PR Terms

PR Terms: Glossary of Must-Know PR Terminology

This comprehensive glossary of PR terms will introduce you to 60 of the most frequently used expressions in the PR dictionary. We’ll be providing you with a concise definition of each term so you too can speak PR fluently. 


Although advocacy is a term usually identified with the action of fighting or arguing for a cause, policy, or recommendation enthusiastically, in the PR profession, it refers to proactively representing or promoting an organization’s message or mission. 


Inner workings of the PR industry include the backgrounder, which is a deep dive into a topic, product, or person, offering in-depth insight and thorough context. This information-rich guide can help journalists understand your brand or the topic you’re promoting with a clear and factual perspective. 


This refers to a company’s standardized, brief description that gets tacked onto press releases and other corporate materials. It encapsulates key company facts, purpose, and reputation in a bite-sized, digestible format for swift comprehension. 

Brand Awareness 

Brand awareness refers to how familiar they are with the distinct qualities or image of your particular goods or services.

Brand Management 

This term signifies the planning and execution of strategies to promote and sustain a brand’s reputation and visibility. Brand management plays a pivotal role in creating a positive perception of the brand among the target audience. 


Briefing is a core component of any successful PR campaign. It’s a concise, yet informational meeting or document outlining the key aspects of a project or initiative. Briefings inform all parties involved about their roles and responsibilities, deadlines, and expected outcomes. 


In PR, a byline is a line in a news article that attributes the piece to a specific writer or author. It’s typically located at the beginning or end of the piece. This is essential in media as it not only gives credit where it’s due, but also builds the credibility and authority of the writer, aiding in their reputation management.

Case Study 

A case study is a success story detailing your company’s accomplishments and the strategies employed to get there. Case studies provide real-world examples of how your product or services can benefit potential clients or customers and are of immense value in the world of PR. 


The term circulation refers to the number of times a publication, be it a newspaper, magazine, or online blog, is distributed or viewed. In PR, understanding a media outlet’s circulation is crucial as it directly influences the reach and impact of your press releases or news stories. 


Cision is an essential tool in the public relations toolbox. It is a software system that helps PR professionals manage and analyze their communication efforts. It performs functions like social media management, media monitoring, news distribution, and content creation. Known widely among PR practitioners, Cision provides comprehensive data that can guide a PR campaign, monitor media coverage, and measure the effectiveness of strategies. 

Crisis Communication 

Crisis communication is the plan set in place to protect and defend an individual, company, or organization facing a public challenge to its reputation. 

Digital PR 

Digital PR uses online strategies to increase their brand’s presence which include networking with journalists, influencers, and bloggers. This is done to gain high-quality backlinks, social media mentions and improve SEO. 

Earned Media 

Ubiquitous and effective, earned media is the visibility earned through editorial coverage, social media mentions, reviews, or any other non-paid promotion. It’s highly valuable as it comes from independent sources, adding credibility to your brand. 

Editorial Calendar 

An editorial calendar is a strategic plan in PR. This carefully plotted roadmap outlines the content distribution efforts across various platforms over time. 


An embargo in PR is essentially a request from a PR practitioner to a journalist or media outlet to not publicly disclose information or news until a specified date and time. This is often used when a company or individual wants to control the timing of news for maximum impact. 


Engagement refers to how well a PR campaign is being received by the audience. This could include likes, shares, comments on social media, website visits, click-throughs, etc. It’s all about how people are interacting with your work.

Event Planning 

Proper event [planning can put small businesses on the map and attract media attention. Effective event planning involves devising a strategy, organizing resources, and coordinating all the logistical details to create an event that enhances brand awareness and fosters relationship-building. 


Not to be overlooked, exclusivity in PR is the granting of privileged news or story access to a single journalist or media outlet. Offering exclusivity can be a valuable tactic to foster relationships with key media personnel and ensure extensive coverage. 

Feature Story 

A feature story is an incredibly detailed profile or coverage of a product, person, or service. Unlike regular news stories, feature stories are exhaustive and dive deeper, making them veritable gems for shaping public opinion. 


Fundraising in the PR world pertains to the process of gathering financial support for a non-profit or charitable organization, a cause, or a particular project. This can be accomplished in various ways such as hosting special events, launching online fundraising campaigns, grant writing, or simply mobilizing donors for support. 

Grassroots PR 

The term Grassroots PR might seem a bit left field, but in reality, it’s all about cultivating public relations from the ground up. Typically used to garner local support or public opinion, these grassroots approaches often involve community events or local promotions, making your PR efforts feel more intimate and personal to its targeted audience. 

Hybrid PR 

Hybrid PR refers to the blend of traditional and digital PR practices. It adapts the effectiveness of traditional PR skills with SEO, social media, and other digital communication methods for a more comprehensive reach. 

Influencer Marketing 

Influencer marketing in PR relies on deploying popular personalities to amplify your brand’s voice across their sizeable follower base. By leveraging influencers’ rapport with their followers, companies can effectively reach and engage their target audiences. 

Influencer Outreach 

Within the realms of PR, the term influencer outreach refers to the systematic process of identifying, engaging, and building relationships with influencers in a specific industry.

Internal Communication 

Significant yet sometimes overlooked, internal communication is the sharing of information within an organization. Effective internal communication ensures company employees are informed, aligned with the brand mission, and working together towards shared objectives. 


This term usually refers to a trip or tour offered to journalists or influencers, often sponsored by a company or a brand. The purpose is to drum up publicity or promote a new product or service. 

Key Message 

The key message is a clear, concise statement or set of statements that communicate your main point, standpoint, or value proposition. These messages shine through all your PR campaigns, helping your audience understand exactly what you stand for. 


In PR terms, launch refers to the official introduction of a new product, service, or campaign to the market, often through an event or a dedicated press release. It’s a pivotal moment built on months, or sometimes, years of planning and preparation, all geared towards making a vivid impression and garnering maximum media attention.

Litigation PR 

This type of PR involves managing communication during any legal disputes to shape public perception. The key is to balance legal strategy and public relations to protect the client’s public image.

Media Advisory 

The sneak peek to your story, the media advisory, alerts journalists about upcoming happenings. It serves as a brief invite to an event or announcement providing key information such as date, time, and location. 

Media Impressions 

This term refers to the number of times your content is displayed, irrespective of being clicked or interacted with. Whether an ad on a website or a story in a magazine, each instance a potential customer comes across that piece of content is counted as one media impression.

Media Kit 

A media kit is your brand’s practical portfolio. It packs essential information about your business, including press releases, company bios, images, case studies, and more into one handy package for journalists and influencers. 

Media Monitoring 

The practice of vigilant media monitoring identifies where and how your brand gets mentioned in the public domain. This surveillance is vital for managing your reputation, gauging public sentiment, and measuring PR campaign effectiveness. 

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Media Pitch 

Your media pitch is the persuasive proposal you shoot to journalists and media outlets, aiming to pique interest in your story. Making the media pitch engaging, concise, and informative can be the key to securing coverage. 

Media Relations 

This crucial PR term refers to the ongoing relationship that PR professionals cultivate and maintain with members of the media. It’s all about nurturing a collaborative rather than combative association, to ensure that your clients’ stories are accurately and favorably portrayed in the media. 

Messaging Strategy 

A messaging strategy navigates your PR campaign, ensuring that every communication aligns with your brand’s values and objectives. It’s a strategic approach to crafting and delivering clear, consistent, and compelling messages that reflect your brand and resonate with your audience. More than just words, your messaging strategy encompasses the tone, feeling, and key takeaways of your communication.

News Hook 

This is an enticing element in a news story that piques the interest of journalists and readers alike. It could be a new product launch, a corporate milestone, or even a topical event. Choosing the right news hook can make all the difference in your PR success. 


Short for “opposite editorial” an Op-Ed is an article written by a guest writer, not from the publication’s editorial staff. It represents the viewpoints and opinions of the writer. In PR, a well-crafted Op-Ed can be a valuable tool for clients to share their perspectives on key topics, improve brand reputation, and engage with their target audiences. 


The outreach effort signifies your brand extending its hand to connect with media contacts, influencers, or the broader community. It’s the initial step in building connections for symbiotic, long-term relationships. 

Owned Media

Owned media refers to any web property that you control and is unique to your brand — think your website, blog, or even your social media profiles. These are spaces you’ve made or acquired to share your content, products, or services and communicate directly with your audience.

Paid Media

Paid media in PR refers to promotional strategies that involve a financial investment. This includes advertising, sponsored content, promoted social posts, or PPC campaigns. 


The familiar term paparazzi refers to photographers who capture candid shots of celebrities, usually without their consent. While they can often be a nuisance, getting noticed by the paparazzi can also be a measure of a brand or person’s fame. 


A persona is a sketch of the ideal customer, based on extensive market research. Personas help businesses understand their target audiences better, enabling them to tailor their messages and marketing efforts more effectively. 


The photocall is a scheduled event for the press to take photographs or film footage of a prominent person or an event. It’s a media-savvy way to draw attention and create buzz around a PR activity. 

Press Conference 

A press conference is a structured meeting where organizations issue a statement or announcement to the media. This platform offers an opportunity to control the narrative, directly interact with the press, and ensure broader, accurate coverage. 

Press Release 

A press release is an official statement or a news story that PR professionals send to journalists and editors. Designed to be newsworthy, concise, and straight to the point, it symbolizes your effort to get your client’s story published and make the headlines. 

Press Tour

A press tour refers to a carefully arranged series of meetings or interviews that representatives of an organization conduct with various media outlets. Typically organized around a significant announcement or launch, its objective is to spread the key message as widely and effectively as possible.

Public Affairs 

The field of public affairs focuses on developing relations between an organization and politicians, governments, or stakeholders. This PR sector is critical as it helps advocate for policy changes or manage public policy issues impacting the organization. 

Public Relations

Public relations, commonly known as PR, is the practice of managing and shaping public perception of an individual, organization, or event. This is achieved through strategic communication and the use of various PR tools, with the ultimate aim of developing and maintaining a positive public image. 

From press releases to media liaisons and strategic communications to crisis management, PR encompasses a wide range of techniques to ensure the right message reaches the right audience at the right time. Whether it’s a large corporation, a nonprofit organization, or an individual, effective public relations is crucial to building a reputable and trusted brand.


A quote is a set of words, directly attributed to a source, typically a key spokesperson related to your story. A well-crafted quote can humanize your story, add character to your press release, and make a deeper connection with your audience. 

Reputation Management 

This PR term refers to strategies designed to shape or influence the public perception of an individual or an organization. Keeping a keen eye on social media, addressing controversies head-on, and implementing damage control plans are part of this crucial PR task. 

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI refers to the benefits a company receives in exchange for the money it has invested in public relations campaigns. It can be quantitatively measured by assessing key metrics such as brand recognition, customer engagement, website traffic, sales figures, and media coverage. 


In the PR world, a spokesperson is an individual responsible for speaking on behalf of the organization. Their role involves communicating key messages, managing media queries, and shaping the company image. 


In PR, a stakeholder is an individual, group, or entity that has an interest in or is affected by the activities, decisions, or reputation of an organization. Stakeholders can include customers, employees, investors, media, government bodies, and others who play a role in or are influenced by the organization’s operations and communications. 

SWOT Analysis 

A SWOT analysis helps businesses plan their strategies by highlighting Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This insightful tool prompts organizations to investigate their competitive position and develop effective PR tactics. 

Target Audience 

Who are you trying to reach with your message? This group of people is known as your Target Audience. By understanding their lifestyle, behaviors, and icons, PR pros can tailor messages that resonate well with them, and via channels that they are most apt to use. 

Unique Selling Proposition (USP) 

In PR, articulating a client’s USP clearly can make their product, service, or brand stand out in a crowded market, and capture the audience’s attention. 


The term virality is often thrown around in today’s digital PR landscape. In simple terms, it refers to a piece of content that has become wildly popular and is rapidly circulated on the internet. Striking the perfect balance of timing, content, and promotion can lead to virality and a huge PR win. 

White Paper 

A comprehensive white paper is a detailed report or guide on a specific topic. If written well, it can demonstrate your brand’s expertise, answer audience questions, and be a valuable lead-generation tool. 

Wire Service 

A wire Service distributes press releases to media outlets, journalists, and news desks. It’s a useful tool for expanding the reach of your news and has the potential to massively amplify your PR efforts. 

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