Glossary of Public
Like most disciplines, Public Relations has acquired its
own business practices and jargon, which can cause
initial misunderstandings for the uninitiated. If you're
a first-time user of PR consultancies, a good grasp of
the terminology will help get the most out of the PR
The team of agency staff assigned to a client program.
Generally consists of various members drawn from board
director (overall strategy and top level advice);
account director (team management and quality control);
account manager (day-to-day program management); senior
account executive/account executive (execution of most
day-to-day activities); and account assistant (research
and admin support).
Agency or Consultancy:
The Company that provides public relations services,
hired by other companies because of their expertise.
Covering everything. Every newspaper and
TV channels. (opposite=targeted)
the instructions from a client to a consultancy, or
directions communicated within a PR agency.
the dissemination of programs or messages through the
media of radio, Internet or television.
the creative process of group-thinking to stimulate or
articulate ideas on a give subject or problem.
Business to business
communications from one company to
another company. Normally from a company that provides
services use by other companies, eg accountancy,
training, office supplies.
Institute of Public Relations.
the organization or person who employs a PR consultancy.
the credible, honest and timely two-way flow of
information that fosters common understanding and trust.
Corporate social outreach programs designed to build
relations and foster understanding of the role of the
business to neighbors in the local community.
other organizations that represent a threat to a
Consultancy or Agency:
Company that provides public relations services, hired
by other companies because of their expertise.
an agreement made between the PR consultancy and the
client covering areas of agreed objectives, timing,
service levels and price.
the text produced by a consultancy for a press release
or article. Journalists also refer to their news stories
or features as copy.
The production of text for publications,
advertising, marketing materials, websites etc. Most
agencies employ specialists skilled with a direct and
succinct writing style.
Public relations for a corporation, integrated as part
of the company's strategic objectives and/or reputation
Corporate Social/Environmental Responsibility (CSR):
Taking positive action to show an organization has a
responsible attitude to the people and environment it
impacts on. Community relations may take the form of
social outreach programs designed to build relations and
foster understanding of the role of business in the
local community. The role of PR in CSR is to communicate
effectively in order to build corporate accountability
Either the published information consultancies provide
to prospective clients or an initial no-cost
presentation of the consultancy's capabilities.
Having a communications plan in place that can be
effectively put into action when something goes wrong
for a company or organization. For instance, how a
product recall will be handled.
an extract from a newspaper or magazine that makes
reference to the client. Also commonly referred to as
briefing notes to help a spokesman prepare for an
interview with a journalist. The cues should cover the
issues that are likely to arise in the interview and
approach that should be taken on these issues.
Also known as online PR, this involves communications
using the Internet/new technology to communicate with
stakeholders. This could include tactics from using the
company website effectively, to a "word-of-mouth"
campaign using email (known as viral marketing).
written materials composed to communicate key messages
to the various audiences identified by the client and
a warning to the media not to publish a news item until
the date specified on the release.
PR sector specializing in communication on sustainable
use of resources, environmental impact of business and
corporate social responsibility.
The continuous process of measuring the impact of a PR
campaign from start to finish.
The charges consultancies make for expenditure incurred
on client programs, such as print, travel, telephones,
mailing costs, and so on. Usually charged monthly in
arrears against agreed budgets and often with some items
subject to standard consultancy mark-ups.
a news story offered by a PR practitioner to a single
newspaper title, radio, website, or TV station.
the extent to which the target audience becomes aware of
a person, message, activity, theme or organization
through the efforts of PR.
Accountancy qualification often held by investor
relations and financial PR people.
a broad or in-depth newspaper, magazine, Internet, radio
or TV article that discusses, analyses or interprets an
issue, subject or trend. A feature generally takes
longer to research and produce than a news story.
The charge consultancies make for the time of the
executive staff working on client programs, usually
invoiced in regular installments monthly or quarterly in
advance and monitored through daily timesheets.
the efforts of a publicly-held company, or one that is
on the way to a public flotation, to communicate with
shareholders, security analysts, institutional investors
and stock exchanges.
a one-stop PR shop which incorporates clients from many
different industry sectors and which offers a range of
PR disciplines, and sometimes in-house design and other
Sometimes an invisible barrier to promotion. Often felt
by women or, similarly, by everyone in a small company
with few opportunities.
Healthcare Communications PR:
Sector specializing in public and private
healthcare provision, including leisure health, effect
of drugs and impacts of medical research.
Staff within a company or organization responsible for
the public relations and corporate communication
A tool to communicate to employees about news, issues
and developments within the organization they work in.
a multidisciplinary approach which uses a number of
marketing communications techniques in order to deliver
a consistent set of messages. The aim is to achieve
seamless communication with the audience.
communicating with employees and shareholders to inform
them of change (for instance during a company merger),
keep them up to date with company news and developments,
or to help achieve corporate objectives.
Internal Relations Officer (IRO):
Looks after internal communications
People that invest time or money into a company.
Investor Road Shows:
Corporate executives travel around the country to
promote the benefits of their company.
Companies that represent clients to politicians and
a graphic or symbol owned by and representing a company
Management buy out.
Monitoring a company's coverage in the press, on TV, and
on the Internet.
Training to help deal with the various media (including
television and radio), with journalists and when making
a pitch to prospective clients.
dealing with journalists and building good working
relationships with the broadcast, print and online
agreed words or statements that a client wants to convey
to third parties, like the media or shareholders, for
channel for the communication of information including
newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, mobile phones and the
the live dissemination of news information by an
organization to invited media. The format is usually a
presentation of information by the organization followed
by a question and answer session. Also known as a press
Making a proposal to a client or a full presentation of
a recommended public relations program, carefully
researched and priced, which usually takes at least four
weeks to prepare. Some consultancies reserve the right
to charge a fee if not subsequently appointed.
a branded pack handed out to the media by an
organization. It normally contains background material,
photographs, illustrations and news releases.
A press office handles all media enquiries and puts out
all company messages or press releases - to the media on
behalf of the organization. This may be an in-house
function or outsourced to a PR consultancy.
a written communication sent to all news media. Also
known as a news release.
The process of producing printed material such as
brochures, posters and leaflets.
document outlining a proposed PR campaign to an existing
or potential client.
Those aspects of public relations communication
involving relations with governmental or statutory
bodies or their semi-official organizations through
sophisticated use of political intelligence and
PR. "The determined, planned and sustained effort to
establish and maintain mutual understanding between an
organization and its publics". May also be referred to
as corporate communications or reputation management.
Finding out background information about a company,
product or person to assist with a public relations
Book of contacts.
the media relevant to specific audiences. This includes
special interest magazines such as hi-fi enthusiasts.
Trade journals are read for business and professional
reasons, for example electronics engineers read
A person or company that has shares in a company.
Anyone with an interest within the company.
Big picture standing back, general rather than specific.
The types of people you wish to communicate with.
a promotion that is intended to arouse interest in the
main campaign which follows.
written outline of a radio or broadcast about a client.
media relating to different market sectors for a product
or service. For example, you can promote a barcode
printer in the printing media, packaging media and food
a communications campaign which is designed to exploit
the potential of the internet to spread messages
rapidly. The audience is encouraged to pass a message on
to all of their email contacts.