Your code cracking guide to digital PR jargon

Eddie Absolutely Fabulous is not how digital pr works

PR in the digital age can feel utterly baffling to outsiders. If you thought achieving hard copy coverage was a mystical art 10 years ago, the quest for an increased digital footprint could now be seen as more akin to the Dark Arts.

Now that print publications are folding left, right and centre as readers move towards digital consumption, the focus has shifted. No longer is being written about in a broadsheet the most valuable piece of coverage you can achieve (unless of course that’s purely where your audience hangs out). 

Today it’s also about the longevity of online content and the lifetime value of ‘link juice’. That is, being written about online by a respected digital publication that links to your website as part of the feature. 

To help you wade through the wizardry, we’ve compiled the following list of PR jargon to help demystify the digital PR beast. 

If you’re about to take the leap and employ an agency or a freelancer to raise your profile and increase your Google ranking, you’re going to need to know what they’re talking about!

At Coconut we leave the tech talk to the backend team and only talk to real life humans in well, English.

What is PR?

Whether it is digital or print coverage that you seek for your business, PR is about getting your brand seen in a positive light. It’s about building a reputation and an awareness of your brand with your target customer via the media that they read (and the journalists who write for them). The aim being to persuade people to invest in your product or service.

The art of persuasion and the power of relationship building

It’s really got very little to do with Absolutely Fabulous. PR for products, brands, venues, government organisations and charities is about managing the relationship between the organisation and its public (paying or not). 

The goal of all PR is to build, spread and maintain a positive image of the organisation. It’s persuading (not paying) a third party - usually a journalist - to talk about your product in a positive light.

What’s the difference between PR and advertising?

PR differs from advertising because, as its name suggests it’s about relations with the public (first with the journalist and publication, then with the readers). These relationships result in editorial coverage, i.e. endorsement by the journalist and publication that your product or service is worth a look. 

Unlike advertising, PR is not about buying space in a publication and promoting your offering in your own words. And although because you don’t ‘pay’ for PR, nothing is guaranteed, the end result can be more worthwhile than a paid for advertisement because your audience is hearing a trusted third party opinion. 

In short:

  • Advertising = you trying to convince everyone you’re brilliant.

  • PR = someone else suggesting you’re worth a gander.

  • Which would you respond more positively to?

Seven basic elements of a PR campaign

  1. Hook.

    • Why is this interesting to anyone outside your organisation?

    • Does it have a hope of competing with other stories being sold in to journalists that day?

    • The ‘so what’ factor is something we discuss every day. Be brutally honest…

  2. Brief.

    • How you explain your business, your brand story, needs, strategy and objectives to your agency or freelancer will dictate everything that follows. We can help you with this.

  3. Copywriting.

    • The written words that convey your message, whether that message is published on a website, press release, advertisement or social media channel.

    • Most PRs have the writing knack as a pre-requisite skill, but occasionally a skilled copywriter may be drafted in to squeeze maximum value out of each word.

  4. Pitch or sell-in.

    • The outline of the story to a journalist aimed at persuading them to write about you.

  5. Press release or media alert.

    • Typically delivered via email these days, it’s a compelling and engaging telling of your story or news.

    • It tells the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the news you’re sharing.

    • The subject line has to be persuasive enough to cut through the hundreds of emails received by journalists every day.

    • Depending on your line of business, it could follow a formal press release format or be a more informal email update to your best media contacts.

  6. Press kit.

    • Includes company description, timeline, who’s who, photos, contact details, social media accounts, etc.

    • Part of your press office armoury, ready to whip out at a moment’s notice.

  7. Coverage.

    • This is the holy grail: articles written by journalists that encourage people to do business with your business by including it in the feature 

Let’s bust some PR jargon

What’s the difference between circulation and readership?

  • Circulation: how many print copies are sold or distributed 

  • Readership: total number of readers including those who read it second-hand

  • Then there are digital terms to get your head around too:

  • Reach: how many individuals or households have the opportunity to read your advertising messages during a set time. 

  • Unique users: also known as unique visitors, or simply ‘uniques’. This is the number of unique individuals who access a webpage. If they return to the same page within a set time frame, it only counts as one visit.

What are channels?

  • Broadcast: TV, radio

  • Print: newspapers, magazines, journals, supplements

  • Digital: websites, podcasts, video, social media 

What’s the difference between B2B and B2C?

  • B2B: business to business. Businesses selling their products and services to other businesses

  • B2C: business to consumer. Businesses selling their products and services to consumers

What do digital PR terms mean?

  • Content: the words, design and images or video created

  • Content marketing: creating and providing useful, unique and interesting content that other people or businesses value in order to build an audience that trusts you. 

  • Google ranking: how high up the Google page or pages you appear when someone searches for products and services that you offer. 

  • Conversion rate: how many of your viewers or readers actually become customers as a result of a campaign or PR coverage.

  • Click through rate: how many customers click on a link in a newsletter to reach your desired page.

  • Cost per thousand (CPM): how much it costs to reach 1000 people during an ad campaign. This is measured by impressions (or appearances) on the screen rather than per click or registration.

  • ROI: return on investment - how much is gained or lost as compared to the investment in the campaign.

So if you’re teetering on the brink of PR or you’re ready to dive right in, call us for a no-pressure chat. We’re about as far from Edina and Patsy as you can get (although we don’t mind the odd sip of Bolly!).