘Verticals’  – This relates to the sector press in any given industry so the food industry for example have their own set of business related print and digital press – such as The Grocer, Grocery Trader, etc

This is just the beginning of the many key terms used by PR professionals every day, and it will help you understand the inner workings of the industry.