In the PR world we tend to speak in our own language. After a while, this jargon becomes so second nature that we forget not everyone uses our language on a daily basis. We’ve all accidentally slipped a frequently-used “PR word” into a conversation outside the office and been met with confusion from one of our friends.  Even new hires can be intimidated when they first enter the PR industry where these terms are used on a regular basis.

With the rapidly evolving media landscape and a quickly adapting PR industry, these buzzwords are ever changing – especially in travel PR where the ways that clients market themselves are also always evolving. To help decode some of these terms, we’re letting you in on 8 commonly overheard PR buzzwords and breaking down what we really mean when we say them:


This is a word that most people had never even heard of until 5 years ago. The rise of social media has allowed users with a strong following on platforms like Instagram to become more powerful than ever. This “power” we’re talking about is the influencer’s ability to persuade their audience due to their credibility in a certain industry, like fashion or travel. For a more concise definition: an influencer is anyone with a large, devoted social media following and a connection to their audience’s interests.

Thought leader:

A common objective in the PR world is to position an individual with your client’s company as a “thought leader” in their field. In many ways a thought leader is like an influencer (if you take out the social media component).  Thought leaders are trusted sources within a particular field or industry whose views and opinions are considered influential or authoritative. Given this standing, thought leaders are particularly desirable sources for the media and thus, this status would be seen as advantageous for your client.


This is a commonly used word in travel PR, typically seen in pitches or press invites. As travel marketing has trended towards experiential travel (particularly with travelers in their 20s and 30s) people have been more inclined not just to visit a destination, but to experience it. Experiential travel consists of being exposed to a destination by meaningfully engaging with a location’s food, history, culture and community.


Many trade publications and magazines publish externally-contributed articles called bylines from experts or thought leaders in specific fields. A byline can be crucial for a PR strategy if a client is looking to establish one of their leaders as a credible source. The beauty of this strategy is that a client can use this as an opportunity to both promote and differentiate themselves from their competition. A bylined article can be a great opportunity to promote your client if the outlet has the right audience and niche.  


This is a term we use for an appointment with an editor, usually at their own office or desk. Desksides are incredibly useful meetings that allow you and/or your client to have face time with writers and pitch story ideas. These meetings allow you to make authentic connections with editors and forge relationships that may not be possible over email or phone. Because of the effectiveness of these meetings, clients will often arrange deskside tours in major media markets like New York and Los Angeles.


This is term that is heard across a variety of PR fields. Boilerplate is simply referring to text that can be used over and over again without being changed. In PR, we most often see this at the bottom of a press release. When you work with a new client, you will want to quickly develop a boilerplate to save you time moving forward. The term “boilerplate” actually originated in the 1890s – but back then it was cast in metal, ready for the printing press and distributed to newspaper firms around the US. The PR industry has come a long way since then!


To put it simply, a deliverable is something produced or provided for a project. Deliverables are the quantifiable results of a project that can be delivered to a client. For example, if you have a call with a client, your deliverables are the tangible items that you owe them to meet their needs. Both the client and agency must be on the same page about goals, expectations and objectives to easily define the deliverables.


In the past, this phrase would have been seen as being purely negative, but with so much content now available in the digital world, PR agencies would be naïve to not present their client with paid media opportunities to augment their earned media as well. Pay-for-play can mean any editorial or advertorial opportunity that comes with a contract or a payment. The benefit of a pay-for-play opportunity is that your client has the ability to control what is published and more closely measure the return on the investment.

There you have it: 8 of the most commonly used words in PR. It’s not our entire vocabulary by any means, but it’s a good glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes of our busy lives.


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