Public Relations Definitions
Call it a PR Glossary. Call it a collection of public relations definitions. Or just call it a very handy list. Here’s a guide to all that PR jargon you know and love. And maybe some you don’t.
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- ABC – Audit Bureau of Circulations
- The Audit Bureau of Circulations provides an independent verification of circulation figures for paid publications.
- ACE – Advertising Cost Equivalent
- How much would this editorial piece cost if it had been paid-for advertising? ACE or advertising cost equivalent is the industry standard and gives PR a monetary value.
- ACE PR Value
- Unlike paid-for advertising, unpaid-for editorial is thought to be of higher value. Why? Because your reader sees your product as being endorsed by the publication or TV programme in which it appears. The PR industry considers ACE PR value to be approximately 2.5 times greater than that achieved by advertising.
- Paying to have your company’s marketing message in various media such as magazines, newspapers, radio and TV is known as advertising.
- Advertorial is a paid-for feature that has the 'look and feel' of an editorial. Some publications may write the copy, others may let you write it yourself. The article will have the words 'promotion' or 'advertorial' at the top of the page.
- Attitude Research
- Attitude research measures and interprets the feelings, beliefs and opinions the public have towards your client or product. Will hopefully improve by the end of a PR campaign.
- BARB – Broadcasters Audience Research Board
- A measurement service providing television audience information on a minute-by-minute basis for channels received within the UK. This data is available for reporting BBC and ITV nationally and regionally.
- Behavioural Objective
- The behavioural objective is how you want the public to behave at the end of a public relations campaign. i.e. think more favourably towards your company, buy more of your products. (See also Goals and Outcomes.)
- BRAD – British Rate & Data
- BRAD is a weighty tome that has information on over 13,000 publications across all sectors. It’s useful for planning, buying and researching, and circulation and audience reach figures after each entry allow for a comparison with other titles in your market. And BRAD also provides mechanical data such as page size and column width.
- Short for weblog, a blog is a frequently updated personal online journal kept by a blogger. Or if created and maintained by a business it’s known as a Biz Blog. A useful way to get information into the public arena – and quickly.
- The byline identifies the name of the journalist or author of a piece of editorial and is placed just under the headline. If someone’s writing about your company it’s good to know who it is. (Especially if the coverage is unfavourable!)
- Quite simply, a campaign is the planning, carrying-out and the analysis of a PR plan of action.
- Circulation refers to the number of copies distributed by a publication. Audited circulation figures are available for all major publications. (See ABC). Not to be confused with readership.
- Collateral PR
- The effect of gaining good PR on the back of someone else’s coverage is known as collateral PR. This can happen when your product or service is compared favourably to a competitor’s in an editorial.
- Column Inches
- Column inches are often used to measure PR success. It’s a simple multiplication of the length of a piece of editorial x the number of columns.
- Competitor Analysis
- Competitor analysis is the measure of the success of your company's PR strategy in relation to your competitors’ - using a number of different measures.
- The different components, in terms of the audience, that makes up a media's universe. For example ‘30.36% of all of ‘a cool magazine’s’ readers are within my target audience’.
- Content Analysis
- An informal measurement tool that tracks messages – written, spoken or broadcast and coverts them into a measurable form.
- Core Message
- More fundamental than a key message, core messages are positioning words and phrases. For example ‘...a quality product, well designed and widely available...’ is a core message. Press releases will also contain the core message.
- How cost-effective was your PR campaign? i.e. what was the overall cost compared to the results. Or what was the ratio in changes of costs to the change in effects.
- The coverage of a campaign is the total number of people within your target audience that may see your message. Sometimes referred to as reach. Coverage is often expressed as a percentage and the actual number together. For example 'this campaign will reach 10.71% of my target audience which equates to 258,000 people’.
- CPT – Cost per Thousand (Or CPM, the 'M' being the Roman numeral for 1,000)
- CPT is a measure of value and describes the cost of 1,000 impressions. For example, a PR campaign that achieves 750,000 impressions, with a £150,000 ACE value has a CPT of £5 (750,000 divided by £150,000).
- Crisis Management
- Crisis management refers to the handling of extraordinary events that best reflect a company’s view whilst still retaining a relationship with the media.
- Information such as the gender, age, income and characteristics of a population or target audience is known as demographics. Often defined as socio-economic groups such as ABC1 or C2DE.
- DPS – Double Page Spread
- Two pages of the same article running across the spine is known as a double page spread.
- Duplication is where a person consumes more than one media. So someone who reads the Daily Mail may also read Hello! and Elle. And when calculating reach and frequency duplication is taken into account.
- Editorial is an expression of opinion using text and images in a publication to make an article, feature, story or short piece.
- Executive Summary
- An executive summary is a concise document, normally on one side of A4 highlighting key research findings.
- A feature is an article that goes into a story in greater detail as opposed to spot reporting.
- Frequency is the average number of times your target audience is exposed to your message. People consume more than one type of media so frequency calculations take this into account. For example, someone may read the Financial Times and Marie Claire and also watch television. ‘This many people saw my message this many times. For example, 20% of my target audience potentially saw my message 4.75 times on average. 10% saw it 2.01 times.’ etc.
- What you hope to achieve from your PR campaign; the desired affect; the measurable outcome.
- Impressions are the number of times a marketing message is seen x the number of people who see it. 10 people seeing a message 10 times = 100 impressions. 1 person seeing a message 100 times also equals 100 impressions. (See also Circulation, OTS and Readership.)
- An index is a measure of suitability and is especially useful when trying to match the profile of a medium to the profile of your target audience. The base is always 100 and the measure (the index) can be any number above 100, or any number below 100, down to zero. For example, a figure of 220 means that the profile of a monthly woman's magazine, is 2.20 times, or 120%, more likely to match the profile of your target audience than a magazine with an index of 100. An index of 80 means that it is 0.80 times, or 20%, less likely to match. An index of 120+ is deemed to be significant.
- IPR – Institute of Public Relations
- The UK's leading public relations industry professional body who look after people working in the public relations industry in the UK and abroad.
- IPRA – International Public Relations Association
- The IPRA provides professional development and personal networking opportunities on a global level and promotes the practise of public relations in 95 countries.
- JICREG - The Joint Industry Committee for Regional Press Research
- JICREG gives access to demographic data on over 1,300 regional publications. And as well as being able to target your regional press activity down to postcode level, it has a mapping facility so that the regional papers coverage can be graphically displayed over area maps of the UK for presentation purposes.
- Keywords are the specific words or phrases, often lifted from a press release, which feature in the editorial. Also the words or phrases a media monitoring agency like Paperclip will use when searching for press clippings.
- Mechanical Data
- Mechanical data is the page layout details of a particular publication in terms of page size, number of columns, column width and dpi (dots per inch).
- Media refers to newspapers, magazines, radio and TV, websites, discussion groups, forums, Wikis, blogs, government reports and brochures.
- Media Type
- The national press, consumer magazines, regional and trade press, broadcast and the Internet are all types of media.
- Mention Prominence
- It’s great that your company was mentioned in the media, but how prominent were you? Mention prominence is typically measured as how many times you were mentioned as a percentage of the article; whether you were above the fold (top half of a newspaper); in the headline or mentioned within the first few minutes in the case of TV and radio.
- NLA – Newspaper Licensing Agency
- The NLA represents the copyright interests of several hundred publications, mainly newspapers, from the UK national press through to the major regional press (and quite a few foreign ones as well). They issue licenses to companies like Paperclip so we can make copies of publications and send royalty fees to the NLA on your behalf.
- NRS – National Readership Survey
- NRS Ltd is a non-profit-making but commercial organisation, which provides estimates of the number and nature of the people who read Britain’s newspapers and consumer magazines. Currently the survey publishes data covering 250 newspapers, newspaper supplements and magazines.
- OTS – Opportunity To See (OTH – Opportunity To Hear)
- A calculation determining the number of times someone is likely to see a marketing message is known as OTS. Advertising relies on a large number of messages being seen, whereas a specific PR campaign may only have one opportunity per publication. However any number of PR messages within any number of publications can be calculated to produce an overall OTS. (See also Circulation, Impressions/Impacts, Readership, Share Of Ink.)
- Overlap refers to households who live on the edge of one or more ITV regions and consequently will be able to receive more than one ITV station.
- A measurable change in opinion, attitude, awareness or knowledge following a public relations campaign. (See also Goal.)
- PR – Public Relations
- Efforts to establish and maintain a company's image with the public is known as PR. And the degree of success can be fundamental to an organisation's fortune.
- Press Release
- A statement issued to the media to either describe a product or service, or to state a position on an issue. Hopefully, the media will produce it as their own editorial either wholly or in part. A press release is often accompanied by graphics or photos.
- Proactive PR/Reactive PR
- Editorial that appears as a direct result of PR input is proactive PR. As opposed to reactive PR where the editorial has appeared as a result of the publication's initiative.
- A group of people which contain the target audience for the PR campaign are known as the public.
- Public Relations Effectiveness
- The success or effectiveness of your PR campaign is measured by the degree to which the outcome is in line with your campaign goals.
- Qualitative Analysis
- Qualitative analysis is collecting and analysing data regarding what people do, say, and think about your product, service or company. For example, what’s their opinion of your product? What’s their attitude towards your company?
- Quantitative Analysis
- Quantitative analysis refers to actual measurements. How many times was your company mentioned in an editorial? How many column inches did you get? How many people in your target market read the article?
- RAJAR – Radio Joint Audience Research
- Radio Joint Audience Research or RAJAR is the official body in charge of measuring radio audiences in the UK. Encompasses the BBC, UK licensed and other commercial stations.
- Rate Card
- The published cost of advertising in any media is known as the rate card.
- The reach of a campaign is the total number of people within your target audience that may see your message. Sometimes referred to as coverage. Most often expressed as a percentage and the actual number together. For example, ‘this campaign will reach 10.71% of my target audience which equals 258,000 people’.
- The number of times a publication is shared with other people is known as readership. One person might buy the Economist or Grazia but a number of people will read it. (See also Circulation, Impressions/Impacts and OTS.)
- The public’s or target audience’s perception of a product or service in terms of credibility, trustworthiness or image.
- ROI – Return On Investment
- Return on investment is a measure of budget spent to achieve an objective, versus the income generated through the activity. In other words how much has did it cost us to get this amount of coverage or sales?
- ROP – Run Of Paper
- An advertising package where there is no guarantee of a good position for your ad. Run of paper is nearly always charged at a lower rate.
- SCC Rate - Single Column Centimetre Advertising Rate
- The SCC rate is the width x the height of a newspaper column on which the advertising rates are based.
- Sector Analysis
- An overall measure of an industry sector's media coverage is known as sector analysis. For instance in retail, ‘What is the retail sector achieving and how do we measure up against the sector's performance?’.
- Series – Regional Newspapers
- A series refers to a number of regional publications covering a geographical area and represented by a single publisher. Series advertising rates are available and series circulations are often provided. (See also Syndicated Articles.)
- Share of Shout
- If a number of companies are featured in an article, the share of shout refers to which company dominates the page or is featured more heavily.
- SOI - Share Of Ink
- A measurement of the total press coverage regarding a certain product or company to determine the number of opportunities to see (OTS) there are.
- SOV - Share Of Voice
- A measurement of the total radio and TV coverage regarding a certain product or company to determine the number of opportunities to see (OTS) or opportunities to hear (OTH).
- Situation Analysis
- A third party assessment of the PR issues or opportunities that a company may be facing at any given time.
- Snapshot Document
- A snapshot document combines an executive summary and best of press. It may also include press releases and a short overview.
- Syndicated Articles
- The same article published across a series is known as a syndicated article. The copy and layout can sometimes change within the series. ACE £s calculations are based on the series rate card. (See also Series – Regional Newspapers.)
- Target Audience
- The group of people you are trying to reach with your message are known as the target audience. They can be defined by socio-economic groups or other specified criteria. Also referred to as 'target market'.
- Target Publications
- Newspapers and magazines whose readership profile best matches a company's target audience are known as target publications.
- All the creative and production elements (writing, editing and printing) for producing a publication.
- Tonal Bias
- Tonal bias denotes whether an article has a positive, neutral/balanced or negative slant.
- Tone of Media
- Tone of media is an analysis tool that accurately reflects the mood of the press, by any number of core messages and subjects, plus other criteria such as the publication and journalist.
- Trend Analysis
- Trend analysis is the when the coverage of a product or topic is examined over a period of time (often the length of a PR campaign) to see how what changes there are in opinion or attitude towards it.
- TV Regions
- A specific UK area covered by an ITV company is known as a TV region. Viewers can only receive a terrestrial ITV station if they live within its transmission area. Households living on the edges of more than one ITV region can view more than one ITV station. This is known as overlap.
- TVR – Television Rating
- A Television Rating (TVR) is a percentage of the total number of people viewing a TV programme or advertising break at a particular time. 1% of the audience = 1 TVR. Ratings can be added together and can total more than 100%. For example, an advertising campaign can achieve '400 ratings' because viewers may see the same ad more than once.