Word Up: A PR Glossary for Beginners
As PR, marketing and SEO merge to best serve audiences, new challenges will naturally arise. One of those challenges comes in the form of a language barrier. PR pros may not always know what the SEOs mean by the often-used acronyms, and if you’ve ever heard your PR colleagues talking or presenting and you don’t have experience in the industry yourself, you may have found yourself feeling like Charlie Brown listening to his teachers.
But never fear; as with any language, PR-speak can be learned with practice. Here are some of the basics to get you started, broken down by three major categories related to PR: pitching, media, and outreach and coverage.
Pitch (or “Pitch letter”)
Whether by email, social media or phone, the pitch is the messaging you’re delivering to the media. It’s the information you provide about the product, service, brand or content you represent, presented in a way that hopefully gets the media person’s attention.
When your pitch is a reaction to something the media contact has already written or shared. For example an article is posted about a problem in your industry and your company/product/service provides a new solution. A reactive pitch would reference the article and make the connection to what you’re pitching.
This type of pitch plays to the person’s ego. The goal is to get her interest and buy-in by asking for her input, feedback, or even participation in what you’re pitching. This works especially well with content – stroke the ego by asking the person to contribute her expertise to what you’re creating. Stakeholders are more likely to share the final product!
The head honcho at a media outlet, this person is most likely not the best PR contact. He makes the business decisions and isn’t usually receptive to receive pitches because he doesn’t create the content for his readers. There are exceptions, especially with smaller, individually owned and operated outlets that may only have one contact who wears all the hats.
Typically a low person on the ladder, the editorial assistant is a great entry way into a media outlet. He is likely doing research and looking for good story ideas, so he may be more receptive to pitches. Some editorial assistants have more writing responsibility than others, so don’t be surprised if he only serves as the introduction to another writer.
Someone who is not a full-time writer for that media outlet, and can, therefore, contribute to multiple publications. Often, this person is a subject matter expert who provides expert insights or tips. It can also be a freelance writer who may not be an expert in one industry, but well-versed in many – writing stories on various topics for a host of different outlets.
Outreach and Coverage
A great definition of this comes from Alyshia at BLASTmedia. She defines it an 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.” Used to ensure that exclusive opportunities are honored and not-yet-released information stays under wraps, an embargo tells the media the exact time they can share your news.
When one media outlet has the first opportunity to share what you’re pitching. It’s critical to select the best media outlet for reaching your audience because, by definition, you only have one exclusive. Once the outlet posts your content it’s fair game for every other outlet to pick up the story, but offering the content exclusivity can be motivation or a larger outlet to pick up your story.
Clip (or “Hit”)
Another way to refer to earned media coverage. For example, “I just got a hit on Forbes.com!” or, “Awesome, have you sent a clip of it to the client yet?”
You know what they say: Use it or lose it. Start incorporating your PR-speak into conversations and break down that barrier.
When you come across a new term you don’t recognize, just ask! Chances are, the PR pro you’re communicating with has some questions about the strange phrases you’ve been throwing around too. We all need to help educate one another to become the best we can be in order to serve our clients in this ever-changing landscape.
Image credit: MoiVous