Glossary of PR Terms

Acronyms, jargon and technical terms can get in the way of understanding the fundamentals of a great public relations campaign. Our glossary covers common (and not-so-common) vernacular used by communications professionals talking fast and furiously about media relations, social media, content writing and program strategy. Let’s all start speaking the same language!

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A concise summary of an expert’s opinion and position on a topic that gives editors an idea of the proposed story to come. Providing education, actionable tips and defining your unique perspective are all ingredients for a successful abstract.

Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE)


A method commonly used to measure the ROI of an earned media placement by comparing it to the cost of a similarly sized advertisement. It is often criticized for failing to take into account the content’s tone, publication’s target and varying cost of ads between publications.



Customers, prospects, employees, partners. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to communicating with key audiences, so develop a message for each.



See entries for content audit and social media audit.



A concise, standardized description of an organization that is typically found at the bottom of a press release or other promotional material. It consists of a few sentences about the company’s products and services, location, size and market position in addition to website URL and social media links.



The creation and maintenance of an identity for a product or an organization.

Brand Identity / Brand System


Visible elements, such as design, logo and messaging, that form a perceived image of a brand in a consumer’s mind. It includes what is said about a brand—and how it’s said.



TV segments, radio interviews, podcasts and any associated web stories or links. Broadcast coverage can be taped in advance or recorded live from inside or outside a studio.



Video of stock footage that’s given to a broadcast outlet to help illustrate a story or serve as background. It’s generally loosely edited and offered free of rights and royalties.



Text below a headline naming the author.



Despite what some may say, print media is alive and well. Print refers to copies of print media made and distributed. Circulation is a great way to reach demographics where digital doesn’t cut it. Unique visitors per month (UVM), which measures circulation in a digital environment, tracks the volume of readers that visit your website each month.



A written deliverable in the form of a white paper, blog, social media post, website page, etc.

Content Audit


Analyzing all content produced by a company/organization and evaluating strengths, weaknesses and next steps.

Content Development


Strategic creation of text, often based on research and subject matter expert input. Deliverables could include white papers, blogs or articles.

Content Marketing


A strategic process of generating, publishing and distributing content that is aimed at a specific target audience.

Contributed Article


A piece authored by a subject matter expert that offers up a unique perspective and is published in a media outlet, typically a print or digital magazine or newspaper. A contributed article usually ranges in length from 800 to 1,500 words. (Also known as an op-ed.)

Copy editing


Revising written material to eliminate grammar and spelling errors as well as improve the structure and flow of the piece.

Dark Social


When people share social media content through private channels, making it impossible to receive all share analytics.

Discovery Session


The kickoff of our partnership and a deep dive into your overarching brand vision, communications objectives and success metrics. Attendees should include key stakeholders and your A.wordsmith account team. The two-hour session can be held at our office or yours.

Domain Activity


Statistics about website traffic including frequency and type of visits, and how the viewer found the page.

Earned Media

Every pitch that lands, article that gets placed or interview you star in is an earned media checkmark. Earned media is never bought through advertising or sponsorship dollars. Instead it’s secured through the validity of a compelling story.



An informative long-form piece of content designed to examine a specific topic and offer actionable takeaways. They are often used by corporate sales teams.

Editorial Calendar

A sneak peek behind the curtains of an outlet’s thematic focuses for the year. An editorial calendar enables us to identify relevant opportunities well in advance and ensure that we are pitching your company and subject matter experts for relevant stories and issues.



When a PR practitioner distributes news or information to a journalist with a request to not report on the topic until a specified date.


Likes, comments, shares. We cultivate meaningful relationships with influencers and customers alike, making social media engagement authentic and organic.



Supplying only one media outlet with a story or piece of news.

Feature Article

Long-form articles on people, companies, products and trends. Feature articles are what you typically read in Fast Company and Wired. They are always written by the publication’s editorial team.



Acronym for “Help a Reporter Out”: an online news service that shares media leads with PR practitioners.



The number of times content is displayed or viewed by users.

Impressions vs. Reach


Impressions are the number of times a piece of content is viewed, while reach is the number of users who saw that piece of content.



A social media star, pundit, blogger or publication that can jumpstart engagement by attaching a name to a product or trend. Their audiences are engaged and ready for the next post, photo or issue.

Major Influencer


A person on social media who has a significant follower base, typically of more than 10,000 people.

Media Angle or Hook


Element of a story that is necessary to be appealing to a specific media outlet.

Media Brief


A document used to prepare an interviewee for a media opportunity.  It provides background information on the reporter as well as key points, potential questions and possible challenges for the interview.

Media Monitoring


Surveying recent media coverage within a specific industry to stay informed on relevant news and possible pitch strategies.



The foundational words and phrasing that describe what an organization does, for whom, how, why and to what degree.

Micro Influencer


An individual on social media who has a follower base of between 1,000 and 10,000 people. They often appeal to a niche audience.



Meaning “opposite the editorial page”, its opinion-based commentary on recent reported coverage.

Owned Media


Digital marketing channels that a company has complete control over, such as a website or social media platform.


A compelling intro, story idea and call to action for a reporter or editor. The ultimate goal of a pitch is to secure interest that culminates in an article, speaking engagement or television segment.



How a company or organization conveys its stance on a particular issue through effective messaging.

POV or Perspective

Typically 2,000+ words, a Point of View (POV) drives the stake of your opinion into the ground with reasoning and narrative flair. Differing slightly from a contributed article, a POV isn’t typically published and can live on your website, blog or social media channels.



Overhauling an organization’s brand to fit a new vision, purpose and/or audience. This often includes changes to visual identity as well as messaging.

Round-up Story 


A summary of relevant news or viewpoints. This type of story is typically high-level and a provides an overview of a topic.

Secured Placement


When a pitched story idea is accepted by a media outlet.



When the goal of specific content or messaging is to “sell” an idea or product to a target audience.


The measure of your popularity online. Superb SEO means you rank higher on Google. Articles, blogs and most forms of content positively affect your SEO.

Social Health Index


An actionable score that explains how a business is performing on social platforms across demographics and geographies in comparison to industry competitors.

Social Media


Digital platforms designed to allow users to create and share content with a global audience while participating in online communal networking.

Social Media Audit


Analyzing the social media presence of an organization, and its key competitors, across all active platforms to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improved engagement.



A complete piece of coverage that includes a traditional narrative arc with a beginning, middle and end.



The crux of a story, be it print or digital, and what is focused on when pitching a media contact in hopes of securing interest.

Thought Leaders


Innovators and forward-thinking individuals in their respective fields who are willing to share opinions and stake their claim as experts.* Thought leadership awareness is built on exposure through media placements, speaking engagements, awards and written content.

*Also known as SMEs (Subject Matter Experts)

Top Tier


The highest echelon of media outlet with the most influence for a client based on industry.

UVMs vs Circulation 


UVM directly means, “unique visitors per month.” Circulation refers to the total number of people who are subscribed to a print publication.



When a piece of content is shared/viewed at a high rate on digital platforms. The standard “viral” number for video content is about 5 million, however, numbers in the thousands can qualify as viral for photos or text-based posts (particularly for “going viral” in a specific location/region).

Visual Identity


A consistent look that includes imagery, fonts and colors.



The tone and attitude conveyed across a piece content.

White Papers


Grounded in research and typically 3,000+ words, white papers are most common with B2B companies and are an impactful way to build industry clout. White papers differ from other written works in that they’re based on facts, product and service functionality, and primary and secondary research.

Whitespace analysis


An in-depth analysis of current news, trends and subject matter in a particular industry and surrounding a specific company.  Analysis typically includes competitive review as well as insight into third-party opinions such as industry analysis and reports. End goal is to identify a unique niche where a given company can stand out and be seen as a thought leader.

“Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.

Jean-Louis Gassee