Definition (noun): This resource section is designed to demystify the marketing world and decode the elaborate language we like to use, with a little humour
In PR we love talking, we love pitching stories, emailing, chatting, we like breakfasts, fancy dinners and champagne launches.
So it’s inevitable that along the way we’ve ended up with a words and phrases that are confusing to everyone else. So in the interest of clarity, this section will seek to demystify the PR world, explaining the jargon and decoding the fluff.
At the same time, should you find yourself in a meeting, feel free to throw in the odd lengthly and slightly bonkers word. I call it Business Bull Shit Bingo.
If you’re ever at a conference or in a big meeting, tick off how many of the key phrases you hear. Make sure you tweet me @NakedPRGirl if you have a suggestion
Zoom – said; ‘shall we jump on a Zoom call?’
During Lockdown the biggest WFH fear is the camera-on-7am-Zoom-call which is particularly difficult when you were most likely up late last night doing a bar crawl from the living room to the kitchen, with shots in the garden to finish until 1am. The ‘Zoom’ call is the replacement for the ‘meeting’ which was the 2019 time hoover, but the Zoom is 2020s arch nemesis. The isolation hangover is one of the first problems to the Zoom call, the second one is having to look like you are actually paying attention and NOT wearing your pyjamas.
It is also a truth universally acknowledged that moment between joining Zoom AND sorting out your audio is actually your resting bitch face. Ain’t that the truth! And don’t get me started on ending the call…in lockdown, a time of isolation, it is a bit hard to say…sorry guys gotta go…I’ve got to….oh hell.
My pro tips: 1) have another call to go to 2) have audio problems 3) have video problems 4) change your background to confuse everyone 5) if it is an evening call, pour yourself a stiff drink
Essentials items – said; ‘I’m going shopping…’
I’ll tell you a story. Yesterday I went to Boots for shampoo & spent £118 on essential items and a further £16 on a box of rosé wine from M&S (actual essential items)… It was my first trip out in weeks and and I was exhilirated.
During Lockdown, shopping has become somewhat of a rare occurrence – once in a week kind of thing. Something to look forward to and even…dress up for! Christ knows how we will all be released! Someone had better keep me away from Gucci!
IG Live/Webinar – said; ‘join for the secret to life!’
Now then, you really can’t go on Instagram at 6pm for fear that every click will lead you onto a a Live BY ACCIDENT that you embarrassingly have to leave immediately cos you were actually just trying to post a story. Urg.
Similarly, I can bet my lockdown chocolate stash that you are receiving approx 3 million Webinar invites every day. Amirite?
It goes like dis:
Join now to hear how Coronavirus is effecting you! Listen to this exciting talk on worms by the King of Worms and the Queen of worms! Register now to see someone make a cup of tea! What about post-lockdown, not thought about it…get worried about it by clicking here!
WFH – said ‘are you working from home’
WFH – God if ever there was an annoying acronym, here we are. Working from Home – NOT to be confused with those hot gals Fifth Harmony whose idea of working from home was hanging out on a building site in hot pants (?!) obvs.
Working from home USED to be reserved for freelancers but now in Lockdown, we’re all doing it! When this all started, you couldn’t swing a cat without encountering top tips to WFH. Well here’s mine:
1) Get dressed. Or don’t. No one will know unless you are forced onto a Zoom call, and even then, a crafty jacket can hide a multitude of sins.
2) Avoid the fridge. Or don’t. I firmly believe that lockdown is like the airport where calories and alcohol units don’t count
3) Make a list. Or don’t. By the time you’re on your third Zoom call, you won’t really know what you’re doing anymore. Time for another trip to the fridge?
4) Create a separate work area. Or just try converting your bed into a daytime office bed and a night time sleeping bed.
5) Try not to Netflix and chill so you can concentrate on work. Actually scratch that, if you don’t watch Netflix, how will you keep up with the office gossip on Zoom?
Blursday – said; ‘is it Thisday or Thatday?’
Until further notice, the days of the week are now called Thisday, Thatday, Otherday, Someday, Yesterday, Today and Nextday.
Lockdown has created a situation much like the period between Christmas and New year where no one knows / cares what day it is. And every one drinks and eats with abandon!
Not only are the days of the week confusing, but time seems to have become a blur, and work / life balance is thing of the past. Gone are the 6am runs and 10pm bedtime routines. At first we tried PE with Joe Wicks, but even he wasn’t enough to stop us from slipping back into our student days routine of staying up past midnight and waking up at 10am. However will we cope with post – Lockdown?
Furlough – said; ‘are you furloughed then?’
AS IF this is even a word? And AS IF it even existed pre-Coronavirus? Surely the most overused word in the English language fight now is something that sounds like a type of mushroom crossed with a new Apple update. To furlough is a Government word which loosely means, being given paid leave by the state until this global pandemic is over.
Furloughing has created two types of people; the people furloughed and therefore studying for a Harvard Degree / learning Latin / yogaing 5 times a day and mastering the art of TikTok…and those still working. It is hard for both sides, the ones feeling a little lost, and the ones with twice the work…so furlough really should just mean, to understand.
ROI – said; ‘what’s the R – Oh – IIII on this?’
Make Money Online said – ‘sooooooo how do we start making loads of money online.’
I confess, sometimes I’m tempted to shoot straight back with ‘spend loads of money on it.’ Yes here’s the truth (and imagine I’m saying this loudly), setting up a website does not automatically guarantee you’ll be an instant millionaire and sunning yourself in the Caribbean this time next year. I know, I’m sorry, we like to make it sound that the only real saviour to your problems is to have a digital presence, but alas this is not the case. First of all a website should be right for your business. It’s possible that your website may just be information based and community based, it does not have to be transactional. If you do want one, it takes a while to design it and build it and then you need to market it. You’re going into a giant Google jungle and you’re just a little tiny plant near some gigantic trees and animals that might eat you.
Also before all that (sorry I should have said) you need a business plan. This is to be added in to your main business plan so it all stays together but it needs to be focused. Websites are expensive. You’ll feel like you’re pouring money into them and what does it give you in return?!? Work out your plan, your objectives, your marketing plan, if it’s transactional, what’s it’s purpose, what’s it adding? Add the financials, talk to the experts and be realistic. Add in shipping costs, return costs, photography, work out your margins. And if you’ve used this phrase, go on an ecommerce course because the more you know the better. Be tech savvy or hire tech savvy. Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
Quick win – said “can we just get a few quick wins yah?”
Wardrobe Malfunction – said “oh fuck, Madonna just STACKED it, hold the front page it’s #CapeGate”
A act of God like Madonna’s tightly tied Armani Cape sending her backwards down a flight of stairs (by a poor backing dancer) or Janet Jackson’s jewel decorated exposed boob (by Justin Timberlake – extra points) is a game changer. The reason being that with these kind of events, the general running order of the evening have been given to press already via embargoed press releases on the artists/winners/attendees. Sooo that’s the reason why write-ups from the events seem to happen the second they’ve happened…and why they’re generally quite dry in comparison. Said journalist or blogger will write ‘Taylor Swift wowed the crowd singing Blank Space in a sexy (insert red dress/black hot pants here). All ready for an image and couple of sentences on the outfit. Soooo if an act of CapeGate happens journalists have to hop to it! Back to their computers, stories re-written, headlines changed, pictures added. Gifs, pics and articles posted online, links added, hashtags live, social media a-go-go! As observed by @caitlinmoran on Twitter: “As always at times like this, my thoughts go out to all the hacks who’d already filed their Brits report before Madonna fell over.”
And she had a point as journalist @SimonNRicketts: said ‘Brits coverage sorted. We know the winners. Unless anything surprising happens, we’re good.’ A newsroom conversation I had 20 minutes ago.” For Janet, this was obvs pre-planned but the boob shock still resonated around the world. Not the case for Madonna who genuinely couldn’t get her bloody cape unfastened fast enough. But for Madge…she was surely not likely to dominate all the front pages BEFORE #capegate so look at that – in this instance no such thing as bad publicity…although that cape whipping dancer might have had a headache the morning after. Kudos to National Rail for swift social media team reaction who tweeted @nationalrailenq: “To the dancer who pulled #Madonna from the stage…check your train times here… #BRITAwards2015 #lasttrain.” Don’t say we don’t have a sense of humour in a crisis! And well done to Madonna for carrying on regardless!
Valentine’s Day – said ‘how can we work Valentine’s Day in? Have we got anything red?’
New Year – said ‘shall we do New Year New You?’
January is the proverbial desert of the PR world. It’s the time of thin issues, lazy content and frankly crap press releases. Why? Firstly, everyone has spent most of November and December sozzled around a fake Christmas tree wearing a pair of jingling antlers or a Santa hat and thus January is rather rushed through rather than cared for. Secondly everyone is literally absent in January. Away/coming back/hungover/depressed and just counting down the days until payday. No one is really up for doing all that much, nor can they afford it.
But there is one thing that everyone does want to do in January and that is reinvention. Out with the old, in with the new, time to be a whole new person – be more dog! So for that reason, January is stacked to the rafters with stories on how to be thinner, fitter by following a dry January/juice diet whilst standing on a treadmill with EVERYONE ELSE ON EARTH WHO HAVE JUST DISCOVERED THE GYM with a de cluttered home whilst you search for a new job/go freelance/plan to chuck it all in and go travelling. Can’t wait for February so we can return to normal.
Gifting – said – ‘is there a budget for gifting?’
Christmas – said ‘oh god I’m so sick of Christmas. It started in JULY’
What?!? July you say? Yes my friends, Christmas for PR’s and journalists kicks off in sunny July. Why? Because journalists are working on Christmas issues then and also because the season of goodwill has become a huge money spinner with the ‘Christmas Creep’ leading to the so called ‘Golden Quarter’ where retailers expect to take the most profit between October and December. So for PR, well that kicks off in July with Christmas press days and pretty much doesn’t stop until Christmas. Which means by the time you see those Christmas adverts you’re most likely sick of seeing snow globes, Santa hats and Christmas jumpers. For marketers and brands, it starts even earlier, in fact it’s practically a year round event!
The pressure to deliver at Christmas is intense! Do you have the cutest characters? Celebrity ambassadors? Singing sensation on your soundtrack? The campaigns have to have more than razzle dazzle, they also have to be emotive to attach people to your brand. So that they tweet ‘The John Lewis penguin advert made me cry AGAIN this year’ like a badge of honour. So in marketing your Christmas is almost year round – whether you’re assessing a previous campaign, planning the next one, filming or shooting in May or pitching for budget for a Christmas window…it’s just pretty amazing that come December you’ve not turned into Scrooge.
Margins – said (by Lord Sugar) ‘you forgot about the BLOODY margins’
Clickbait – said ‘that story was total CLICKBAIT’
According to the Evening Standard, Renee Zellwegger’s recent face transformation was the biggest click bait of the year so far. I love the phrase click bait, it has naughty connotations mixed with a dash of old fashion mechanics. To understand click bait, you have to understand Tom and Jerry. This is the proverbial moment Tom is luring Jerry out of his mouse hole with a piece of cheese. When you eat the cheese, the trap snaps. Gotcha! For newspapers, magazines, brands and bloggers, we all use social media for two reasons – engagement is one – having a nice little chat with our customers and growing our gang, but the second is more sinister.
We want to get you from the comfort of your Facebook page (where you were happily browsing your cousins wedding pics) onto our platforms, because traffic means advertising equals money. Soooo when you see an old picture of Renee captioned ‘you won’t recognise THIS actress anymore’… You click through and ta da…you are a victim of click bait. You’ve been lured by the subtle art of the teaser, or not quite giving you the whole story. Now, lucky for Jerry, he was too clever to ever fall for the cheese on the trap. Try and see if you can avoid falling for those not so subtle tricks. Think before you click.
Marketing – said ‘I’m IN Marrrrketing
Reach out – said ‘yes, what a GREAT idea! I’ll REACH OUT to alllll my contacts’
Here’s a little story dear readers. Earlier this week I was accidentally eavesdropping on a man. He was speaking on the phone to (I’m guessing) his boss. He was a little agitated and clearly in trouble. He was pacing up and down, hiding in doorways while he spoke, I was getting worried and then he said this; ‘yes, yes, exactly, totally, yes I’ll reach out to everyone this afternoon when I’m back at my computer. Ok, ok, yep speak soon.’ Ah the universal conversation closer. ‘Reaching out’ is a way of saying ‘oh f*$k, I haven’t done THAT yet.
Hang on, I’ll do it RIGHT now. Please don’t shout. Ok? Phew.’ Yes it is fluffy, yes it feels kind of ‘borrowed from the American version of The Office’ but by Jove it works. Oh and reach out in real life just means ‘speak to.’ But who needs simple ‘speak to’ when you can REACH OUT. Everyone feels infinitely more comfortable with you are reaching out, imagining some kind of social ninja action is going on. So sing it ‘Reach Outttttttttt.’
Affiliates – said ‘do you have an aff-ili-ate programme?’
1) The retailer and the blogger must both be signed up to an affiliate programme like Linkshare or Affiliate Window
2) If the blogger is accepted onto an affiliate programme with Net-a-Porter for example, they can add a link which tracks the referrals
3) If you click through from the affiliate link from the blogger and then go onto buy from the affiliate website then it’s 10% commission for the blogger. TA DA!
Some bloggers do this, some don’t, some tell you they’re doing it, some don’t. Makes you think differently about all those crafty links doesn’t it?
Absolutely – said whilst nodding head ‘Aaaaabsolutteeellllyyy’
My dad introduced me to this game. It’s called, Count how many people say ‘absolutely’ on TV. Dermot O’Leary, Tess Daly, sports presenters, newsreaders, politicians. It’s an epidemic! They’re ill, it’s all there is! Absolutely sits in the ‘comforting words to say when you need to buy some time’ category.
When you’re in a meeting and need to say something, anything, but have no idea what’s going on, just add some extra hot air; ‘oh absoluteeely, it’s completely fundamental.’ It’s significantly overused but so far no one has really noticed. So let’s join forces and #saynotoabsolutely.’
SEO – said ‘S-E-Ohhh’
The next level – said ‘implementing this strategy will take us to the next level’
Oh god the next level. The mysterious next level. We all want to be on the next level! It’s the omnipresent, hypothetical, not quite in reality, next level. Full of promise, hope, achievement….it’s a shame it usually doesn’t really exist. This phrase is usually greeted with a lot of nodding of heads and agreeing with the phrase ‘abbbbsolutellly I agree’ thrown in for good measure. If you want to be that annoying person at the meeting, then repeat after me;
‘so how are you measuring the next level? Where’s your benchmark for that? Have you thought about the ROI?’ What? Measurability? Are you CRAZY? The only time anyone actually reaches the next level is when they are looking back at the project. ‘The results demonstrate we took the brand awareness to the next level.’ Snoozefest. Don’t insult our intelligence.
Darling! – said ‘darrrrrrlinng how are you?’
ROAS – said; ‘Return on Advertising Spend’
Wow, could there be more of a ridiculous sounding acronym. Are we sure we even need this one? Not content with ROI, the PPC (pay per click) people get their very own phrase. ROAS is key to your PPC strategy – obviously. In real life, you’re just taking the money it cost you to run your advert and looking at the results. In a world of clicks, keywords (long-tail, negative etc), location, enhancing, rankings, PAGE 1, above the fold for Christ’s sake, you can be forgiven for switching off immediately…
however, all you really need to know that for the money you are spending, you are getting the results you want. For you mathematicians out there, take the ad spend and divide it by your revenue. The better the result, the better the campaign. Don’t be worried if your ROAS is bad, just try to increase the ROAS by changing your keywords strategy, rah rah rah. Simples!
Press Cuttings or Clippings (said have you SEEN the press cuttings?)
PR – said; ‘I’m in P-RRR’
PR by definition is all about managing the image of your brand or company to a wider audience. So everything that you see and hear about an organisation will have been carefully filtered for you by the PR team, moulding their public image to one which will appeal to you. These days it has grown increasingly woolly due to the arrival of social media, so for a few years everyone pretended this didn’t exist until deciding that we kind of wanted this under a PR umbrella because in truth it does require an amount of finesse and speaking to ‘the public’ (who everyone is terrified of). One old boss once said to me; ‘you’re like the Dark Arts Claire, making
everything happen but without a sound.’ This makes me think of Death Eaters in Harry Potter, which probably says a lot about our own public persona. It is widely regarded that we’re terrible at our own PR, with everyone thinking it’s a bit like Eddie from Ab Fab and we just mince around shouting ‘sweetie, darling’ and quaffing Bolly all day but in truth we’re a hard working bunch. We’re probably more likely to be championing our brand or talking about coverage and ROI. It’s also worth noting that this is the kind of marketing that you can’t pay for – so think editorial, features, story and content creation rather than something like advertising.