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By Alexa Grunder, Marketing Coordinator

Since joining the PR industry about six months ago, I noticed an abundance of terms being constantly tossed around in conversations, most of which I had little to no prior knowledge of. It can be overwhelming to keep up if you are new to the world of public relations, whether it be for your own organization or on the agency side. By building an understanding of the most fundamental elements, one will have a solid framework to gain further insight into the way that PR works. Here are 5 terms that anyone new to public relations should know – as told by a PR newbie.

1. Earned Media

Earned media is the media coverage that public relations professionals work so hard to achieve. Many may know this term as “publicity.” PR professionals go through a lot of prep work to secure earned media – from researching unique topics, to pitching the idea to a reporter, to getting them in touch with experts to interview. Since the brand, product or service mentioned isn’t paid for, it’s considered a third party validation and serves as credibility among readers. There are many kinds of outlets that one can be featured in. Traditional outlets include newspapers, radio, and TV while podcasts, online news outlets, blogs, and social media make up the ever-changing digital landscape.

2. Owned Media

Owned media consists of the content that is owned by the company, but in the world of PR it’s the content that you create on behalf of your clients. This may include case studies, whitepapers and blogs that are shared on the website or contributed content that is written on behalf of a company expert and then pitched to media. Owned media is used to support marketing efforts and is a source of lead generation, but it also strengthens your clients position as a thought leader in the industry.

3. Pitch

You will hear this word multiple times a day. Pitching really is the backbone of PR. A pitch is a short abstract that summarizes the idea that a PR pro has. There is usually an element of timeliness to the pitch and there should be a distinct benefit for the intended audience. Nowadays, pitches are sent via email and are highly personalized to capture the interest of that particular reporter and outlet. There are many pitching best practices, but having a strong subject line and call to action can improve a pitch’s chances of being noticed.

4. Media List

A media list is how PR pros decide which reporters to send a pitch to. The list usually includes reporters, editors, bloggers, and freelance writers across various news outlets. Building a media list can be a tedious process, as you want to be selective about the individuals that you add. It is so important that you add the right contacts, as it can make or break the pitching process. Without a good media list the chances of getting interest are slim. Make sure to do your homework and ensure that the reporter’s beat aligns with the product or service that you are trying to promote.  

5. UVM

UVM stands for “unique visitors per month.” This is the number of visitors to a website or outlet during any given month. It is a common metric used by PR professionals to measure impressions or the number of views that a particular piece of media coverage achieved. A UVM can be identified by using a media monitoring platform or by looking at the outlet’s media kit. The UVM is important for reporting purposes and can be used to calculate ROI, or return on investment.

For all of the PR newbies out there, this list can serve as a starting point to learn “PR speak.” Good luck as you enter the PR world and don’t be afraid to do a quick Google search or ask a PR professional to explain unfamiliar terminology.