Do You Speak PR Lingo?

Whether your brand is new on the scene or has been around for a while, it’s important to know (and speak) the universal language of public relations. Particularly when planning a media event, make sure you and the press have the same understanding.

For media professionals (including this ex-reporter), a press conference, for instance, is completely different than a ribbon cutting, grand opening, or groundbreaking.

The easiest way to ensure reporters are on the same page with your messaging is to use the terminology that best describes what you hope to achieve. This handy guide of frequently used event topics can help guide you.

  1. Press conference

    Municipal officials must understand what is and what is not a story and invite the media accordingly to press conferences and big announcements.
    A well-received press conference could be attended by members of the print, online and broadcast media.

Think about the officials you see on TV news broadcasts talking at a podium. Police announcements about a break in a cold case, a major arrest, or local government officials releasing details about a massive redevelopment project all are good examples of what would bring reporters out to cover a press conference.

Tip: Knowing when your news warrants a big announcement can be challenging. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if anyone beyond your immediate audience or customer base would be interested.

  1. Ribbon cutting

    A ribbon cutting should have mark the completion of a building or project and be available for tours.
    A ribbon cutting should mark the completion of a building or project and be open for tours.

More than simply a photo op, cutting the proverbial ribbon is akin to opening up your newly built store, office or other structures for all to see and tour. A ribbon cutting tends to be less exciting from a coverage standpoint than a press conference. But there are ways to add some flair, including a bakery holding a bread-breaking ceremony, for example.

Tip: A ribbon cutting should most definitely mark the beginning of something that has recently been completed. Has construction just wrapped for your soon-to-be-opened store or office park? If so, inviting press to tour it is a great way to showcase your new addition.

  1. Groundbreaking

As the name suggests, groundbreaking ceremonies are ideal for kicking off the start of a new construction project. Has your company recently announced plans to expand or build a new location? If so, a groundbreaking is right up your alley.

Tip: Typically, groundbreaking events feature officials in suits smiling at the camera as they place a shovel in the ground. Make your event stand out to both dignitaries and media by adding a unique element to the proverbial ceremony. Instead of unearthing soil, a new gardening center, for instance, could have its special guests plant seeds for the future.

  1. Grand opening

    An open house or grand opening should showcase news or information relevant to a specific community or let locals know a business is officially open.
    An open house or grand opening should showcase news or information relevant to a specific community or let locals know a business is officially open.

Similar to a ribbon cutting, a grand opening event announces to the press, as well as the general public, that your business is open. To make your event one-of-a-kind instead of cookie cutter, I suggest offering festivities similar to what your business will be offering. A gymnastics studio, for example, could showcase the talents of gymnasts flipping and balancing as a demonstration of what its students could gain, while a company that offers swim lessons could offer an interactive discussion on swimming safety.

Tip: Bear in mind that a grand opening is a time to show off your business to the local community – your prospective client base. Do your best to create an event that will be memorable. It could double as your business’ first free or low-cost marketing effort.

Are you baffled about how best to share your organization’s news? Call Theresa Katalinas at 215-519-8833 to schedule a free consultation.

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