Industry Insider: 5 PR Terms You Know But Vaguely Understand

A significant portion of public relations involves correctly distributing information to the media. You may know the right things to say and have heard some terms used before, but do you actually understand what they mean and the differences between them? To set the record straight, we’ve defined five key PR terms to help you when you address the press:


An embargo is an agreement between a source and a media outlet that information will not be published until a predetermined time. 


The information that you provide and the wording that you use can be published and attributed directly to you.


The information that you provide cannot be used in print, in any form. In theory, the journalist never heard what you said.

On background

Some mid-way point between off-record and on-record. This information can be published but can’t be attributed a specific source, or even conversation.

Not for attribution

On the spectrum between on-record and off-record, not for attribution is closer to the on-record side of things. When speaking not-for-attribution, a source provides the media with information that can be used and quoted, but only attributed to a general, mostly anonymous source--i.e. “a rival company,” “a person familiar with the deal.”


Source: Forbes