What are you saying? Understanding PR Jargon

19 November | 2019By Michael BartleyInsights

Us PR folk can be a funny bunch, often flamboyant and excitable, often talking a million miles an hour. It’s almost as if sometimes… we are speaking our very own language. This “PR-speak” can be somewhat problematic. Dropping jargon in conversation can often throw off clients and our non-PR friends.

At C8 we pride ourselves on communicating clearly, whether that’s in writing press releases, creating social media posts, our pitching and conversations with the media or in one of our many very important meetings. Though, from time-to-time, it’s difficult to avoid falling into the jargon trap.

So, we thought we’d be helpful and decode some of our frequently used (arguably overused) words, terms and phrases. Let’s understand each other. This is what we mean when we say these things…

Newsjacking

verb

A PR practice of closely monitoring the news and jumping on topical stories at the right moment to provide client comment and insights to generate earned media coverage. The quick response, comment creation and submission to a newsjacking story is often referred to as rapid response.

PR: “We spotted this story on machine learning and AI that looks like a great newsjacking opportunity, would you like us to send over a comment?”

Leverage

verb (to leverage)

The way in which PRs maximise an opportunity based on an existing relationship for further coverage or media attention.

PR: “We can leverage the fact that you met this journalist at InfoSec to remind them of your expertise for inclusion in their feature.”

Top Tier

adjective

Often used to describe the most aspirational or influential publications for an industry or sector. Used to identify and validate outlets, typically based on circulation, impressions and readership.

PR: “Great news! We’ve secured 11 pieces of coverage this month, 6 of which are in top tier publications.”

Thought leader

noun (Thought Leadership)

A thought leader is a respected individual within a specialist field who is looked to for comment and insight on a topic of interest. Thought leadership (often a bylined article, attributed to a relevant, authoritative figure at an organisation) is interesting, non-commercial content that discusses industry topics or points of view. It’s an engaging piece of collateral that encourages discussion and clearly demonstrates the author’s expertise in the space.

PR: “She’s a real thought leader in the cyber security space. Did you see her bylined article last month in SC Media? It created lots of interesting discussion.”

It has legs

idiom

If something has legs, it will likely be successful, popular or has durability. The PR phrase is typically used positively to describe a topic idea, news angle or story that they feel will interest the media and earn coverage.

PR: “This topic is so interesting. The story has legs and is bound to have a lot of media pick up.”

Touch base

idiom

PR-speak for to make contact with, or to talk to. Similar to reach out.

PR: “Thanks, Jim. We’ll look into this and touch base with you next week.”

PR: “First thing tomorrow we’ll touch base with the journalist and come back to you.”

Ping me/you

idiom

To ring/email/message/text. Also used as an alternative to “send”.

PR: “I’ll ping you, Kiri. Give me five minutes”

PR: “Thanks, Jess. If you could ping me that press release today that would be great.”

Blue sky thinking

idiom

Brainstorming, or creative thinking. Similar to “thinking outside the box” with regards to thinking of and generating creative and original ideas.

PR: “Great idea. That’s some blue sky thinking you’re doing there, Taz.”

Heads up

idiom

To give advance notice to something that will need attention.

PR: “Paula, just a heads up that I’ll be sending across that report to you for review this afternoon.”

There you go, a hard and fast glimpse into our everyday vocabulary to serve as an easy guide. As I say, we try to avoid typical PR jargon and clichés in our conversations with our clients and the media, but they do very much exist and it would be silly to pretend they do not. We hope this provides you with some insight into our busy lives and the way in which we communicate.

Anything we’ve missed? Tweet us at @C8_Consulting for the commonly used PR words and phrases that get you like 🤔 and have you Googling.

For more information about how C8 Consulting can help to create compelling campaigns and kick-start conversations for your business, contact us. Read more about our services and case studies.