May 2023

Breaking Down PR’s ‘Language Barrier’

Written By Tilly Heneghan


Nobody likes barriers to achieving their goals. To help bridge the gap between client expectations and PR teams’ deliverables, it can be helpful to break down the most common PR terms to clients, especially those new to PR, early in the process of starting a new campaign.

‘DA’s vs ‘UVM’s

Terms that are often mistranslated to clients are the DA and UVM of an article, which may sound like complex terminology but are in fact, a simple way of measuring the impact that an article could potentially have on its target audience in different publications.

DA, Domain Authority, indicates visibility on search engines, while UVM, Unique Visitors per Month,  measures media reach of specific outlets to evaluate PR campaign success. Clients struggling to grasp the importance of DA and UVM figures are at risk of wasting valuable time on ineffective PR strategies, and missing out on key opportunities to build brand awareness.

Understanding Coverage

The term “coverage” in the context of PR refers to the media attention or exposure received by a brand or client. It includes any mention, feature, or article published by journalists or media outlets that highlights the client’s products, services, or key messages. Coverage plays a crucial role in building brand awareness, shaping public perception, and establishing credibility within the target audience.

When it comes to analysing coverage, clients often aren’t fully equipped to understand the value of PR terminology they may have never come across before. Language barriers between clients and PR teams create misunderstandings which will ultimately impact the success of a PR campaign. Terms like the “DA” and “UVM” of an article published online can cause easily avoidable confusion.


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The process behind securing coverage

Aside from the terms mentioned earlier, there are a few additional concepts that clients may not be familiar with in the world of PR when discussing strategies to secure an article.

The most common way to secure coverage is “pitching.” Pitching refers to the process of presenting a story idea or news angle to journalists or media outlets in the hopes of securing media coverage. PR professionals pitch their clients’ stories by crafting compelling pitches that highlight the newsworthiness and relevance of the content

The goal is to capture the interest of journalists and persuade them to cover the story. By actively engaging in pitching, clients can maximise the potential for securing favourable media coverage and amplifying their brand’s visibility within the industry.

The practice of “trendjacking” is significant in PR as it allows clients to leverage the popularity and buzz surrounding current trends to generate media coverage for their brand or product. PR professionals monitor trends and news stories to identify opportunities where their clients’ messages can align with ongoing conversations. By strategically participating in trendjacking, clients can gain exposure and position themselves as relevant and timely thought leaders in their industry.

Another important PR metric is “share of voice,” which measures the extent to which a particular brand or company occupies media coverage and conversations within an industry or market. It provides insights into a brand’s performance compared to its competitors in terms of media visibility and mentions. Monitoring share of voice helps clients understand their market position, assess the effectiveness of their PR efforts, and identify areas for improvement or growth.

A term that often causes confusion is “byline”, which can often be mistaken for a subheading in an article. In the world of PR, bylines are a valuable way for clients to establish themselves as thought leaders by providing journalists with relevant and newsworthy information that can be attributed to an expert spokesperson. While clients might assume that press coverage with a simple mention is sufficient, bylines ensure that a company’s ideology and key messages are effectively communicated.

Clients may also find the term “briefings” difficult to understand, as they may be unaware of what to prepare, which key messages need to be addressed, or the best way to communicate with an individual journalist. Briefings are simply opportunities for clients to present their story directly to the media. Actively engaging in briefings allows clients to maximise their chances of securing favourable media coverage and increasing their brand’s visibility within the industry.

Effective communication is the foundation of PR, and it is our responsibility to ensure that clients fully understand how their key messages can effectively reach the media, without becoming lost in translation. To bridge this language barrier, PR professionals should communicate PR terms and concepts clearly and concisely to ensure clients are not disillusioned by PR. By breaking down these terms and explaining their significance early on in the campaign process, PR teams and clients can work together to achieve successful outcomes. 

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