We’re counting down to Christmas with 12 public relations and journalism terms you should know! If you’re a business owner, marketing executive, non-profit director, or new PR pro – this post is for you. Cheers!

  1. Press release (or news release) – A press release is a newsworthy announcement shared with the media. A written announcement usually no longer than one page, a press release covers the essentials: who, what, where, when, why and how. Videos and photos can accompany a press release.
  2. Pitch – This is a tactic for working with journalists. Instead of sending them a press release, a story you’ve written in a journalistic style, you send the journalist a story idea. You may want to include relevant data, or bullet points. You can read more about pitching with 9 pitching practices to make you shine.
  3. Lede – “Don’t bury the lede!” is a common reminder when someone else reads a draft of your pitch. The lede is the first sentence or two of a news article and its purpose is to draw the reader in. Share the most important/impactful information first.
  4. Media alert – This is helpful if you have an event upcoming and you’d like media to be there. Similar to a news release, a media alert covers the essentials: the who, what, when, where why of your event. You should also include parking information and day-of contact information for the media.
  5. Backgrounder – This document can be used in conjunction with other PR documents to provide stakeholders with additional information. For instance, if there is a crisis situation, a backgrounder can provide an outline of the situation, anything pertinent that led up to the crisis event, and how the organization is responding to the crisis situation.
  6. Boilerplate – This paragraph, found at the end of every press release, is a concise description of your organization, so journalists have the essential information they need about your company, as they write their story.
  7. Public relations and media relations – Some people think these two terms mean the same thing, but media relations means working with members of the media whereas PR is a strategic function that may include media relations, but also includes reaching key stakeholders in any of the ways that they like to communicate and receive information.
  8. Byline – Sometimes PR people pitch a story to journalists with the intention that the journalist will write a story about their client, but other times, the PR pro suggests a byline article, which is an article that someone from their organization would write, and would receive credit for, with a line that says “by [insert executive’s name]”.
  9. B-roll – This is video footage that your organization shoots/or hires a professional to shoot, so you can send to TV stations with the hope of getting your coverage aired. It’s “cutaway” footage that’s used to help tell the story, so you want to make sure you’re showing your story “in action”. You can also edit the b-roll for your own website and social media channels.
  10. Press kit – Before a press conference or event as part of an industry convention, PR pros may create a printed/online press kit that includes all the content a journalist would need to help tell the story, whether that’s photography, a press release, headshots of leadership, a product photo, a product sample, a company history, a video, etc.
  11. Edcal – This is short for editorial calendar and it’s something magazines and other publications use to map out their content for the following year. PR pros use these documents so they can pitch journalists stories that sync up with the content that publication is already planning to feature. Edcals can usually be found inside a media kit or advertising kit that you can request from a publication’s advertising department.
  12. Lead time – Writing stories and planning a paper or magazine takes time. When you’re pitching publications, especially magazines, you should be aware of their lead time and/or deadlines. For magazines, lead times can be really long (i.e. start pitching holiday gift roundups in May). Weekly papers have a day when they need to file stories, and when they’re on deadline, it’s not the best day to pitch.
  13. Wire service (bonus!) – Paying for this service can be helpful if you have really important company news that you want to get out to a large audience. You just upload your press release and it’s distributed broadly to the regions and industries you select. We DO NOT recommend that you rely on a wire service to satisfy your PR needs. Sending a press release or pitch to a select group of targeted media with whom you have a relationship with will yield greater results.

If you need help launching or improving your PR efforts, please reach out to April at april@wordpoppr.com