PR Terms and Tactics

This is our Mark-Paul "Glossary"

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360 Media Relations

This is the bomb. Story angles, which turn into perfectly placed pitches, are built around themes relevant to the company and are distributed through all forms of media (including social). Note that business stories, vertical inclusions, and trend breakthroughs are all equally important.

Analyst Meetings

For companies on the way to a public or private offering, analyst meetings are those in which key spokespeople discuss strategy, finances, investments/partnerships (read: any and all relevant upcoming announcements) with those well-versed in that sector.

Brand Architecture

This is the Big Picture. Over time, executing successful brand architecture establishes the organization’s aesthetic, core values, and foundational messages in the minds of your targets.

Bridging

A media tactic: When answering a difficult question, neutralize it, then bridge to one or two pertinent points that you wish to make. The point is to never say the word no, no comment, or I’m not at liberty to say. The point is to say what you want and blow past the question. See: Kellyanne Conway.

Competitive Analysis

Any successful campaign needs to take into consideration what’s been done before. How do we know that our messaging is on-target if we don’t know what the other guy is up to? Comp analysis is understanding the lay of the land in your category and bordering categories. Include in your analysis both actual and “perceived” competitors.

Crisis Communications

Not just reactive to situational incidents. A full crisis comms strategy should be developed on a sunny day in advance of the rain. If you don’t have it when it hits the fan, you are in trouble already.

Deadline (“On Deadline”)

Don’t mess up here! The media live and die by the clock. If you are late with the info, the reporter is late to her editor or producer. Deadlines are commitments made ahead of time on both sides (media and agency). Ignore them at your peril.

Earned Media

P.R.

Embargo

An embargo is the act of giving the necessary information to reporters beforehand, with the understanding this will not “go live” until a certain, agreed-upon date. This is all about strategic timing.

Flagging

A media tactic: “I’d just like to reiterate” and other reminders of why you are there. A great way to wake up the interviewer and make your original messages heard.

Follow Up

The secret sauce to an effective PR strategy! After the pitch has been delivered via email, phone, or carrier pigeon, the work has barely begun. Everything hinges on what you do next. Reporters need to be guided through every stage of a story’s development because at any point along the way, if the ball is dropped, the story dies with it. Follow Up is also Follow Through: This is accurate, error-free, timely, upbeat, enthusiastic, delivery mode.

In order to do this effectively, leaders and their value props must be introduced to reporters and content producers in advance of story creation. This makes the media depend upon your spokespeople—think of you first.

Influencing Influencers/Creators

In the new age of digital media, authoritative content creators across all digital and social platforms/channels must be incorporated into any successful marketing comms strategy. These individuals are the curators and tastemakers on the respective platforms where they have risen to prominence, effectively engaging the communities they’ve amassed.

Listicle

Snack-sized journalism nibblets. Perfect for consumer-based audiences. These are short, lay-person-friendly written assets that take the form of bulleted knowledge and unique perspectives.

Long Lead Story

Certain topics are too dense to crank out overnight. Long lead stories are generally complex, highly nuanced articles or broadcast segments that can involve detailed research, investigation and/or deep dives into the category. Therefore, often stories of this nature are worked on by teams of contributors and can sometimes take as long as six to eight months.

Media Alert

Alerts are key to our newsroom strategy that allows for the dissemination of more frequent short-term messaging. This includes events, new features, “press stunts”, and day-of reminders of our leaders’ broadcast appearances.

Media Audit

RLM develops a list of questions for journalists and other content producers, and analyzes responses based on type, beat, reach, and geography.

Media Monitoring

Scraping the net and the newsstands multiple times per day to keep all stakeholders apprised of nascent topics and trends.

Media Tour

Sometimes there is no substitute for the impact and impression of face-to-face. These are strategically designed to achieve must-have stories–an anchor feature that a great campaigns depends upon. We introduce spokespeople to the “players” at outlets that will utilize a campaign’s themes and concepts.

Media Training

Effective training starts with media-savvy messaging that you can deliver successfully. Then, we examine your story through media’s eyes and prepare you for any and all potential eventualities during interviews, including on camera. Real meat-and-potatoes media training prepares you for any eventuality. Parts of media prep can’t reinvent the wheel; certain things just plain do not work and other things do. This has been proven time and again. We teach you the tools of the trade.

Message Grid

The Rosetta Stone of every successful marketing comms campaign. Though subject to change throughout the campaign as material is tested in real time (but not too often), the message grid is the Bible from which our evangelical messaging is derived. It’s the who, what, when, why, and how of a company’s structure. It includes a description, an example, and a metric for each. The one road that all stakeholders on the client’s and agency’s side can count on for messaging consistency.

Mission Statement

An organization’s vision crystallizes its reason for being. Get it right. Before the elevator door closes. Microsoft’s mission statement really works: “Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” How simple.

Native Advertising

Native opportunities present yet another valid avenue for pushing your messaging. For example, you can uses native advertising to strategically place company announcements in pivotal industry trade publications. These “advertisements” are better known as sponsored content and have the look and feel of traditional editorial content. Often, readers cannot distinguish the difference. It is not P.R.

News Peg

Stories are generally lumped into one of two categories: “evergreen” or “time-sensitive”. Linking a message or concept to the current news cycle is paramount to creating urgency and relevancy, all while deepening the context.

News Service

A series of bureaus from which content trickles out and down. These services (Reuters, Associated Press, Medill, Copley, et al) are often feeder media for many national newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets who subscribe to them and share the content with readers and viewers. Perhaps the closest thing we have today that resembles the big three news networks of the 1970s.

Newswire

This is why the term “press release” is complicated. Most people might not comprehend that a newswire release is essentially a piece of paid propaganda. It is virtually guaranteed a number of views (read: pickups, reprints, reruns) at pre-arranged destinations. Those are outlets of all sizes and levels of legitimacy that are compensated for running these pieces of crap. That being said, there use cases in which nothing achieves this function other than the newswire; in very limited instances it is effective. Example: Putting a highly “in the weeds” biomedical release so technical that an audience must be forced to read it. Therefore, you pay to get the word out.

Op/Ed

An opinion piece in a newspaper or magazine (or broadcast outlet) that editorializes on an idea that is new and valuable. Often, this can take the form of reactive commentary in response to the news as much as it can introduce new, undiscussed ideas.

Owned Media

Owned media is just as it sounds: content that you or the agency create and own for yourself. From website content to sales material to IR decks and docs to Whitepapers to infographics, social media pages and e-newsletters, masterfully dominating owned media allows you to control and disseminate your messages to your audiences. Branded logos, designs—everything that’s already yours.

P.R. Agency

RLM. Any more questions?

Prepared Statement

To be used sparingly. What one says when one is a boring company. And seemingly equipped with no other options. Which never happens, by the way!

Press Release

Oh boy. Everybody and their grandmother has a definition of these two words. The problem is they’re almost always wrong. Reason is: there is not a cookie cutter template that is optimized for efficiency every time out. You need to consider it case by case. There are many complex factors—intended audience, targeting, desired outcomes, stakeholders—and this is never the same twice. Therefore, a press release is ever-evolving and must be handcrafted by masters..in a singular fashion each and every time. Put the utmost amount of consideration of a complex series of components into your work. Be cautious about a major release (read: anything other than personalized correspondence with reporters) unless the news itself is of material value.

Roundup Story

A piece in which multiple sources are consulted for expertise around one central theme or, for example, a product story that explores a category or trend in which multiple items are featured with a tie-in. (“Five new toothbrushes that will change your life” or “Four Tech Visionaries Under Age 15”.)

Source Filing

Among the most important tools for PR success is being an effective source for media. This is RLM’s branded method of ensuring that media call you when they need information and quotes.

Stunt

Many try and many fail to stage a spectacle of one kind or another to create long-lasting buzz. A good stunt fits with what is happening in the culture today. It has to fit the times. It can’t be something so obscure that no one will get it. It has to really hit people where they live. And most important, a good stunt is something people will tell others about without rolling their eyes.

Thought Leadership

This is the efficient communication of relevant, interesting and useful information that only our key spokespeople are uniquely equipped to deliver. It speaks directly to audiences and tells them exactly what they need to know. Traditional PR finds forums for your messages. But a truly effective total thought leadership campaign highlights specific aspects of your story. News outlets of all types—from blogs to daily newspapers to magazines to newsletters—are especially resource constrained these days, and are, therefore, particularly inclined to appreciate this content.

We are talking content. It is words (op/ed, bylines, blog posts, essays, etc.), images, infographics, video, and audio assets that the agency places in relevant venues, no matter what media platform. The agency works with you to gather pertinent information and packages it for distribution to all appropriate outlets.

Trend Spotting

RLM provides editors with relevant, timely and interesting trends that media haven’t heard or thought of before. We tap into specific issues that you can influence and own.

Whitepaper

Before content marketing had a proper name, Whitepapers were the “it” marketing tool strategists used for thought leadership and to disseminate ideas to current/potential customers and the media. A home run Whitepaper is a value proposition document that clearly articulates a problem, a solution, and a plan to take that solution to market. The technical — and in many cases highly complicated — information must be clearly communicated for a lay audience.