The Ultimate Glossary of Terms About Public Relations

We provide a comprehensive glossary of standard PR terms and trending PR buzzwords.


Public Relations

Public Relations, or "PR" for short, encompasses all activities designed to increase awareness and generate a favorable opinion of a company, brand, product, or individual.

A PR consultant or publicist uses a variety of PR tools to reach, connect with and persuade an audience. The most popular tools are press releases, press events, press trips, brand ambassadors, sponsorships, giveaways, and partnerships. Media and influencer relationships are vital cornerstones of PR as they allow for increased reach through a third party's audience.

Press Release

A press release is an information document and the standard way to introduce your story or brand to journalists. The text follows a general form, from most essential to nice-to-have information. A headline stating your news angle should be followed by a summary. Further paragraphs provide in-depth information from most to least important downwards, including founder quotes. A boilerplate finalizes the press release.

Press releases are for distribution to your target media outlets. The press release is part of a press kit, which also includes images for use by journalists.



Brand Messaging

Brand messaging is the foundation for consistency in your communications, ultimately leading to your brand positioning. Your PR professional will work with you to define the brand messages based on your brand's values, mission, vision, and competitive differentiation.

These key messages are separate from a catchy claim or slogan but are the essential benefits that set you apart from other startups. The brand messages are designed to be repeated across all channels, whether on the website, in marketing copy, or in interviews.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is the strategic task of profoundly understanding your industry, competitors, and trends to see where you can occupy a niche based on your brand's benefits to customers. The goal is to be perceived by consumers as favorable, different, and credible in a category that is not yet fully occupied.

A PR professional will develop communications based on this positioning strategy, reinforcing your brand's differentiating qualities in the media and creating an emotional connection with prospects and customers across all communications channels.



Thought Leadership

Entrepreneurs benefit from thought leadership in their areas of expertise. A thought leader steps forward under their name to become recognized as a go-to resource in their field and raise awareness for their business by being mentioned as a source in the media. Thought leaders regularly use social media such as LinkedIn to comment on industry news.

PR professionals can help you build an audience by publishing articles and providing expert commentary with bylines in special interest media or pitching you as a speaker at industry events.

Brand Ambassador

Brand ambassadorship involves a paid engagement with an individual who embodies your brand's values. Lifestyle brands, in particular, benefit from brand ambassador engagements, where they agree to a certain level of activity to create reach within the brand ambassador's audience.

Ambassadors can create word-of-mouth marketing, which is known to be the most effective way to generate business. Activities include endorsing your brand on their social channels, being a testimonial for PR materials, and being present at brand events.



Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty focuses on the consumer's decision to use a particular company or purchase a particular product/service repeatedly rather than using other companies or products. As a result, it is widely regarded as a key determinant of a company's profitability.

Retaining customers is less expensive than acquiring new ones. PR focuses on community management along the customer journey as the most cost-effective way to drive customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.

White Paper

A white paper is an in-depth report on a specific topic used as a growth tool by B2B companies/startups. It is based on the publishing company's expertise, research, and data.

Whereas marketers use it for inbound strategies, often requiring registration via an email address on a landing page with consent to be contacted to download the white paper with its valuable information, PR professionals partner with special interest media to publish the white paper and reach their readers.



Case Study

A go-to marketing and PR tool for B2B startups, a case study describes a specific use case of their company's product with a problem-solution approach. Each case study references a past customer or project, either by name (permission required) or by describing the customer, e.g., "Fortune 500 company in the financial industry". Case studies contain hard facts, including numbers of results.

PR professionals publish case studies on relevant platforms and distribute them to analysts and special interest media for publication.

Audience Engagement

Audience Engagement describes the activity of trying to engage with a brand's community. It is a form of public relations that invites consumers to participate in, share, and influence the messages behind your brand.

Publicists and creatives build campaigns around trending topics that are interactive and easy for consumers to share. Audience engagement must be understood as an ongoing conversation shaped daily by audiences and popular culture alike.




Companies include a boilerplate at the bottom of their press releases. A boilerplate is a template that introduces the essential facts about your company or startup, usually in 2 small paragraphs.

A boilerplate provides journalists with selected facts and figures, such as the founding date, founders' names, overall mission or vision, office location, number of employees, awards, accomplishments, and partnerships.

Earned Media

Earned media, also called publicity, is a term used to describe press placements that were secured through press release outreach and pitching by a PR professional to the media. It's any coverage about you or your business you didn't pay for or created yourself.

This type of exposure is much more valuable than paid media (including sponsored articles and ads) since it provides credibility from a journalist and their media outlet to endorse you. Earned media is considered the main goal to achieve in PR.