PART TWO | PR GLOSSARY TERMS | PR AGENCY SPEAK
> This blog is part of a six part series on all things PR Glossary Terms. Get around it if
- You run a business and you need a PR campaign, self-managed or not.
- You’re considering a career in PR.
- You’ve graduated with a PR degree and want to talk the talk or at least understand it. (In my experience most PR graduates have never come across these everyday PR terms. Believe it).
- You have a friend, child or sibling working in PR and you think PR is similar to Personal Assisting or some such, not sure, maybe.
- You’re a client to a PR agency or considering hiring a PR agency. (You know you need their help but you’re not sure what they’re saying, or why or what the hell they’ll be doing when you book them).
- You’re a supplier providing a service or collaborating with a PR agency.
PR AGENCY SPEAK, LET’S GO…
Above-the-Line: Money spent on advertising. i.e. “Excellent, we have above-the-line spend for digital to work with”.
Below-the-Line: Strategies that you can use to PR or market your business that don’t require advertising money, or ‘above-the-line spend’.
Account Management: This term has absolutely nothing to do with finance. In PR agency land the word ‘account’ relates to client. An account manager is a PR consultant that has around four years of agency experience and is qualified to manage the execution of tasks for a client’s project. An account manger is usually supported by a Senior Account Manager and Account Director.
Despatch: Sending something out to media. “Have you despatched the media kits yet?” not to be confused with dispatch (American).
Syndicated: Sent, emailed, posted media information to the media (media kits, media releases, media passes, media invites etc.). Not just to one person, but a group.
Masthead: “Hey, When you capture that clipping can you make sure you include the masthead please”? We’re not referring to the tallest point of a ship. In the PR and media world we’re referring to the title of the newspaper or magazine at the head (or top) of the publication or editorial page.
Boiler Plate: A bit of info tacked on the end of a media release.
A Run: When your story idea or editorial opportunity is published in the media i.e. “Good news, we got a run”.
Run Date: Does not refer to going for a run. Refers to a proposed and most-likely, (but not promised or guaranteed) date that your story idea or editorial opportunity is scheduled to be placed/published.
Clippings: An old fashion PR term (yet still relevant). Clippings refer to individual pieces of coverage. It wasn’t all that long ago that PR interns and coordinators were set to task on clipping out/cutting with scissors and gluing, pieces of secured editorial from newspapers and magazines into a clippings presentation booklet. These days, clippings are sent electronically via media monitors or Google alerts.
Media Monitors: Organisations paid to search, find and report on media coverage for you so that you track coverage (execute media monitoring) for your client.
Clip Count: The number of coverage items secured. i.e. “Wow, the clip count for your client is 10 this month, go you”.
Benchmark: A stick in the sand from which to measure from. Or a baseline from which to compare.
Comms: Short for communication.
Internal Comms: Communications within your business. PR agencies are often booked to improve internal comms and are a great example of how PR is not strictly a publicity function.
External Comms: Communications outside of and public facing for your business.
High Res: High-resolution image. At least 1 – 3mg and 300 dpi. Anything lower than this is not reproducible for media.
Wips: An acronym for Work in Progress meetings. Or in other words; a catch up with your client or internal PR team on where the project is at and how it’s tracking.
Hits: A pretty harsh acronym that some refer for ‘how idiots track results’. Let me reframe; the definition of Hits is the number of editorial placements secured. It’s not the best (and only) way to measure the value and impact of a PR campaign, however it often is which can be frustrating to PR industry folk.
Nutcrack: A PR term which describes thinking of ideas by using your brain. Hatching plans. Being clever and brainstorming solutions to problems.
Throw Down: A discussion with one or more people about problems and potential solutions.
Proposal: A shit-load of work, concept giving and idea hatching with ball-park costs to potentially secure new business by way of a top-line PR strategy.
Top-Line: Quality information without too much detail. The need to knows. Nothing detailed.
Stet: An editing instruction on a printed proof that means ‘let it stand’. Or in other words, let it be, ignore the notation, correction or suggestion. If a ‘stet’ pops up on a media release it means your account director has had second thoughts about the change upon review. Or that a previously marked deletion can remain.
Piece-to-Camera: A filmed interview grab for a news or documentary style story via video for online or TV. It’s when the interviewee is visible and speaks to the interviewer on camera. A piece to camera helps to add context to a story. The reporter can either be on location or in the studio; but the interviewee’s face and responses are visible to the audience. These days it also refers to someone capturing a selfie-video.
Art Direction: Just don’t go calling your art director or creative director a designer. Hold back cowboy, graphic design is one thing, art direction is another. An art director oversees all artistic aspects of the creative, design, media design execution and considers the overall outcomes and strategy to reach them.
Scope: Exactly what you’ll be doing for a pre-agreed budget and contract. The activity executions defined in line with an agreement.
Ad Value Equivalents: This refers to the value of PR if it were paid for as advertising space or in advertising dollars. It’s a much-debated topic; however we think common sense has mostly prevailed and ad values are almost obsolete (sort of). The formula is incredibly tenuous, subjective, out-dated and inaccurate in the measurement of PR value; it’s utter nonsense really. Unfortunately though, since it’s almost impossible to report on the value of changing someone’s opinion without sophisticated and in-depth market research ad values are one way of communicating PR results to the suits that need reassurance that PR is a powerful and important investment.
Bi-Monthly: A magazine published every second month.
>>READ ON FOR PART THREE, FOUR, FIVE AND SIX OF THIS SERIES.