Terms For Every Day

ERPR’s Most Used Terms

All industries possess vocabulary individual to their brands and products. Media relations is no different.

We provide an ERPR Media Relations Kit, including a glossary, in our kick-off meetings to introduce stakeholders to the terms and processes we use when developing media relations strategies. Following are essential words and phrases we use daily at ERPR. Additionally, we have composed a more extensive glossary for your knowledge. It is on our site and downloadable as quick reference tool.

Generally speaking, there are four ways to achieve press. ERPR uses a selection of these tools in every project and the news cycle impacts them all. Following are terms we use daily:

  • Byline

  • Feature

  • News Cycle

  • Op-Ed

  • Press Release

The first phrase to understand is news cycle because it impacts everything we do.


A byline is an article written by a guest author and submitted to a publication to run in full. Bylines are referred to as guest posts and contributed articles. This is jargon derived from the “by” line on every article that lists the author’s name. For example, when ERPR collaborates with a client to write an article, when it runs, it is credited as “by Client Name” not by the name of a reporter.

Bylines are effective ways to position subject matter experts in outlets that matter most to their skill sets. For instance, an engineer could submit a byline about the technical differentiators in their brand’s product whereas the marketing director could submit a byline about how to launch the same product. ERPR often uses bylines to expose in-depth knowledge held by stakeholders in the press.


A feature story generally begins with an interview that is set-up as a secured conversation with either a reporter or an editor to discuss an agreed upon topic. ERPR gains insight into the topics of discussion ahead of the interview and shares them with the client. ERPR provides a light version of media training before the interview to help clients prepare.

A feature story is not a news story. It is is a human interest story. These stories have powerful hook and compelling details to retain reader's interest, and they should end with powerful conclusions.

Clients must understand that reputable media outlets do not share the final feature article before going to press. ERPR works with the interviewee in advance to formalize points, refine messaging and ease nerves. Preparation is the key to success. ERPR also stresses to clients that like in all business transactions, showing up on time for reporters is a vital piece of securing the interview.

News Cycle

The news cycle is the speed and pace in which outlets cover news. With the internet and social media, news cycles are becoming increasingly shorter. Some estimate there are twelve news cycles in a day. Incredibly, that means every two hours a new cycle begins. News cycles govern everything that is reported or published in media outlets and are the reason for tight deadlines. ERPR works quickly — generally our projects begin as eight-week engagements. One reason we can achieve results so quickly is that in eight short weeks, we experience hundreds of news cycles.


Op-eds are a type of byline written and submitted in full to a publication. They focus on an argument or make a point about a timely topic. Op-eds are typically submitted and reviewed by an editorial board and are highly competitive as well as time-sensitive and more likely to be reserved by top-tier outlets.  

When ERPR includes an op-ed in a media relations plan, it is vital that the client follow-up as directed by ERPR and meet all deadlines or the opportunity may be lost. Timeliness is at the essence of op-ed submission.

Press Release

A press release is an official statement issued to media outlets providing information on a particular topic. A press release is the term most clients are familiar with when we begin working together. It is a traditional tool used in PR to disseminate important information to the public and the media. It is typically reserved for news items only, and should be written in the style of journalists — AP style, not editorialized — for maximum impact with reporters.

Often PR firms send out press releases over the wire to achieve mass pick-up. ERPR does not endorse this except in specific cases when a client’s SEO needs to be improved or due to a brand’s corporate communication guidelines. We also do not count pick-ups by the wire services in our success metrics.

Other phrases that are used widely in media relations are off the record and on the record. These are important to understand — especially when discussing proprietary products and services with reporters or discussing any item that may have an impact on publicly traded stocks.

Off the Record

Off the Record is a phrase used to denote content that is not usable in any reporting. In order for this to hold true, the reporter/editor must agree to the off the record terms.

On the Record

On the Record is anything that is said and can be quoted or used for public consumption. Every conversation with a reporter, unless specifically defined otherwise, should be considered on the record.