If you’re new to PR and unsure of the lingo, our E=MC2 PR Dictionary will help you get to grips with the industry’s jargon, buzz-words and terminology.
Above the line: above the line or ATL is mass media-based promotion through media channels such as the internet, TV and radio and print (see also: below the line, through the line). The ‘line’ comes from an accounting term: above the line meaning ‘capital expenditure’ and below the line ‘current expenditure’. For some above the line refers to general awareness marketing and below the line, interest and desire-based marketing.
Audio news release (ANR): pre-taped news releases, sent to radio stations, feature voice actualities of organisation spokespersons or representatives. An ANR may be sent with paper copy of a wrapper to be used by the newscaster. The wrapper also may be pre-recorded. An ANR usually contains spot news or an organization’s reaction to spot news or a current issue.
Below the line: below the line (BTL) advertising is personalised or highly targeted promotion and brand-building through direct mail, flyers, point-of-sale promotions, telemarketing and niche offers (see also: above the line, through the line). The ‘line’ comes from an accounting term: above the line meaning ‘capital expenditure’ and below the line ‘current expenditure’. For some above the line refers to general awareness marketing and below the line, interest and desire-based marketing.
Byline: identifies the name of the journalist or author of a piece of editorial and is placed under the headline.
Crisis management: a communications plan that can be effectively put into action when something goes wrong for a company or organisation. This includes policies and procedures for the distribution of information to employees, media and government.
Direct mail, direct marketing: advertising and printed promotional material such as brochures, flyers, mailshots and other printed or digital communications sent directly to customers via mail, email or courier delivery.
Doorstepping: a term mainly used in media for waiting outside somebody's home for the appearance of a subject of interest. For example a news photographer or journalist waiting for a celebrity or politician in the hope of an exclusive to sell to the media.
e-zine: electronic magazine delivered via a website or an email newsletter.
Feature: a broad or in-depth newspaper, magazine, internet, radio or TV article that discusses, analyses or interprets an issue, subject or trend. A feature generally takes longer to research and produce than a news story.
Freelancer: writer / photographer who sells writing / photography services and is not under regular contract to any one publication or agency.
Geo-marketing (marketing geography): uses geographic location information in marketing promotions. It can be used in any aspect of the marketing mix – product, price, promotion, or place (geo targeting). Geo-marketing is having a direct impact on the development of high street retailing and the reorganisation of retail types.
Guest editorial: an analysis of or commentary on news events or public concerns, written by someone outside the publication considered to be an expert on the subject.
Holding statement: drafted in the event of a crisis situation to address the media. A holding statement will not be released unless the media request a response from an organisation about the crisis.
Integrated campaign: combining multi-marketing communications channels such as online, print, TV and radio, B2B, direct marketing, video and advertising.
Lobbying: direct attempts to influence legislative and regulatory decisions in government. Lobbyists can be either individuals such as public relations consultants who, for pay, provide certain types of lobbying services on behalf of a client, or employees whose jobs involve a significant amount of lobbying for their employers.
Logo: a graphic or symbol owned by and representing a company or brand.
Marketing Communications (also integrated marketing communications or marcoms): a joined-up or holistic approach to promoting your organisation’s key selling messages, products and services using marketing, public relations and advertising across one or more marketing channels such as digital, print, radio, television, direct mail / mailshot and personal selling.
Media drop: arranging to have a celebrity, spokesperson, mascot, etc. drop in on a radio or TV station. It also refers to dropping off creative publicity props and other materials to create buzz and hopefully earn an on-air mention.
Messages: agreed words or statements that an organisation wants to communicate to its audiences.
News conference: live news information given by an organisation to invited media. The format is usually a presentation of information by the organisation followed by a question and answer session. Also known as a press conference.
News value: the key elements of a good news story. It determines how much prominence a news story is given by the media and the audience based on:
Newswire: an electronic service used for the transmission of breaking news stories or other information.
NIB (news in brief): a collection of short stories or a single story presented in one or two short paragraphs in print or online.
Optimised press release: press release that is optimised for search engine results and released online.
Photocall / photo opportunity: an advance notice to the media stating that there will be a formally organised opportunity at a set time and date to take a press photograph of a particular person or event.
Public relations: planned and executed messages to selected media to enable an organisation (or person) to establish and build relationships and favourable environments to increase sales and enhance and safeguard its reputation.
Press release: the most common written form used in public relations, announcing a client's news and information. Also referred to as a news release (see above). A news story written for and released to media.
Public affairs: the process of communicating an organisation's point of view on issues or causes to political audiences like MPs and lobbying groups.
QR code: also called quick response codes, are 2-D barcodes that behave like hyperlinks and can be decoded using your smartphone with a QR code reader. They can link to a new product page on your website, a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter profile, a Google maps reference, vouchers or special offers – just about anything you want to show and tell your customers about.
QR code reader: a scanning device which reads QR codes.
QR code generator: creates QR codes for directing consumers to a new product page on your website, a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter profile, a Google maps reference, vouchers or special offers – just about anything you want to show and tell your customers about.
Qurify / qurifying: creating QR codes (quick response codes) to make what ever you want more interactive, e.g. to put one on your business card, on flyers for a party or poster to promote your products or services.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): producing greater visibility for a website by planning and adjusting the content, keywords and phrases of a web page in order to improve its position in search results (search engine ranking).
Social media release (SMR): an enhanced news release, the SMR follows the sample principles of newsworthiness as the traditional news release, but it’s augmented by various bells and whistles such as audio, video, social bookmarking links, photos, and RSS feeds.
Social news channel: the communications platforms used by people on the internet to engage, exchange information, share views and ideas with their peers, social groups and the public (e.g. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, internet chat rooms and discussion forums).
Stringers: part-time correspondents who string news to the media. They are usually paid by the number or length of stories published.
Through the line: through the line (TTL) refers to promotional activities which combine both below the line (BTL) highly targeted niche marketing (direct mail, point-of-sale promotions, telemarketing) and above the line (ATL) broad media-based marketing (e.g. digital, TV, radio, print). The ‘line’ comes from an accounting term: above the line meaning ‘capital expenditure’ and below the line ‘current expenditure’. For some above the line refers to general awareness marketing and below the line, interest and desire-based marketing.
Transcript: written outline of a radio or broadcast about a client.
Video news release (VNR): a pre-taped positive news story about an individual or organisation which PRs distribute to TV programme editors and newsrooms. Often prepared in advance for the media to use on a slow news day, to mark a particular event or to air in a crisis.
Voiceover: narrative spoken over video or audio.