Glossary of PR and Evaluation Terminology

To the layman, with his smart shoes and wise eyes, the world of Media Evaluation may seem like a bewildering array of acronyms, initialisms and gobbledegook. Well just as we’d never sail past a castaway on the SS PR Gym without offering him rescue, we’ve put together a lovely glossary of terms which you might see being bandied about.

Advocacy: Advocacy is support or argument in favour of a group, organisation, product or cause. Having advocates in the media can have obvious benefits in terms of positive exposure.

Angle: The emphasis chosen when presenting yourself or your client to the media, and in turn their emphasis when reporting it to the world at large. For example, cake is a great food, because it tastes nice, satisfies your hunger, and comes in as many varieties as your imagination can conceive of…

Articles: Traditionally stories or news items in the Print Media, articles can now also be found across the spectrum of broadcast, digital and social media too. Taken as single items, these are what use to draw our evaluation from.

Attitude Research: Attitude Research measures and interprets feelings about, beliefs held, and opinions that the public have towards you or your client. You want this to be good, or you’re doing PR wrong.

Audience: These are the people you are trying to reach with your message. Audiences can range from very specific individual stakeholders or groups to broader swathes of the general population depending on the stated goals of your (or your Client’s) campaign.

Audience share: Your audience share is the percentage of overall listeners or viewers within a defined market who are tuned into the broadcast outlet you or your Client feature on.

AVE/ACE: Whisper it, because this is about as emotive a combination of words as you can possibly conceive of in the world of PR (short, that is, of ‘late payment’ and ‘last bottle of champagne’). AVE or Advertising Value Equivalent,simply put, is a measure of the value of media coverage by comparing it to the cost of a similar placement of an article were it an advertisement. So if you’ve scored some fantastic coverage for you client on the pages of a popular magazine, the equivalent cost of an advert will be the value of their column inches. We at the Gym have taken it upon ourselves to proportion AVEs to ensure the figure you are getting is commensurate with the quality of your coverage and not overblown. Our soon to be released ‘WAVE’ metric wades into the controversial issue full steam ahead (mixing all kinds of watery metaphors as it goes).

Astroturfing: Another recently conceived term, for an practice of indeterminate age. Astroturfing is the deliberate masking of a product or message’s sponsors so as to make themselves appear as grass roots advocates when they promote their agenda via the media. The genesis of social media has opened the floodgates to a galaxy of potential astroturfing opportunity, from carefully amended Online profiles (Wikipedia entries, lovingly crafted Reddit posts) to the dissemination of promotional material via ever more imaginative means in an effort to subvert negative press.

B2B (Business to Business): B2B PR involves focusing entirely on resources by business and for business. Articles will tend to be directed at more niche trade and business publications rather than towards consumer titles as the appeal for the product or service is more limited.

B2C (Business to Customer): In contrast to B2B, B2C focuses on speaking directly to customers and end users of services. This might not necessarily entail a wider audience (not everyone can afford a Rolls Royce), but the market you are communicating with is altogether different.

Behavioural Objective: This is how you want the public to behave as a result of your campaign. Whether it be a change in attitude towards you or your product, an upsurge in demand for your product or service or just to make people stop writing editorials saying how terrible you are, the BO (unfortunate acronym, I know) is what you are setting out to achieve from those you engage with.

Benchmark: Refers to a specific point of reference for measuring coverage of an issue or campaign. Either a point to measure progress from, or an aspiration to work towards.

Blog: Short for Weblog, this is an Online editorial, usually limited to statements of fact or opinion, and featuring the thoughts and views of a single author. Regularly updated, they can be kept by individuals and organisations alike.

Blog Storm: A product of new media, a blog storm is when a story is promoted online and thrust into the public consciousness through a profusion of chatter throughout the blogosphere. In the past couple of years it has poured forth several huge stories from around the world such as KONY 2012 (no comment) and the career of Lily Allen (comment censored, c/o libel watch).

Boilerplate: At the end of every Press Release comes the cast list. This is the Boilerplate, a short company description highlighting a firms line of business and sector successes to that point.

Bounce Rates: Are statistics of people who realise they’ve taken a wrong turn in Online media and beat a hasty retreat. A ‘bounce’ is a visit to a webpage that lasts five seconds or less

Broadcast: Content that has been published via the mediums of Television or Radio. We have compiled a comprehensive list of Broadcasters enabling us to accurately provide evaluation data for Broadcast content just as easily as for that of Print Media or Online.

Churnalilsm: A somewhat tongue-in-cheek term coined by Guardian journalist Nick Davies to illustrate his belief in the 21st century many of his colleagues have become puppets for the PR industry, rehashing (and in some cases repeating verbatim) the releases that are sent to them without any editorial input. Scandalous.

Clip Count: Your Clip Count is the number of Clippings you’ve managed to achieve in a given timeframe.

Clipping: Whether you sit at the kitchen table pouring over a pile of newspapers for mention of your clients, or you engage the services of a Media Monitoring company to do the legwork for you a Clipping is an extracted article that is about, or contains reference to; you or your client. Depending on how successful you’ve been, there may be quite a few of them to trawl through.

Circulation: This is the number of hard copies distributed by Magazines, Newspapers and other Print Media when they go to press. We are in constant contact with individual publications and publishers to ensure that the circulation figures provided by PR Gym are correct, allowing you peace of mind that your client is getting the most accurate information possible, with the least legwork on your part.

Collateral PR: Piggybacking good PR from someone else’s coverage. If your or your clients product is compared favourably to another in an article without your input then you’ve as good as been handed a dollop of free positive publicity and should probably go and take an early lunch to celebrate appropriately.

Collective Intelligence: This is a shared or group intelligence which emerges from collaborations or competitions of many individuals. Prominent in Social Media particularly it is demonstrated in consensus-based decision making.

Column Inches: In amongst many other metrics, column inches measures the area of a page in Print Media that an article pertaining to you or your client covers, thus allowing you to weight your analysis accordingly.

Consumer Publication: Glossy (yet strangely uninformative) Magazine titles, generally with something to promote, advertise or sell directly to the consumer reading them. Not limited to any one subject matter.

Controlled circulation: Is the circulation of Print Media where publications are distributed free of charge to be used for mopping things up on the floor or handy kindling for fire lighting (just kidding, we love ALL free newspapers unconditionally).

Conversation Reach: If an unique visitor interacts with Online content and contributes to its narrative then they can be said to be engaging or taking part in a conversation. The number of visitors who contribute to the conversation makes up a page’s Conversation Reach.

CPM: The CPM (Or cost per Mille, a fancy word for 1,000 based on Roman numerals dontyaknow) is a measure and value that describes the cost of 1,000 individual impressions on an webpage. It is used when calculating the (w)AVE for Online articles.

Crisis Management: A branch of PR dealing with the handling (firefighting) of out of the ordinary events (disasters) whilst best representing a companies’ image and core values and retaining a cordial relationship with the media regardless of the levels of muck flying about. Unbelievably, that’s still quite euphemistic but I think you get the idea.

DRM (Digital Rights Management): DRM refers to access control methods used by Media and Media Monitoring companies in order to limit the usage of digital content so as to protect publishers and individual copyright holders.

Earned Media: Third party endorsement for you or your client, whether from sharing of media coverage, reviews, posts or tweets mentioning the product or service you’re trying to promote. Provided they’re complimentary, this is all good exposure.

Engagement: Where OTS measures how many people an item of media may have come into contact with, Engagement is a measure of how many of those individuals responded to the item in some way. In the context of Social Media a ‘retweet’ or ‘Facebook Like’ are easily measurable and quantifiable markers of Engagement. In the wider media it is a slightly more nebulous concept, but remains a major indicator of a successful campaign. Engaging with an audience and influencing action(s) in turn is the brass ring of any PR campaign.

Evaluation: The idea of evaluation is that of measuring the effectiveness of your media interaction. Its value, impact, scale of readership and engagement, and many other things besides. It can provide an snapshot appraisal of a particular moment in time, or an ongoing report card as to how you are performing in line with your own KPIs. It is an essential tool to guard against complacency and as useful as looking at yourself in the mirror before you leave the house in the morning to make sure you haven’t got toothpaste smeared around your chops.

Exclusive: No, I’m not going to deal with the concept of exclusivity at large. You can read about that in your own time. In the context of media, an exclusive offers first-look privileges or samples to a single, usually major outlet or individual. This allows the information, service or product to be used by them and means it won’t be shared with other outlets until they have had their say.

Feature: A feature article is one that goes into a subject in greater depth and detail than a spot report or piece of passing coverage. Ideally, you’d quite like some of these.

Frequency: In the context of Print Media, a publication’s frequency is the regularity with which new editions are released to readers. In the wider context of Media Evaluation; it deals with the number of times an audience have the potential to receive a message within a specific timeframe.

Goal: Your superobjective. Be it world domination, or making the tastiest cake known to man (which might be a handy tool en route to global domination btw). Your goal is the overall idea of what you are setting out to achieve and working towards. In this context we’re speaking in reference to PR campaigns but feel free to liberally sprinkle your everyday life with goals and see how much better it gets!

Google+: No, we’re not sure either.

Impact: Did you make a splash? Make waves? Were those waves as big as a house? How would you even know? Measuring impact is a tricky business, but it can be achieved in a number of ways and across a number of metrics. A positive front page story with a flashy photograph portraying you in a good light could be construed having a high impact for example. You are ticking the right boxes. Impact measurements in Social Media continue to evolve but tend towards engagement.

Key Message(s): An integral part of any PR campaign, Key Messages are the communication ideas which you are seeking to have endorsed and publicised by media commentators, advocates and evangelists alike. The goal is their statement and repetition as the by-line of your concept. They are, as the name suggests, the Key Messages you want to convey at the heart of your campaign.

Keywords and Keyword Searching: When you are carrying out your Media Monitoring, or having it carried out for you by an agency, Keywords are what you’re looking for to know if the article is relevant to you. Many Monitoring companies can construct very complex systems which will search based on Keywords you provide pertaining you the coverage you want located.

KPI (Key Performance Indicator): Your KPIs are your goals for any project, and they are no different in the field of PR. Not necessarily statements of your desired outcome, but instead evidence of campaign performance set against criteria that has been agreed beforehand. This can cover a vast range of metrics not limited to; visitors, enquiries since publication, sales etc.

Lead Time: The amount of time it takes to get a story from the brain to the newsstand, be it virtual or actual. The lead time covers the period from journalists or news agencies hearing about something, to the moment the story is published. Typically longer in consumer magazines (more thoughtful stories, more scheduled publications (Vogue don’t throw out an extra issue in the middle of the month just for a pair of killer heels)).

Libel: You’re an idiot. (You’re not really. Because if I said that and it turned out that it wasn’t true, that’d be libel.)

Linkedin: Pointless ‘professional’ networking tool that professes to show your best side, yet is usually embarrassingly out of date or just plain embarrassing (it’s a lose -lose; Keep it too up to date and look vain, let it slide and look lazy)… and yet it’s hugely popular. It’s a bit like the 1990′s Global Hypercolour T-shirt fad that won’t go away- you are trying your best to look good in it because everyone’s got one, but all it’s doing is amplifying your sweaty areas.

Media Evaluation Service: Once you have your assembled coverage you need to work out what to do with it. Media Evaluation firms extrapolate your coverage and draw conclusions on the information therein, determining what has sentiment, tone, reach, (w)AVE, share of voice and other useful metrics. Media Evaluation companies can help you obtain greater insight on how media and other opinion leaders are responding to yours or your client’s products and messages.

Media monitoring service: A company that compiles are media output, studying it and searching for occurrences of specific search terms for clients. Be it your client’s company name, their latest output, or a CEO who just loves the sound of their own voice, Monitoring companies can search for specific item’s appearances in the media, extract them and provide you with a collected bundle within a prior agreed timeframe.

Media relevance: The criteria that determine the relevance of a specific medium to your target audience. This can be assessed by a myriad of factors, from demographics to scope and content. It’s unlikely you’ll find adverts for ACDC on Classic FM in the same way Beethoven gets a frosty reception amongst the pantheon of Rock Gods.

Media type: Is quite simply the type of media a piece of coverage has been achieved in. Broadcast, Online, Regional, Trade, Consumer, National are the main categories however the pool remains open to expansion.

National Publication: In short, newspapers. In the UK this encompasses all those paid publications that are published nationwide (Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Mail etc)

NLA (National Licensing Agency): An organisation that represents the copyright interests of 100’s of publications throughout the UK and beyond. Predominantly covering newspapers, the NLA covers National and Regional titles. Licences are issued to monitoring companies to oversee the dissemination of their work on a limited basis in exchange for royalties.

New Visitors: The number of unique visitors who access any page on a site – via a web browser – for the first time.

Newsreader: No, not Sophie Raworth. I mean, she is, but not in this case. A Newsreader is a website or desktop tool that acts as an aggregator, gathering content from blogs and similar sites that you may have selected using feeds so you can cultivate your own news with bits and pieces that interest you. That’s right, you can filter out things about vegetables and immerse yourself in a world of carnivorous delight if you so fancy. Or whatever might work for you I suppose.

Objective: Simply put, an Objective is a measurable achievement on the path to a stated goal. An example of this might be the objective of raising one’s OTS by 5% over a six month period when working towards a goal of a 10% rise over the course of the year.

OTS (Opportunity To See): Whereas it’s likely you’re the only person reading this on your computer right now, if it were an article in a newspaper or magazine there’s a strong possibility yours wouldn’t be the only pair of eyes it passed before. As such the OTS calculation takes into account the fact that multiple individuals are likely to see the same item of printed material, be it shared in an office, the family home, that copy of the free newspaper behind your seat on the tube, or finding out the news via fish and chip wrappers.

Page views: In the realm of Online Media, Page Views is a count of the number of times a page was viewed in a given time period. No, really.

Paid circulation: Is the circulation of Print Media where readers pay for the publication.

 Placement: refers to where a story featured in the media. A contributing factor to prominence, placement is concerned with whereabouts an article falls. In print media your eye is more likely to be drawn to an article on the front page than one buried in the midst of adverts for gardening services and exotic massage (depending on your leisure pursuits I suppose). Same rule applies in broadcast media, where more important items tend to be placed at the top of the programme.

PR Jane: I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you

PR Jim: Sartorially unimpeachable, exquisitely coiffed and determined to ensure you receive an incomparable level of service for the lowest possible outlay, Jim is our standard bearer. Never short of things to say on matters of media evaluation, the only thing he enjoys more in fact is that no fewer than four public houses have tankards set aside for his exclusive use.

Press Kit: This is what you give to the media, an introductory note or package introducing them to you or your client and the product or service you have to promote. It doesn’t have to include a free sample, unless it’s cake and you’re dealing with us. In which cake it’s the law. No, honestly. The law.

Proactive PR: Proactive PR is that which involves coverage that appears as a direct result of actions undertaken to generate coverage. The culmination of a PR campaign and it’s ensuing slew of coverage is proactively sourced PR.

Prominence: Prominence refers to the level of attention a story gets in the media. Be it an organisation, brand, individual, message etc Prominece is a reflection of the attention it receives and can be measured by a number of factors such the quantity or quality of coverage  (having the first two pages dedicated to you is better than a box ad on page 83), share of voice, over all circulation or story treatment amongst others.

RAJAR: A body that oversees measuring of radio audiences in the UK.

Rate Card: In the days before multichannel media packs, and probably before multichannel was even a word- publications produced rate cards to let advertisers know the cost of advertising in that publication. They still exist today, albeit in a far more digital sense.

Reactive PR: Rather than you generating it, it arose of its own volition and journalistic initiative, whether for better or worse. Therefore this is coverage which will require you to react to it.

Readership: Remember those heady days of your youth, when you used to sway home as it was getting light and inexplicably and without fail there’d be elderly gentlemen walking their dogs with freshly bought newspapers under their arm that were so freshly printed the ink was still a bit wet? These are a paper’s readership. Folks who would rather forgo breakfast than the day’s paper, and will go out of their way to ensure one passes before their eyes at the earliest possible opportunity.

Regional Publication: A publication whose area (or scope) of release is more limited geographically. It would be odd to see the Surrey Herald reporting on events in Aberdeen, thus they stick to their own remit and patch.

Repeat Visitors: the number of unique visitors who make two or more visits to a site.

ROI (Return on Investment): (Hopefully) this is a demonstration of the fruits of your labour. A figure you can proudly take back to your client to show that their faith and funding in you was worthwhile and that you have demonstrated your skills, enhanced their profile to the widest possible audience and earned your keep. Of course, it could go the other way, but don’t talk about that.

Scope: Be it geographical or demographic, Scope is the specific reach of your media. A national story or campaign will have a national scope. If you’re trying to win fans for a duck overpass in Devon, it’s unlikely you’ll muster much support from the notoriously duck-hating public of Berwick-Upon-Tweed, so you’d want a more regional scope to your campaign.

Share of voice: An organisation’s Share of Voice is their share of media attention in the total coverage of a product, issue, industry, cause etc. It’s useful information when compiling competitive media analysis.

Sentiment: Usually measured as Positive, Negative or Neutral, it is another metric that allows you to gain a greater perspective on the quality of your coverage. This is a metric we use to quantify and illustrate perceptions and reactions an audience might have about an article based on the characteristic and quality of a Stakeholder’s coverage.

Social Media: Made up on an inestimable and exponential number of Websites, inviting users to take advantage of Online open source software in order to communicate everything from their latest running route to their favourite type of bunting, Social Media is a term which covers the myriad of services accepting user-generated content under the guise of fostering greater social interaction. This ever-growing list includes Twitter (and its local derivants), Facebook, Flickr and YouTube to name but a few.

Soundbite: A brief quote or excerpt from and article, used in order to convey a certain idea or opinion.

Spin: Typically a pejorative term signifying a heavily biased media portrayal in one’s own interest and favour of an event or situation. It often implies disingenuous, deceptive and manipulative tactics at play. There are lighter, more diet types of spin, but it is seen as a negative force in modern media.

Spokesperson: An expert source willing to comment on a timely issue, or a company appointed individual who speaks on matters pertaining to an campaign or issue.

Stakeholder: A party who affects, or can be affected by, a company’s actions and in turn press coverage.

Story size/length: Not to teach anyone’s Grandmother to suck eggs, but this is the space a story occupies in its relevant media type. Got 400 words in Le Monde? Well done you, that’s your story size. Did your product get 1 minute 34 seconds on BBC Look East? Bravo…you get the idea. Right?

Story treatment: Whether a one off cover story, a story that develops day by day, or one that earns multiple mentions, commentary and pictures in an issue- Story Treatment is how something is presented in the media.

Syndicate: A news service that takes a single story and places it on several websites or in several broadcast and print outlets nation/world-wide is syndicating that article. Some Media corporations you  may have noticed just have more strings to their bow (but only with friendly and upstanding intentions, or so I’m led to believe). An example would be Fox in America, who have syndicate TV and Radio stations right across the country who will broadcast the same story with a different face several hundred times.

Tonality / Tonal Scoring: Tonal analysis strives to capture the intersection between sentiment and influence and apply a relative score to it, as opposed to sentiment which is limited in its palette to classing articles as positive, negative or neutral.

Traction: If you are gathering or getting traction with a media organisation then they are pestering you with interest and informed requests for further information. The term denotes the interest in you or your client from a media outlet or the media in general.

Trade Publication: Publications that are specific to a certain trade or sector. Where airline enthusiasts might read Airliner Monthly (Consumer), people who build airline wings from a myriad of incredibly complex materials will scourComposite Materials Quarterly (Trade) to stay ahead of the curve in the fast changing landscape or possible wing advances.

Traffic sources: How visitors get to a site or page on a site. They may arrive directly or through a referring site or search engine.

Unique Visits: Refers to the number of unique visitors to access a webpage or site in a given period. Maybe they took a wrong turn, or typed a wrong address. It happens. Apparently histories up and down the land are full of wrong turns.

Viral Campaign: Nothing to do with Ebola. A viral campaign is a communications campaign designed to exploit the potential of the internet to spread messages rapidly. In turn the audience is encouraged to pass on the message and spread the momentum of dissemination. A bit like a virus.

Visit Duration: The length of time a unique user spends on one particular page or site, whether they mean to be there or not.