How to speak PR

public relations

In media training sessions, we urge clients to avoid using jargon in interviews, but listen in on our office conversations, and you might think we’re talking nonsense – or that we’re sailors, but that’s another story.

Here’s an intro to some basic PR terms to help make sense of it all.

pitch – A key element of public relations, a pitch is an attempt to get a journalist to cover a client’s story. A strong pitch is timely, brief and relevant to the media outlet. In today’s electronic world, pitches are frequently sent via email, but occasionally you can still reach a reporter the old fashioned way, on the telephone.

hit – Keeping with the baseball theme, a hit occurs when a pitch is successful and news coverage is secured on behalf of a client. Getting a hit is a great feeling, similar to that of a pro baseball player getting a hit in a big game, or so I imagine.

good sound – When clients give good sound, they hit their television or radio interview out of the park. (Sorry, I just want to see how many baseball metaphors I can fit in one blog post.) In other words, they speak to all of their key messages in snippets that are easy for reporters to edit into their final stories.

above the fold – This term denotes the location of your hit in a traditional newspaper. A story above the fold is located in the top half of the printed edition of the paper and is considered a win. On the page is good; above the fold is better.

the wire – No not the HBO show or a circus act, the wire refers to press release distribution services. When a press release “crosses the wire” it is received by numerous journalists and websites at once. The term is a throwback to when news was sent out by telegraph.

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