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PR Glossary: 64 Essential Terms

May 4, 2023

by Bjorn Howard (BjornV) Von Possel

Trying to build out your organization's public relations strategy? Whether you're working with a PR firm or are doing it all on your own, here are 64 terms you need to know. 

The importance of public relations doesn’t hinge on the size of an organization. Even small to medium businesses need to properly nurture their brand if they want to grow. There are dozens of agencies that have specially designed services for smaller enterprises.

This glossary will overview and define various essential development tools and strategies performed by PR agencies to help elevate their clients' perceptions.

Does your company need support with your public relations strategy? Find the top PR agencies on Clutch.

64 PR Terms to Know

It doesn’t matter where you are in your PR journey; there are almost always new things to learn about this changing industry. Here are a few common terms you need to know to communicate your PR needs. 


  • Advertorial: An advertisement that’s presented in an editorial format.
  • Angle: Refers to the author’s focus or point of view when writing an article.


  • Bloggers: A person who regularly writes for an online journal or page for either professional or personal reasons.
  • Boilerplate: A reusable text that can be applied to multiple contexts or applications with slight modifications.
  • Brand: The identity or persona an organization assumes when interacting with the general public or the media.
  • Brand Ambassador: An honorary position that is usually given to someone outside the organization to represent the brand and communicate the organization’s values.
  • Brand Archetypes: A collection of desirable traits an organization want the general public to associate with them.
  • Brand Awareness: Refers to the extent of which the general public knows about the organization, or its products and services.
  • Brand Consistency: The reliability in which an organization conveys their message in their preferred manner or archetype.
  • Byline: The name of the author of an article usually placed under the title and above the main body.


  • Call to Action: Refers to any kind of prompt that directs users toward a specific action.
  • Clippings: Refers to the mention of the brand on media whether it be print, television, or social media.
  • Content Marketing: A strategy of using media like articles, videos, and podcasts to relate and engage a target audience.
  • Crisis Communication: A niche aspect of PR which is specifically designed to defend the organization from real of perceived threats to their reputation.


  • Editorial Calendar: An organized workflow that visually organizes all the planned and scheduled content on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Embargo Press Release: A type of press release given to media contacts ahead of the scheduled publish date to give them appropriate time to write about the information included in the release.
  • External PR: A type of communication designed to be disseminated outside the organization.


  • Fact Sheets: A short - usually single-page - document containing all the essential information on a product, service, or event.
  • Forums: A place or event where multiple parties meet to discuss events or announcements.


  • General Public: Refers to the greater audience beyond the demographics of the target audience that can view or have contact with an organization’s products or services.


  • Inbound PR: A PR strategy with the objective of building relationships with media outlets.
  • Influencer Marketing: A strategy that leverages the reach of influencers to spread the word about an organization.
  • Internal PR: A type of communication designed to be disseminated within the organization.


  • Key Messages: The main pieces of information an organization wants their audience to remember and understand over everything else.


  • Lead Time: Refers to the amount of time media contacts require to cover a particular story.
  • Localization: The strategy of crafting or slightly altering a general message into one that’s more relatable to people within a specific area.


  • Media Attention: Refers to the process of spreading the organization’s message through either or both conventional or new media.
  • Media Contacts: Refers to an organization's connections within media outlets, to whom they can send press releases and other types of announcements.
  • Media Coverage: Refers to any article, recording, or photograph made by media outlets for an event or announcement.
  • Media Day: An event where an organization invites media contacts to discuss announcements or future plans.
  • Media Inquiry: A request made by a media contact for comment or interview from someone within the organization.
  • Media Kit: Also known as a press kit, is a package prepared by an organization to provide basic information about the announcement or event to media contacts.
  • Media Outlets: Refers to any organization that provides news and feature stories to the public by way of news articles, television programs, magazines, social media, or any combination of these.
  • Media Relations: Is the process of an organization working with the media to deliver a message about their products or services.
  • Media Value: Refers to the quantifiable value of a PR campaign through established metrics.


  • News Story: Refers to any written or recorded information delivered to the public about events or announcements.
  • Newswire: An online service where organizations can post press releases and other similar announcements.


  • Outbound PR: A PR strategy wherein an organization reaches out to media outlets to inform them about their products and services.
  • Owned Media: Refers to any piece of content published on platforms owned by the organization.


  • Podcast: An audio or audio/visual recording that can be played at the listener’s convenience.
  • PR Agency: An organization that provides a wide range of services designed to improve their client’s reputation to the media, target audience, and general public.
  • PR Campaign: A planned sequence of activities and efforts designed to reach an organization’s branding goals.
  • Press Embargo: A request made by a source for the media not to publish certain pieces of information until a specific date or if specific conditions are met.
  • Press Release: Also known as a news release, is an official statement an organization delivers to media outlets to provide the same information to the general public.
  • Public Relations Management (PRM): Refers to software used by PR agencies to manage their media contacts.


  • Reach: Refers to the total number of people who can view an organization’s PR campaign content.
  • Reputation Management: The practice of influencing perceptions of an organization’s brand through PR campaigns.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): The ratio of profit versus investment. A metric often used to measure the effectiveness of any action.


  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The overall process of making webpages and websites easier to find for search engines.
  • Sentiment Analysis: A tool used to measure the attitude the public has about the brand, its competitors, and the industry in general.
  • Social Media: Refers to interactive technologies that make up the bulk of new media organizations use to reach their target audience.
  • Social Networks: A collection of preferred social media sites organizations use to connect and interact with their target audience.
  • Spokesperson: A person appointed to engage with media, target audience, or general public on behalf of the organization.
  • Stakeholders: A person or group with a vested interest in the decisions made by an organization.
  • Style guide: A set of standards and guidelines for writing documents and messages from an organization to help create a unified persona.


  • Target Audience: A specific group who are most likely to engage with a product or service.
  • Thought Leadership: Ideas and efforts that demonstrate expertise in a particular field or topic.
  • Tier Publications: An internal categorization of media outlets ranked by their reach, reputation, and reliability.
  • Traction: Refers to the public's interest in response to a PR campaign, product, or service.
  • Trade Publication: Refers to a collection of regularly published articles that detail the important news that occurred within a specific time period.
  • Trade show: Also known as a trade fair, exhibition, or convention, is an event organized to allow companies within a specific industry to come together to showcase their latest products and offers.


  • Viral: A modern term used to describe a piece of content that’s unexpectedly grown in popularity over a short time period.


  • White paper: A document designed to give an in-depth but concise explanation of complex issues.
  • Word of Mouth: Refers to the organic delivery of information through a group of people via oral communication.

Learning More About the Nuances of Public Relations is Good Starting Point

The PR industry can be particularly confusing to people, especially given all of the terms and jargon you need to learn just to join the conversation. But anyone can keep up with everything going on with the PR industry if they put in the time and effort to review industry terms and best practices.

Looking for a team to help you kick off your public relations efforts? Find the best PR agencies on Clutch.

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