PR Lingo 101: Phrases Every Pro Should Know

B-roll. Byline. Ed Cals. Embargo. Owned media. Press release. UMV.

 

If you’re a PR professional or work with media, you probably use some or all of these terms on a regular basis. We throw these phrases around with each other in the office, but we have to be mindful when speaking with a client or someone who’s not as familiar with public relations (like our friends or family). Heck, there were even some terms I had never heard of before starting my career at Dittoe PR (ed cals, anyone?).

 

Whether it’s an acronym, slang or just a word you’ve never heard of, we PR pros definitely have a language of our own. To help catch you up to speed, below we’ve started a modest list of terms and phrases we use daily. Sprinkle some of this lingo into a conversation with us, and we’ll know you’re a pro (or just someone who has done their homework).

 

PR: Let’s start with the basics – PR stands for “public relations.” My fiancé always gets upset with me when I throw this phrase around, because “not everyone knows what PR stands for.” I definitely try to be mindful when I’m introducing myself and my company for the first time, making sure I say “Dittoe Public Relations” and not just Dittoe PR. While it may be a no-brainer to those in our industry, those outside of our world might not be as sure.

 

Boilerplate: Think of a boilerplate as an “About Me” section. This is a chance to share the most pertinent information about your company. Typically located at the bottom of a press release, a boilerplate usually includes a few sentences about a company that gives the audience an understanding of its history, core services and mission. Including other milestones or industry recognition (like award wins) is acceptable, too.

 

B-roll: We often tell reporters that they can “capture b-roll” when they come out to an event, or that there will be “great b-roll opportunities.” Basically, this just means that there will be a chance for reporters to capture extra footage to go along with their story. B-roll can help make a segment more visually pleasing, just so you’re not watching a talking head the whole time. Know when you watch a TV segment and you see all those fancy camera angles? Yeah, that’s b-roll.

 

Byline: A byline is a fancy term we use for a guest article, contributed article, op-ed, etc. A byline can often serve as an alternative to a traditional interview-to-story coverage and gives media outlets quality content to add to their queue. Bylines are typically authored by a “thought leader” (there’s another term for ya) at a company about a topic in their industry in which they are considered an expert in. Bylines are our best friends, but they can also be our worst enemies (PR pros – you understand).

 

Embargo: I feel like a secret agent when I’m working with an embargo. Embargos are fun, but they require a lot of trust in the process. Embargos are used when you have a story or an announcement to make, but don’t want media to share it until X day or X time. They can definitely work in your favor, allowing reporters to gather all the information and interviews they need before the news is shared with the public. If you want, you can even give a reporter an “exclusive” (so many PR terms, so little time), but embargos allow every reporter the same fair chance. Once an embargo is “lifted,” that allows a reporter to hit the publish button. It’s really cool to see that embargo lift and have a flood of stories come in all at once.

 

Ed Cal: Sweet, sweet ed cals. For someone who was completely new in the industry at one point (ahem, moi), I had no idea what this stood for. Are you ready for it? Editorial calendar. Great. But now you’re probably thinking, what’s an editorial calendar? Think of editorial calendars as a way for publications to map out their calendar year. Typically aimed toward advertisers, ed cals help us figure out what a publication might be writing about on any given week, month or quarter. If I see that a magazine is planning to write about how to properly dispose of hazardous waste in October, I might reach out in June saying that I have the perfect source for their article. Thank you, ed cals.

 

In-house: The exact opposite of a PR agency. When companies do things “in-house,” that means they don’t have a third party helping them. Most of the clients we work with don’t have an in-house PR team, hence why they work with us. In the PR world, people will usually ask if you work in-house or at an agency. Working in-house is very different than working in an agency, and vice versa. But PR is PR, and we love ‘em all.

 

Pitch: Pitching is at the heart of what we do every day. Probably a little more self-explanatory than most, a pitch is just that – we are “pitching” an idea or story to a reporter, hoping that they’ll find interest and share with their audience. Think of a business pitch – you’re usually trying to sell yourself or your company during a pitch. We do the same in our pitching. But at Dittoe PR, we do things a little differently. We take the time to craft unique, meaningful pitches that are personalized to each media outlet or contact. We specialize in telling stories not selling products or services. We also take the time to research who we’re pitching, which helps us craft our pitch even more.

 

Trade publication: You can probably easily name top national media (CNN, Forbes, Mashable and so on), and you can probably name some local publications, too. But when it comes to trade … that’s usually a different story. Trade publications are targeted to a specific industry or audience that work in that industry. The general public typically doesn’t read these types of publications (unless reading Chemical Processing gets you jazzed) but landing an interview with a trade publication might be the perfect fit for your client’s audience.

 

UMV: I’ll give it to ya straight – UMV stands for unique monthly visitors. A UMV references how many individual people are visiting a website each month. Every website as a different UMV, and it often changes month-to-month. UMVs are important in our industry, as it helps us illustrate the value behind media coverage and, in some case, calculate advertising value (how much it would have cost you to pay to be in that publication). We also use terms like “readership” and “media impressions” to track and analyze media metrics (I could write a novel at this point with how many terms I’m throwing at you!).

 

Well, there you have it! While this list doesn’t come close to touching all the jargon we use regularly, I hope this is a good start. If any of the above sparks your interest or you think there’s a service your business could benefit from, contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com.

How to Stay Productive While Traveling for a Client

At Dittoe PR, we have the privilege of working with an abundance of national clients located across the United States. Keeping in touch with these clients regularly is easy (shout-out to technology), but on the occasion we need to connect with them for a strategic meeting, conference, event or face-to-face check-in, we find ourselves packing our bags and hitting the road.

 

As enjoyable as it is to take a break from the day-to-day office tasks and strategize with our clients over a cup of coffee or assist in putting on a major event, it can also be stressful at times. Back home in Indianapolis, the workdays carry on. Our email inbox doesn’t magically halt and each client’s account teams are still expected to execute efforts and drive results. So how do we, as professionals with multiple clients or projects, stay productive during travel? Well, with practice, planning and discipline, of course!

 

Plan Ahead.

Working with account teams has its perks, but don’t leave them hanging! Be sure to prepare your teams before you leave to ensure they are aware of travel plans, availability for communication and client work, and the best way to reach you.

 

A good rule of thumb is to schedule a quick meeting to hammer out any last-minute projects that need finished up before you leave or hand off any unfinished business that will need attention while you are traveling. At Dittoe PR we often collaborate on shared “planners” to track projects and priorities, so everyone is on the same page regardless of schedules. That way both parties feel prepared and confident to handle anything that comes their way.

 

Wi-Fi Works Wonders.

Whether you find yourself on a long flight or road tripping, the uninterrupted time to yourself may produce hours of productivity otherwise lost. If you are on a plane for an extended period, it may be a good idea to invest in Wi-Fi to research, write or answer emails.

 

On the other hand, if you are passenger on a road trip and able to work in a moving car, bring a hotspot to get some work done! If Wi-Fi access isn’t an option, preparing notes for an upcoming meeting, creating content or scheduling priorities will keep you cool, calm and collected while on the road.

 

Inbox Insecurities?

The dreaded inbox. Everyone hates to think about their inbox when they are away. It may be scary to think about, but there are ways to take control. If you have the ability to respond in real-time, take a few minutes to respond from your phone. If it’s going to take more of your time, flag the email and wait until you get to a quiet space where you can respond from a computer.

 

If you are on a work trip where you won’t be able to check your email as often as you would like, set up an email schedule to help balance the workload. Check and respond to emails a few times a day, for example, at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. Setting an out of office message, directing urgent emails to a colleague, will also help to lighten the load.

 

All the Apps.

On the road your phone is always with you. That’s why it is so important to make use of apps on your phone that will help assist with work tasks. Get things checked off your to-do list in quick 10-20-minute periods while waiting for a client meeting to start, standing in line at the airport or waiting for a keynote speaker.

 

Some of the best apps to download are Microsoft Outlook, Dropbox, Google Docs, Google Drive and Slack (Dittoe PR’s personal lifeline).

 

Time To… Relax?

Traveling for a client can be extremely exhausting, so don’t forget to take some time for yourself! Make it a point to try out a new local restaurant, see the sights or visit a museum. You’ll never regret making time to explore. Even if you aren’t much of an adventurer or you don’t have time to see the sights, take a break at the end of each night and give yourself some quiet time. This will keep you energized and ready to take on the next day!

 

Work travel can disrupt day-to-day life, especially to anyone with a type A personality. Luckily, armed with the right tools to help us get through chaotic moments of traveling, we are able to navigate our workload with confidence.

 

Ready for us to come visit you? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com, or request a consultation today.