Eight PR Terms You Should Know But Only Vaguely Understand

On background can serve as a helpful means of engaging with the media when a source prefers to preserve his or her anonymity, but still wants certain information broadcasted. Generally, sources who speak on background cannot be directly quoted.

Not for attribution

On the spectrum between on-record and off-record, not for attribution[1] is closer to the on-record side of things. When speaking not-for-attribution, a source provides the media with information that can be used and quoted, but only attributed to a general, mostly anonymous source–i.e. “a rival company,” “a person familiar with the deal,” or “a New York venture capitalist.” Sources and reporters generally agree upon the exact phrasing of the attribution beforehand.

Similar to speaking on background, not for attribution helps to preserve a source’s anonymity, while allowing him or her to work with a reporter and publicize information that may drive their own goals.

Media List

Pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a list of the media relevant to your company, news story or campaign–the journalists whom you think might want to write about you. It’s an essential part of most PR efforts.

Developing a good media list, one that’s composed of people who might actually care about your story, takes more time and expertise than you might think. It ensures that you’re not wasting your time, or worse, pissing off journalists who will mark your pitch as spam.

Press Release

You probably know what a press releases is. They look like this[2].

What you might not know is that there are several “wire” services that you can pay to deliver these things to the media. PRNewswire has the broadest reach–and hence the biggest price tag–but others include PRWeb and Business Wire.

Unless you’re a huge company whose every move is watched by the media, press releases alone will rarely get you press. But they will help with SEO, and sometimes they’re used simply to document an important event in a company’s life.

Press releases serve four other critical roles in my opinion.

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