Say What? PR Slang – Defined

As PR professionals, we often find ourselves in interesting conversations trying to explain what we do for a living. Truth be told, the popularity of social media and its integration into the PR and marketing mix has made it a little easier to help our family and friends “get it,” but there are still a lot of curious looks when you answer the question, “So, what is PR and what do you do as a PR professional, anyway?”

To complicate matters, we use a lot of PR lingo that makes no sense to those outside of marketing. Some of our favorite PR slang includes:

Pubs – publications, as in “we need to get media coverage in 100 pubs”

Hits – media coverage

Opp – opportunity, as in an opportunity to get media coverage

Journo – a reporter (journalist)

Pitch – note to inform/gauge interest

Running/ran – article appeared

Traction – interest/coverage

Out of the box – think beyond the obvious

Open the kimono – reveal more details

Prezo – a PowerPoint presentation

Release – a news announcement (as opposed to a product release)

Launch – the public marketing announcement of a G/A product (G/A = generally available)

B-roll – “highlights” video of something we want to promote (company, person, event), often used to show broadcast outlets the potential for a story and/or provide them with footage for the story

Ed Cals – editorial calendars (predetermined story topics by media outlets)

Boilerplate – short description of a company, most often used at the end of a press release

Evergreen – story/pitch angle that won’t fade over time, could be pitched/published at any time (as opposed to news that is only relevant during a certain period of time)

In-house – a “corporate” job where one conducts PR inside a business, as opposed to an agency job where one services several clients at once

Flack - although defined as “a publicist or promoter,” it is also a derogatory reference – often used by journalists – to describe a bad PR executive

Hack - PR’s response to “flack,” often used to describe a poor journalist or reporting job

What slang terms do you use in your profession that others might not understand without explanation? What’d we miss on the PR front? We are pretty sure our former colleague Terry Frechette will have some to add!

 

PR Definition

We work in PR – and soon we’ll be able to tell you exactly what that means

A while back I jokingly joined a Facebook group called, “I Work in PR and My family and Friends Have No Idea What I Do,” partly out of curiosity, but mostly because it’s true. Chances are the description will strike a chord if you work in the industry:

“They know we spend all day at an office and that we are very busy, but no one we know understands what it is we do all day. We are equally unable to explain it to them.”

But that’s all about to change, hopefully.

It’s no secret that public relations has a PR problem. Forget the tension with the media (it’s high time to declare a truce and move on…but that’s another post); I’m talking about the fact that – while a myriad of definitions are floating around – existing descriptions are neither intuitive nor able to encompass PR’s ever-evolving scope of work.

PRSA’s definition of public relations was last updated in 1982. Over the course of the past 10 years, the organization has assembled two special committees to explore modernizing the definition of public relations, but recent discussions, blog posts, tweets and mainstream articles have called for more decisive action. Public relations professionals, having grown tired of lack a de facto industry definition and unhappy with current descriptions, want to both modernize the definition and increase its value.

So late last year the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) decided to tackle this conundrum with its “Public Relations Defined” initiative, setting out to answer the question, “What is public relations?” After collaborating with partners in allied associations and calling for open submissions, PRSA unveiled its three definition possibilities this past week:

1. Public relations is the management function of researching, engaging, communicating, and collaborating with stakeholders in an ethical manner to build mutually beneficial relationships and achieve results.
2. Public relations is a strategic communication process that develops and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their key publics.
3. Public relations is the engagement between organizations and individuals to achieve mutual understanding and realize strategic goals.

We’ve got until January 23 to review, react and comment, and then the collective feedback will be aggregated and analyzed for use in a second “Definition of PR” summit. The goal of that meeting will be to produce three final definitions, on which the profession will be invited to vote, and then the final definition is slated to be announced at the end of February. For more information, annotated versions of the definitions and to leave your thoughts for consideration in the process, click here.

Do you think the definitions above are on track? If not, how would you better define PR? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

I Know You, I Know You

At last week’s PRSA T3PR conference, one of the audience questions to me was whether or not today’s “marketing celebs” overshadow their clients. The question was asked with the comment, “I know a lot of the marketing ‘Twilebrities,’ for example, but I don’t know any of their clients.”

My reply was that I didn’t think it was an issue – that maybe you are not the client’s core audience and therefore the marketer hasn’t promoted any of his or her client news to you. You may know the marketer because he or she talks about marketing, business, PR, social media – all things you would want to be paying attention to as a fellow marketer. But, if their client sells widgets and you don’t buy widgets, it makes sense that you wouldn’t know the client. In fact, dare I say the marketer might be doing a bad job – over-promoting his or her own work to the wrong audience – if you did know all of his or her clients. Wouldn’t it get annoying if they talked so much about their own work – instead of promoting to you what you find valuable, such as shared insights, experiences and – when the time or circumstance is right – client news, products or services?

Here’s an example. A year ago I had a conversation with Jason Keath, founder of SoFresh, a social media conference for marketers. At the time, he was consulting for several companies on marketing and social media. I paid attention to Jason because he’s a fellow marketer and I was interested in his posts about marketing. I learned about some of his client work as well – but to this day the only client of his I remember is one that I was personally interested in (because it involved shoes). Likewise, I follow other industry colleagues and competitors because I’m interested in their marketing and PR insights, not necessarily because I’m interested in their clients’ products and services. I remember the ones that do apply to me – something I would buy or use – but I pay attention to the marketers because I think they have smart things to say about marketing, PR and social media opportunities and challenges.

Some, like Kelly Cutrone of People’s Revolution, I learned about and began listening to because she’s a PR veteran and I am interested in learning from her. Now, as a lover of fashion, I also happen to pay attention to her client work. But even if I weren’t a fashion fiend, I’d follow what Kelly does because I value her stories and experiences in PR.

What do you think? Are today’s influential marketers overshadowing their clients?

PS – Just for fun, my headline’s a nod to an SNL skit. Who knows which one?

Photo Credit: Michael Halsband