Paid space or airtime in which your message is disseminated.
Newspapers, magazines, radio, television, Web sites, billboards
and many other vehicles are used in advertising.
A hybrid of advertising and editorial. Advertorials are paid for,
like advertising, but look and read like editorial (articles). They
often appear in advertising supplements. Companies sometimes place
advertorials and traditional advertising together.
Reporters often are assigned a specific area, or topic, to cover,
called a beat. Some beats are broad, such as the "high tech" beat;
others are narrow, such as the "wireless" or "electronics" beat.
Your PR representative should make regular contact with the beat
reporters in your industry.
B-Roll A short
compilation of video footage from your company that is sent to television
news or talk show producers. It is used as background to illustrate
your companys interesting visuals (this highlights your company
as a good choice for a TV story), or, it provides visuals to accompany
a talk show appearance or when your company is in the news. A B-roll
is NOT a slick, marketing production with music and special effects.
It provides straightforward visuals and sometimes brief executive
Buzz A slang term
that describes the excitement surrounding a company or product,
often caused by extensive positive media coverage.
An article written by a company representative with the authors
name and company name included. These articles usually appear in
industry trade publications and are geared toward a specific topic.
They are NOT self-promotional in tone and often do not mention the
authors company or product within the article. Bylined articles
establish expertise and build credibility for the company.
Case histories, also referred to as application stories, involve
one or more examples of successful "real world" use of the product.
Case histories establish credibility and provide reasons for coverage.
They are often used with new product introductions but also used
to keep the product "alive" in the media.
Clipping services, also called monitoring services, monitor the
media for references to your company. They are essential to the
success of a media relations campaign, permitting you to capture
media "hits" for use (reprints) with targeted audiences. They also
help a company assess the progress of a media relations campaign.
Services are available for print, broadcast and Internet coverage.
A collective term that refers to literature about your company.
Brochures, product data sheets, media kits and Web site content
are just a few of the documents referred to by this term. Consistency
of message should be the goal for a companys collateral materials.
Copy Another word
for writing, often used to describe writing for brochures or ads.
In the world of journalism, copy refers to the articles turned in
A document written for the media kit that provides background
and context about the company. It is not intended to be printed
but rather to be used as background when reporters write their stories
on your company. Clear, news-style writing is best.
Daybook These advisories tell assignment editors about
potentially newsworthy events of local interest happening that day.
Published free by syndicated news organizations and for a free by
the wire services, they help the media identify events they may
want to cover.
Magazines typically publish an issue-by-issue overview of
the types of stories they intend to run during a given timeframe.
This is an opportunity for the magazine to sell targeted advertising
and for companies to pitch writers on news and features pertinent
to that editorial focus.
Refers to all publicity given to your company (excluding advertising)
in media outlets spanning print, broadcast and Internet.
A term used when an important story is given to one media outlet
first. Generally given to larger media outlets with the most circulation,
exclusives usually help a company obtain more noteworthy editorial
coverage. Care has to be taken not to alienate beat reporters from
competing media outlets who are not part of the exclusive.
A one-page information sheet that allows reporters to view a summary
of the company at a glance. When media kits are bulky, fact sheets
help reporters determine interest immediately. Accurate fact sheets
also contribute to more accurate reporting.
Reporter's stories are generally separated into two categories:
hard news and features. Feature stories are less time-driven than
hard news and are usually longer, more in-depth looks at a company
or trends in an industry. See hard news below.
Fee-based Wire Service
Several companies will disseminate your press releases exactly
as written for a fee (based on length of the release and how widely
the release is distributed). The two largest services, PR Newswire
and BusinessWire, provide the vast majority of service and both
fulfill the SECs financial disclosure requirements. Several
smaller services are available as well. The largest wires distribute
to all media outlets of any size, plus the entire financial community
(brokers, analysts, etc.).
Finanical Media Relations
The goal is to disseminate your company messages and news
to as many investors and financial media as possible as quickly
as possible and in a way that all interested investors have the
opportunity to get the information at the same time.
Free-lancer This is a writer who works independently
and sells articles to multiple media outlets. The benefit of pitching
your story to a free-lancer is that you increase the opportunity
for your company's information to appear in numerous publications.
Consider it the "one-stop-shop" of media relations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Often part of a media kit, FAQs ask and answer the
kinds of questions that reporters would ask if interviewing your
company officials. This document is useful when interviews are not
practical and also give further background to reporters before company
interviews. Should include both hard-hitting and "puff" questions.
Hard news is timely, up-to-date coverage of a company's significant
changes, including new contracts, management hires, mergers or acquisitions,
FDA approvals, stock price hikes, etc.
Hit A slang term
that refers to media coverage obtained by your company.
Just like the corporate backgrounder, the industry backgrounder
is not for publication but provides background that explains the
current state of the industry and how your company fits into it.
Part of the media kit, it is especially useful for reporters who
are not very knowledgeable about your industry.
Investor Relations (IR)
An IR program oversees a company's relationship with the
investment community. IR representatives for the company (in-house
or an IR agency) deal directly with shareholders, analysts, fund
managers, brokers, and others who are most interested in the financial
side of the company. IR and PR programs work best when coordinated.
Logo Also called
the corporate identity, the logo is what visually sets your company
apart from all others. Your logo should be appropriate for your
audience and be memorable within those constraints. The corporate
identity includes the logo symbol (also called a mark or icon) and
the specific type used whenever your company name is in print (some
corporate identities have only a logo type without a symbol). Corporate
colors should be used consistently on all collateral materials.
These used to be called publicity stunts; this term is for
any over-the-top opportunity to gain publicity for your company.
Although magnet events can generate a lot of hype, you should use
caution when staging them because they could tarnish your company's
Media Alert A one-page document
prepared by the companys PR representative that is sent to
targeted media to alert them to a newsworthy upcoming event or situation.
Usually, a media alert encourages attendance at an event or offers
an interview or photo opportunity. Media alerts can be sent via
fee-based wire services or by mail, email or fax.
The beginning of any media relations program is a customized
database that includes all reporters, editors and producers that
may be interested in your company news. The database can be segmented
into trade, business/financial, consumer or other sub-groups, and
also can be prioritized with an A list, B list, etc. To be useful,
media databases must be maintained and updated regularly since media
outlets come and go and the individuals who work there are even
Media guides provide lists of specific groups of media outlets
and their employees. Some are related to geography, others to topic.
Some are in books or pamphlets, others are on CD or are accessed
through the Internet. Some guides cost thousands of dollars, others
are cheap. Be aware that a media guide is only as good as the individual
preparing your customized list from the guide(s). Sending everything
to everyone is costly, inefficient and may actually serve to alienate
This is the package of materials often placed into a custom
folder with your corporate logo that tells your story to
the media. The materials should be written in a factual manner rather
than with a promotional tone. The better the media kit, the better
your chances of being written about accurately and being of interest
to the media in the first place. Some popular items in a media kit
include corporate backgrounder, industry backgrounder, executive
bios, corporate fact sheet, FAQs, recent press releases, company
brochure, product data sheets, annual report, etc.
Refers to the combined efforts of communicating with the media
about your company. Media relations efforts can include sending
press releases and media alerts, as well as making contact by phone,
fax, e-mail, snail mail or in-person.
An organized effort to meet with multiple media outlets during
a designated time period. A tour usually spans several cities in
proximity and can focus on similar media (i.e. all business press
or all trade publications) or include a variety of media. Media-rich
cities, such as NY, LA, and SF Bay Area/Silicon Valley, are frequent
media tour targets. Often, a media tour will dovetail with a series
of analyst, broker or shareholder meetings.
A companys corporate message should be distilled into a handful
of key message points for use during media interviews. Establishing
message points helps the individual being interviewed stay focused
and present the most important points about the company.
News-based Wire Service
In contrast to fee-based wire services, news-based wire services
having nothing to do with being paid to distribute your story. These
services, such as Associated Press, Reuters and Dow Jones, select
stories on the basis of news merit only. These wires receive wire
"feeds" from the fee-based services and also may be "pitched" your
story during a media relations campaign.
On the Record
It is best to assume that everything you say during an interview
is "on the record." This means that the comments are fair game for
the reporter when writing the story. When you have established a
good rapport with a reporter you may agree to give background info
that is "off the record" but do this very carefully.
Pitch Like a
sales pitch, a media pitch is your PR representatives effort to
get your company editorial coverage. The effort may involve a pitch
letter, call, fax or email or even an in-person pitch in some
situations. Pitches generally involve describing the most newsworthy
elements of the company to match a reporter's specific beat and
This is an event a company stages to announce news to target
media TV, print, radio, wire service. Although this is an
effective way to disseminate hard news to a group of journalists
clustered in the same area, most journalists prefer to get information
one on one or receive exclusive stories. Usually calling your event
a "press briefing" is a better strategy than naming it a conference.
Press Release (News Release)
Used interchangeably, a press release or news release is
the written story from your company that is intended to disseminate
news. It is best to save press releases for legitimate company news.
Press Room (Press Center)
In the context of the Internet, the Press Room or Press Center
is the portion of your Web site that is intended to be viewed by
the media. It can be a re-creation of your printed media kit, PR
contact information, current and archived press releases, and references
to media coverage. Many reporters today immediately look at your
Press Room to determine whether they are interested in covering
your story. It should be up-to-date and professional in tone.
Public service announcements are free "commercials" on matters of
public interest. By law, television stations must devote a certain
portion of their airtime to PSAs.
Pseudo-News (hype) Unfortunately,
many stories today disseminated on the fee-based wire services are
pseudo-news, basically stories that hype a companys stock
rather than delivering real news for the media. To maintain your
credibility, try to avoid this whenever possible.
some interchange the terms "publicity" and "public relations," they
shouldn't be. Publicity is one facet of PR, most commonly used to
achieve exposure or notoriety, typically with the media.
Public Relations (PR) This term encompasses
all activities undertaken by a company to enhance its public image,
increase visibility, build credibility, support advertising and
marketing efforts, enhance its investor relations efforts, etc.
A strong PR effort can yield benefits in many arenas.
A type of story frequently seen in trade publications in which
a variety of news sources are interviewed on a particular topic.
Your company can be one of several companies included in a round-up
story; this inclusion can help build credibility among the right
A reference to the short comments that TV and radio programs use
during news stories. An interview subject who talks in sound bites
is more likely to be included in the story since it facilitates
in-studio editing and is short enough to fit the quick time frame
of broadcast news. Unfortunately, the sound bite mentality leads
to superficial stories but you will be included.
Story Angle (News Hook)
The fact that your company exists usually is not enough to
generate news coverage. A variety of story angles, or news hooks,
must be developed that provide the media with reasons to cover your
company or technology. This is a constant process that continues
through the life of a company. The better story angles, the better
Trades These are the publications
published daily, weekly or monthly that cover a particular
industry or profession. Like consumer publications, trades print
news and features. These reporters typically are experts in their
field and should be viewed as important links to establishing industry
credibility for your company.
Video News Release (VNR) When you
have a very strong story to tell, and it can be accompanied by compelling
visual images, a Video News Release, or VNR, should be considered.
When done correctly, these short video pieces are significantly
more expensive than regular news releases but can lead to national
TV coverage very quickly. The VNR should be produced by a professional
video production company that specializes in VNRs and then distributed
to TV stations by a satellite distribution service.
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