Advertising — 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.

Advertorial — 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.

Beat Reporter — 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 company’s 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 interviews.

Buzz — A slang term that describes the excitement surrounding a company or product, often caused by extensive positive media coverage.

Bylined Article — An article written by a company representative with the author’s 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 author’s company or product within the article. Bylined articles establish expertise and build credibility for the company.

Case History — 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 Service — 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.

Collateral Materials — 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 company’s 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 by reporters.

Corporate Backgrounder — 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.

Editorial Calendar — 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.

Editorial Coverage — Refers to all publicity given to your company (excluding advertising) in media outlets spanning print, broadcast and Internet.

Exclusive — 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.

Fact Sheet — 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.

Feature — 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 SEC’s 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 — 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.

Industry Backgrounder — 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.

Magnet Event — 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 public image.

Media Alert — A one-page document prepared by the company’s 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.

Media Database — 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 more transient.

Media Guides — 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 media representatives.

Media Kit — 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.

Media Relations — 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.

Media Tour — 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.

Message Points — A company’s 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 representative’s 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 interest.

Press Conference — 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.

PSAs — 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 company’s stock rather than delivering real news for the media. To maintain your credibility, try to avoid this whenever possible.

Publicity — Although 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.

Round-up Story — 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 audiences.

Sound Bite — 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 the coverage.

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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