Above The Line: Everything that's not Below The Line. Obviously. Jeeez, get with the programme.
Account: That's you. Yes. It is. As soon as you enter the PR system you are stripped butt-naked of your own individuality. You are now an Account, darling. Congratulations!
Account Director: Senior PR person. Forget them. You will have no contact with them. They do not know who you are. If you make a big enough fuss they will ring you while they're at the hairdressers or if you're very lucky, while on an exercise bike at the gym.
Account Executive: Also see: PR Girlie. First rung of the PR ladder. Makes tea; has nails done in lunch hour. Spells your name wrong on emails.
Account Manager: This is the PR person who deals with you, darling. Be gentle, they've wasted 15 years of their life clawing their way up from Account Executive.
Advertorial: You pay. They print.
Affect and Effect: You can affect your income by getting a better job. You cannot effect it. You can have an effect on it however by affecting a change, the effect of which will be to affect the cash in your back pocket. Geddit?
Angle: This is the slant, often a lie, on something you've done or achieved.
Ansoff Matrix: A graph thing invented by some poor Russian bloke. He was a great mathematician who discovered the concept of environmental turbulence. Very important. But no one gives a damn about that because he also invented this small, simple product-market growth matrix for PR people - and hey, that's where the money is.
App: Application. A lightweight piece of downloadable software that offers a quick way to do things or access information on mobiles and tablets. All those little square boxes on the home screen of your iPhone. Oh, you've only got Angry Birds? Oh, OK. *swivels eyes*
Apostrophe: This is like a comma but hangs in the air, unsupported. It is a vital addition to any sentence. But you need to know when to add it and when not to add it. Without it you are a business that knows its shit. With it, you are business that knows it's shit.
Astroturfing: Great name for despicable behaviour. Planting people to pose in the online and offline world as real 'grassroots' folks to affect public opinion, e.g. letter-writing: making it seem like the letters came from normal people when really they came from an 'insider'. Sometimes done for nasty, devious political reasons. And in PR.
Audit: A process that establishes how crap you or your systems are right now. Usually done so that someone can charge hard, cold cash to 'put it right'.
Avatar: The picture you use to represent yourself online. Many avatars don't look like the person who is operating the account. If it looks like Marilyn Monroe, it is not a real photograph of @sandra87lol and may well be a 45-year old brick layer from Swindon.
B2B: Business to Business. Do you sell knickers from a shop in the high street? No? Do you manufacture said knickers and sell them to the shop in the high street? Yes? Well, that's you.
B2C: Business to Consumer. You are THAT knicker shop.
Behavioural Economics: Why people buy shit.
Below The Line: Generally, all advertising that is not Above The Line - i.e. not mass media TV or national radio. Don't worry about it. It's meaningless.
Big: This is not small. If your story is small you might get it in Funeral World - which will be good if you're an award-winning undertaker. If it's big, it may end up on BBC news.
Blogs / Blogging / Blogger: In the early days, a mad, under-occupied fanatic who expressed themselves by writing their every waking thought or opinion online. Now a respected source of TV news talking-head guests. And mad fanatics.
Bot: Short for robot. In social media environments usually operated by sad, deranged people. Easy to spot. They Tweet bollocks all day and all night, without rest.
Brand: Branding. Brand Visibility. Brand Architecture. Brand Loyalty. Brand Language. Was once just your logo. Is now everything from the design of your website, the type of pants your employees wear and the font used on page 62 of your Annual Report. FFS.
Brand Advocate: Someone who loves your company so much they spend their entire life telling other people about it. An obsessive, high-maintenance, but highly useful, verbal stalker.
Brief: The thing your PR person writes to instruct a supplier of a service or sometimes a journalist. Usually badly written with vast scope for the supplier or journo to balls-up, so that PR person can blame them in the future.
Briefing: This is different. This is what you give to Ministers so they don't make a dick of themselves when they stand up in the House - doesn't always work.
Buzz: This is the thing your PR person is searching for - a buzz, to build up a buzz and excitement about you and your product. Can't be measured. But you can feel it can't you darling?
By-Line: This is the thing spotty student journalists wet their beds over. Your name (no, not in lights - be serious) underneath something you've written in a newspaper or magazine.
Capital letters: These are the big ones which appear in a sentence right at the beginning. They are often in other places too. Unless you are e e cummings (which you are not) then they are a required part of a sentence.
Carousel: The scrolly bar thing at the top of some websites. See a damn fine example here: www.ceo-pr.com
Challenger Brand: A business that has more ideas than cash. Or a brand no normal PR company understands. Sometimes led by mad people. Sometimes by geniuses. Sometimes both.
Client: That's you. It's also the way PR people talk. Once you're in their clutches you lose your actual name: Client is on the phone. Tell Client that I'll speak to him later. God, Client is being a prat today. etc. etc.
Client List: A list of lots of their Clients - they probably have names but the word CLIENT is always bigger on the page.
Clippings: Old hat these days. Basically the bits of the print newspaper or mag in which you're featured. These are sent by clippings' firms to PR companies so they can justify their charges - or not. Watch out for this one.
Collateral: A personal favourite here at Right Angles. A ridiculous, annoying word that up-themselves PR & Marketing companies (& designers too - there's no escape boys!) use to describe printed material. Yes. It's true.
Column inches: A complete rip off. A widely used and outrageous way of charging a Client extra for the actual, measured amount of space in inches a story gets in a newspaper.
Commas: These are the little things that hang down below the line in a sentence. They are the difference between 'Helping my Uncle Jack, off a horse' and 'Helping my Uncle Jack off a horse'. Or the difference between 'Let's eat, Grandma' and cannibalism.
Communications audit: This involves a PR person interviewing all your staff about life, the universe and everything. Personally, I'd just close the company now while you still have time.
Compound adjectives: These descriptions have a dash between them. E.g. dry-stone wall; day-to-day planning; four-page document; red-light district. But if there's a 'ly' at the end, they don't. E.g. Wholly owned subsidiary or irritatingly annoying prat.
Contingency Plan: This is what a PR company will tell you to follow when the shit hits the fan. Can be contained in a Crisis Management Plan. But if you've gone through Crisis and hit Contingency then you might as well throw the towel in anyway.
Conversion Rate: Refers to website traffic. The amount of visits divided by number of times you get a sale. You see, there's a formula for everything these days. But as most PR people can't count it's a bit useless really.
Copy: The words. All of them.
Copywriter: The professional expert who writes the words.
Copywriting: A specialism that cannot be done effectively by Julie in Accounts just because she's got an English degree.
Corporate Image: This is what you want them to think about you. Probably not true, but hey!
Crisis Management: Getting you out of the crap. Or rather, developing and writing a plan to help you avoid getting in the crap in the first place.
Crowdsourcing: Using hundreds of people you don't employ, or pay, to make you money. Or, using many people to speed up a process or find a solution. Free labour! Kerching!
CRM: Customer Relationship Management. In marketing, the way businesses find, relate to and deal with their customers and their overall satisfaction using software. Not rocket science. But will be cheaper to build your own rocket.
Demographics: Word bandied about by PR people who want you to think that they know a bit about statistics. Often, in the singular, accompanied by the word 'Change'. Or a way of pigeonholing your customers: 'Ah, yes. They seem to be mostly C2 &3 & D1&2. Poor boy. Not much cash down there. Henry, show Client out will you darling?'
Direct Mail: Leaflets or letters sent direct to existing or current customers. You know, the crap you rip up and put in the bin every morning. Except if it's got something you want in it, like a free pen.
Editorial: They print. You don't pay.
Editor's Notes: aka: Notes to Editors or Notes to God. Paragraph or two on the bottom of a press release giving company info that PR people put on the release in the hope the journalist will a) get that far b) read it c) give a damn.
Elephant Trap: The things you and politicians need to avoid falling into. Part of a briefing document giving the things to say when you get close to a trap, so you can teeter on the edge and still look reasonably fashionable.
Embargo: Serious way of saying: If you print this before 12.00 we send the boys round. Usually political things like reports, white papers etc.
Engagement: Customer, Brand or Online. How many people appear to give a shit about you or your company. Measured, not always entirely successfully, by the amount of messages, responses or interactions you get.
Exclusive: Usually a deal made between a PR person and a newspaper/journalist. You print it big. You get it. You print it small. We give it to someone else. Nar, nar, na, nar, na!
Executive Summary: Part at the beginning of a report, which condenses 42 zillion pages into two paragraphs because Executives are busy people you know.
Exposure: That's how much of you, as an entity, your PR person can flog to the press before you keel over with exhaustion or the press discover you're boring really. Or the amount of times in a given period that you are mentioned and to what degree.
Facebook: The world's largest social network. Also, the world's largest IPO disaster. Mainly a place where people try to avoid the saddos they went to school with while 'poking' people and trying to stop their personal information from being data mined. Not always the best place to do business.
Fact Sheet: A sheet full of Facts. They may not always, strictly speaking be, in the common understanding of the word, Facts. But..then. No one ever checks.
FAIL: Also, Epic FAIL. Online way of saying a mistake was made. Usually an embarrassing or amusing mistake. Businesses and governments often make FAILS. But they never say: 'Oh what an #EpicFail we made today'. But give it five years and they will be using it in interviews. Mark my words.
Feature Article: An in-depth article. Your PR person will do anything, oh yes, ANYTHING, for one of these.
Flack: Rude. Think Hack. Then....! Or what journalists think of PR people: In-coming Flack - potentially serious but generally harmless things that need to be avoided.
Flickr: Online community where people display their photos so that bloggers can nick them.
FFS: For F@*K's Sake. Expression of exasperation.
FML: F@*K My Life. Often self-deprecating, accompanies a message or Tweet which relays how banal or difficult a person's life has become. e.g. Waitrose has run out of focaccia. #fml
Follow-up: This is the secret fear of all PR people. The Follow-Up Call. Once a press release is sent to a journalist, the PR person then has to ring the journo. Nightmare. Nightmare. Nightmare.
Foursquare: Location-based social network. You log in and everyone can track your movements - even in SoHo. They can see if you're in the Pink Parisienne, the Purple Pocket and, if I remember rightly, Water World! Yes...EVEN in THERE!
Full stop: That's the little round dot thing at the end of a sentence. Unless you are James Joyce (which you are not), please use them.
Friends Reunited: *sigh* The founders are millionaires lying on a beach somewhere. That's all you need to know.
Gate Keeper: Like a goalkeeper but older. Keeps what he perceives to be crap stories out of the beloved newspaper that he has been working at for 200 years.
Generation X: If, to you, this means the band formed by Billy Idol, then you are it.
Generation Y: People who do not remember a time before personal computers or DVD players. A person who can text at 80 words per second & has never heard of Billy Idol. If you don't know who he is, check out The Wedding Singer. He plays himself and god, doesn't he look old.
Generation Z: Babies.
Going Public: Whispered in hushed tones and greeted with all round quivering. Means a PR person a) hasn't done their job AND been found out because the press are about to print something not very nice and b) the PR person now has to do some Crisis Management which is a specialism most of them don't really have. BAD NEWS!
Grammar Nazi: a.k.a. Paul W R Blanchard. Q: What do you say when comforting a Grammar Nazi? A: There, Their, They're.
Green News: News that's gone a bit stale
Hashtag: Words run together and proceeded by the hash (#) symbol. A way of denoting that a message is a contribution to a collective series on the same topic. Best example of use can be found on Twitter - e.g. #London2012 #OccupyWallStreet #justinbieberisamassivearsehole
Old Hack: Fleet Street Tabloid Journalist
Drunken Old Hack: Entertaining Fleet Street Tabloid Journalist
Headline: Well, durrrr...
Hard News: Hard news is more important than Soft News. Hard news is the thing that knocks your story off the front page. Murder, death, disaster, destruction, acts of God etc.
Integrated: These days, everything is Integrated. If it's not Integrated, it's pants.
Inverted Pyramid: All the big important vital news or details at the top of a newspaper, press release or news broadcast, tailing off to St Winifred's Jumble Sale Shock at the bottom.
Insight: Used to be called research and/or analysis. But those words are now way too last week, darling.
It is: It is can be abbreviated to read: It's. It cannot be abbreviated to read: Its. 'Its' (without the apostrophe) is a possessive pronoun. Do not use an apostrophe at the end - there is no such word as: Its'. Get with the programme.
Jammy Bastard: PR person who is not only good at their job but is nice too. These people are rare and very sought-after, hence high-salary, lots of money, hence Jammy Bastard.
Key Influencers: The people who matter. It must be just awful to be one of these people. Every time they open their front door there are hordes of PR people drooling, quivering and fondling outside.
Lead Story: Big story at top of page or news programme. The annals of PR history are riddled with tales of murder, fraud and horses heads left in the quest to bag a lead story. Easily displaced by Hard News Lead Story.
Lead Time: This is how long your PR company has got to run around like headless chickens before your event happens. Usually an excuse for them to tell everyone how stressed they are and how they've had to cancel their trip to Val d'Isere. Poor dear Hortensia's nanny is just sooooooo disappointed darling.
Leak: This is why you shouldn't really have any important secrets. You know the ones - those secrets that make you blush or get palpitations. Or resign.
Leetspeak: Online way of writing that involves the use of numbers, symbols, hyphens and purposeful misspellings or letter substitution. e.g. C u 2mrw = See You Tomorrow; hax0r = Hacker. Originally designed to keep messages private, to get round automated moderation in online games or fit messages into 140 characters for Twitter. Now mostly used by teenagers to piss off their parents.
Less or fewer: Less is indefinable e.g. Less traffic on the M62. Fewer is when you have a number - e.g. fewer than 250 cars. Obviously, this only works if you can count.
Libel: Libel is written. Slander is spoken.
Like: Function used in Facebook. Clicking a button as a way of indicating your approval of any business, product, person, group or message. Yes. That's it. It means and delivers nothing. Nothing at all. 'Likes' do not equal cash. Unless you think they do, and you're prepared to pay us the cash to get them for you.
LinkedIn: Online business community. Place to lie about your CV. You did, right? No?! Really! It's all true?! OMG.
Lobby: Lobbying or Lobbyist. PR person who is paid to grovel, beg, arse lick, bribe, threaten, bombard or just be really nice and persuade, in order to influence a government organisation, politician or aide to effect changes to existing legislation.
LOL: Lots of Love...NOT. Lolololololol! DC really can be an arse.
Logo: The picture on your stationery. Yeah - that one. The one with the colours - or is it black and white? Cheapskate.
Market Share: How much business you've managed to beg, borrow, steal or claw off your competition, legally or illegally.
Marketing: So what is the difference between PR and Marketing then? Answers on a post card to Right Angles.
Mass Medium: TV or Radio or Internet or Films - anything that can communicate something to millions of people at once.
MediaDisk: This is a PR prop which lists contact details of journos. Most names are fake or the journo died in 1987. No one who matters is on there. No one.
Meme: Like Zeitgeist but faster. Equally as difficult to pronounce. Usually a video, graphic or website that spreads very quickly online and usually dies in days leaving behind a collective ideological hangover. WTF were we talking about yesterday? See: Parodies.
Message: This is what you want to say. As opposed to what you don't want to say. Eg. You want to say: My business makes ace widgets. They print: This business makes crap widgets. That's what's called: off-message.
Mileage: This is how far your story will run. Not literally, obviously. It's either how many times your PR company can re-hash it and try to flog it to an unsuspecting journalist or how 'big' the story will go.
Mumsnet: Online community where mainly middle-class mothers congregate. Beware. Abandon hope all ye who enter here. Danger lies within. *cue bloodcurdling Hammer Horror-style screaming*
Myspace: Forget it, you're too old. Or a paedophile. Either way you're too old.
New Media: Out-of-date way of describing the online world and online communications. Any PR company who says: 'Oh yes, we know ALL about New Media, darling', should be avoided. They know NOTHING.
News conference: Worst nightmare - but rare for your average PR company. Usually in response to something very, very serious.
News Release: Aka: Press or Media Release. The document sent to journalists to tell them about a story. Difficult to write. Hard to get right. Usually ignored anyway.
Noise: Lots of mixed-messages. Too much 'noise' means your PR company has messed up big time.
OMG: Oh My God. Also, OMFG: Oh My Fu...well, you don't need me to spell it out, do you?
Online Community: The people who are active members of your forum, online game, website etc. The people that have given you their details, have paid you (if required) and play nice. Basically, the saddos who visit your site in their spare time.
Opinion: This is what PR and Marketing companies spend your money on either trying to change or trying to find out what it is and then trying to change.
Overlap: People who used to get TV from their own region and next door's too. Oh lucky them. Harry the Hedgehog Crossed the Road twice.
PageRank: A complex formula which is one of the factors in where your website ends up being returned in a Google search. Named after its creator Larry Page. Yes, it is. Let's not argue.
Parodies: e.g. Hitler Downfall: Best known of viral memes. Clip from the classic film, Downfall, in which people substitute their own words to make light of a current hot topic. The results can be seen on YouTube. Or not, because the film company keep removing them. Bad move. Bad PR move.
Pass-along Rate: Poncy way of saying this newspaper is passed around and how many times. I mean. God. How do you analyse that?
Paywall: The way newspapers or magazines monetize their online presence. You pay, you get past the wall. If you can be bothered.
Personal Reputation Management (PRM): Aka: Personal Branding (PB) or Online identity management (OIM). Silly way of describing personal online PR. You know PR people, they just love to invent new acronyms. Sad gits.
Photo Call: This is what desperate PR agencies arrange when you haven't really got a proper story. Or. Sometimes when you have got a story. Same difference. They're still an excruciatingly embarrassing way to try to dictate to journalists.
Pink News: Gay news or Red News that's got a bit soggy.
PMSL: Pissing Myself Laughing.
Pitch: What a PR agency does to you if you ask them to tender. It's all lies. Or what a PR agency does to a journalist to try to get you in the press.
Podcast: A video, or a series of videos, of a person (sometimes a mad fanatic) talking about what they're passionate about. Or an instructional short online film - sometimes by a mad fanatic.
Post: Noun or verb. A long online message or article written for general consumption and viewable by all of humanity with an internet connection - they hope. e.g. Blog Post. Posts vary in quality and relevance. Many serve no obvious purpose.
Press Pack: Lots of superfluous paper detailing your company stapled together and handed to a journalist so he can wipe his nose on it at a photo call or download it from your website and wipe his nose on it when he's back at the office.
Press Release: Aka. News Release or Media Release. The document sent to the press, radio or TV to tell them about your story. Like they care.
PR Girlie: This is a generic form of PR person. Usually has clipped Southern accent, fewer brain cells than most cats and 20 years ago would have been working on the beauty counter in Boots. Ah, but the advent of PR changed all that. Can usually be identified by the size of the files emailed to you. She's the one that tries to email you a 15 meg file at 5.15pm on Friday afternoon, and then wonders why you haven't received it - you know the ones.
PR MD: This is the man or woman you meet when you run a pitch or do interviews to hire a new PR company. Enjoy their company while you can. You will NEVER see this person again.
Q&A: Document setting out the Question and the Answer. When accompanied by the word 'Briefing' becomes the things a Minister has in that folder - you know the one - where the Honourable Member for South Bottom-Sneeth asks him what he's doing about car vandalism in Little Whallop & he goes off on a tangent and says car vandalism in the UK has been reduced by 57.3% in the last two years. You didn't really think he remembered all that crap did you?
Reach: That's how many people your PR company can bribe to say they've heard of you because of the fantastic job the PR is doing. Or can be just an ill-educated guess as to how many people might, at some time, ever, be interested in what you do or sell.
Readership: Loyal bunch. Sometimes used to defend rogue journalism.
Red News: News that your PR person thinks needs suppressing. Probably doesn't but they can't decide so they're going to keep it quiet anyway.
ROI: Return on Investment. Complex formula which includes how much the PR firm has managed to sting you for, minus the cost of their hair extensions, times the champagne budget divided by the amount of times you've been in the papers.
ROFL: Rolling On the Floor Laughing. Sometimes, ROFLMAO: Rolling On the Floor Laughing My Ass Off or LMAO...anyway, you get the picture.
SEO: Search Engine Optimisation. A generic term covering techniques that improve the visibility or rank of a website. Can include website design, coding, keywording, inbound links etc. Can also be Black Hat & White Hat. But we don't have time for that right now.
SERP: Search Engine Results Page. This is what you see when you do a search on Google or other search engines. Also, SERP Rank. This is where your website lands on the page. Influenced by many, many different factors. And we definitely don't have time for that either. See SEO.
Social Graph: The people you are connected to in social networks. The way Facebook and others cross sell you things that your mates have bought. Also known as: 'providing you with a richer online experience' or 'selling you shit you don't really want'.
Social Media: Generic term for all sites on the net that provide environments where humans can interact on a large scale. Including Social Networks, Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs), Virtual Worlds, Forums, Chat rooms, Blogs, Image sharing sites etc. In fact, anywhere where under-employed, egotistical writers, creatives, celebs, PR people and small children hang out online.
Social Network: Social Networking. The organised places where people interact online - sometimes based on a theme eg. Dating, Health, Parenting. The places where people make friends, find support and connections and, well...network. Also the place where businesses go to die or spring out of nowhere to become outrageously successful. Also full of egotistical, under-employed people.
Soft News: Unless your factory blows up and leaves a big hole in Hemel Hempstead then your news is generally Soft.
Soundbite: 'I did not (pause) have sexual relations with that woman (pause), Miss Lewinsky'
SoundCloud: Online place to share that 1990s rock track you composed and recorded in your shed. Rock on!
Source: A secret person.
Spin Doctor: Used to mean excellent, dynamic PR person. Now means dick-head.
Story: A story is a story. But beware; it's more difficult to spot than you think. Best left to experts - preferably ones who do it for a living.
Strategy: PR & Marketing-speak for: Oh God! Client's coming in for second meeting today & I need to write something fast that looks like I know what I'm talking about.
SWOT: Small boy who was always a pain in the bum and grew up to work in PR. Aka: A way of assessing your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats that makes PR companies sound as though they understand what you do. If you're at your PR company for a meeting and you see a whiteboard with these words on it - just run.
Tabloids: The ones with semi-naked people on Page 3, the ones with way more ads than news or 'KILLER (insert noun here - e.g. Sausage, Bus, Asteroid, Diet, Ferret etc)' on the front page. And the ones with none of these elements, that just happen to be half the size of a broadsheet.
Target audience: The important people. The people who might, in the future, possibly, maybe, hopefully, buy what you sell or use your services. Or your Existing Target Audience - those people who already think you're ace.
Teaser: Bit like a canapé or in our case a packet of pork scratchings or a pickled egg. A taster prior to the main event.
Testimonials: Also, Blog Endorsements. Testimonials are what real people have said is great about you or your business. Note the REAL PEOPLE part of that sentence. It is illegal to invent what they have said about you. Bloggers also endorse products & services but if they are being paid, they need to say so. Anyway...it's all lies.
Trending: On Twitter. List of the top 10 / 20 currently most talked about topics on Twitter. Usually full of very important breaking news stories or collective word games which are being played by many people. Or, Justin Beiber's name, after Mum collects his fans from day care.
Troll: Trolling. Someone who makes a nuisance of themselves in a social network or online environment. Usually, angry, nasty, sad person. However, not always. One person's Troll can be another person's thought leader. But they're normally certifiable.
Twitter: An online environment where people interact and businesses communicate and network in 140 characters or fewer. Good place for entrepreneurs find their target audience and where individuals have to avoid the people they went to school with. Great place to say what you really think, as long as you go for anonymity - e.g. @Catlolz56 and not @PeterJFBradshaw, Corporate Finance Director, ICI.
USP: Unique Selling Point or Proposition. USP is what your PR person tells you is the THING that makes you different. They can't always articulate this. Usually because they can't remember who you are.
Vertical Media: Magazines, journals and papers for a specific group of people. Usually trade, industry or hobby press. e.g. Flat Fish Monthly; Extruded Polymers World; Angolan Accounting Journal; International Pig Weekly; Corset-Making Today. Your PR person will say: 'Don't worry darling, we'll get you into the verticals.'
Viral Marketing: Painful, itchy and potentially embarrassing. Increasingly being replaced by...well...just having a good product or service that people want to talk about online. Going Viral: If your PR company says these two words, run. They don't know what they're talking about.
WTF: What The F@&*K. Well? Just WTF?
Xerography: Photocopying. If you are still doing this you need to go on a computer course or move your mind and business into the 21st century.
You: You are the Client. But we call you, you. Not Client. And we can remember your name. Obviously it does help if you're called Crispin or Davida but we can usually manage to separate our Johns from each other too!
Zoo: Man goes to the zoo. But when he arrives there's only a dog. It was a Shitzu.