The Definitive PR Email Glossary – Terms You Need To Know

Guide yourself through the world of confusing email terms, acronyms, and names in our ultimate glossary. With common nomenclature explained, writing and optimizing PR pitches will be a snap!

For newcomers in public relations, technical email wording can be slightly confusing. When you don’t know the terminology of your craft, it’s difficult to master it. That’s why we decided to collect industry-standard email nomenclature and add some precise explanations, helping you to transform obscure PR jargon into a distinct and meaningful language and help you get going. If you are an experienced professional, it’s always good to refresh your knowledge with a quick review.

A/B Test

A technique consisting of sending two variants of the same email (one with a changed title, for example) to two target groups. By comparing results, you can determine which email performs better. Some email marketing experts execute A/B tests on 60-80% of the final target group and then send a more impactful message to the rest.

Attachments

Files that you add to the message, like documents, screens, videos, .zips. The attachment open rate tells you how many recipients clicked the attachment.

Autoresponder

You can trigger a message to be sent automatically from your email client to every sender that reaches you, for example, during your office absence. Such responses should contain a date when you will be available, as well as an email address to a coworker for urgent cases.

Blacklist

A group of contacts that marked your emails as spam, hard bounced or were filtered as blacklisted manually by the sender. Your deliverability rate tends to decrease if your domain is being blacklisted too often, as all email clients start treating your messages as suspicious.

Bounce Rate

Percentage of emails that weren’t delivered to your recipient’s inboxes.

Call to Action (CTA)

Command that should encourage readers to click and execute a desired action. Usually displayed as a button at the bottom of the email body.

Campaign

Collection of emails with the same goal, possibly orbiting around the same topic. Corporate PR departments tend to create separate campaigns for different geographical regions to optimize engagement through deep content personalization.

Cold Email

When you contact a person you don’t know, especially with a business or sales offer, you write a cold email.

Conversion Rate

Percentage of recipients who completed an action you wanted them to perform, like ordering a product, signing up, filling in the form or leaving a review.

CTR

Click-through rate is the percentage of people from your target group who clicked on any link in the received message. Divide those who clicked by all recipients and multiply results by 100. Sometimes companies analyze the CTOR metric (Call-to-open-rate), too, since it only counts recipients who opened the message.

Deliverability Rate

Percentage of emails that successfully make their way to recipient inboxes. Deliverability rate, of course, is decreased by both soft and hard bounces.

DKIM

DomainKeys Identified Mail is a method of connecting email addresses with a domain, which allows companies to take responsibility for what they send and protect their inboxes from spam and phishing. The reputation you establish by sending valuable content will influence the results of all future campaigns. 

DMARC

A solution that prevents illegal use of your domain and email addresses and helps identify fraudulent use in real-time. Always implement it into your DNS records before starting email campaigns, if you want to successfully protect your clients and brand identity, as well as achieve high deliverability rates.

Double opt-in

People who subscribe to your newsletter sometimes aren’t really your target, sometimes intelligent robots leave data in your forms. When using double opt-in, you ensure that the subscriber is really interested in your content, as he will need to additionally confirm the subscription through a link sent to an email address.

Drip 

Distribution of a series of messages in a sequence that can be automatically triggered by user behavior when certain predefined conditions are met.

Email Client

Software on your desktop enabling email communication.

Email Template

Premade email design and structure, most often exploited for a specific goal or within a specific communication type. Can be easily filled with updated copy, as well as duplicated, slightly modified and saved in the new version.

Engagement Rate

A measure of the strength of a relationship with particular recipients. It counts everything that recipients do with your email, starting with opening it, through downloading attachments, playing videos, clicking links, or even checking Terms & Conditions.

ESP

An acronym for email service provider. Examples include Gmail or Outlook.

Follow-up

You follow-up when sending one more email in order under the same subject to remind your recipient about the matter raised in the email body. Most often used by sales representatives to break the silence during a break in communication with potential buyers.

GDPR

General Data Protection Regulation is a law protecting the personal data of European users from fraudulent and illegal use in sales, promotional and marketing activities. As a business owner you should have marketing consent for using email addresses before sending such messages.

Hard Bounce

Email addresses become outdated, modified or transferred to differently named domains. Because of these reasons and others, your messages will face a hard bounce, meaning they will never reach recipients inboxes. If you send emails to an address that hard bounces very often, it will become blacklisted.

Inactives

A pool of people who are disengaged from your regular emails, but still subscribed. Email marketing experts prepare separate reactivation campaigns for such readers, so they won’t churn permanently.

Mass email

Also called a bulk email. Distribution of single email to many people at once, often executed with personalization tokens to keep a human touch. 

Newsletter

Subscribers can consciously opt in and opt out from receiving regular content from companies, bloggers and influencers. Such content is called a newsletter and most often it primarily contains educational content, summary of recent publications, structured aesthetically with HTML and some visuals in engaging and catchy templates.

Open rate

Percentage of people that have opened a given email.

Personalized Email

Sending mass emails, you should use personalization tokens to keep the communication human. In Prowly, they correspond with contact properties like Name, Company, Country, Greetings, etc. 

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Press Kit

A virtual folder that can be linked or attached to a message with a press release. It provides media with all necessary documents, images, videos or infographics that can prove to be helpful when creating a publication.

Preview text

Displayed below or next to the subject line, the preview text can become your second chance to increase open rates. Try to write previews to spark curiosity. They need to correspond with the subject but also introduce the content inside the message.

Segmentation

To keep your database hygienic and optimized, it is recommended to divide your audience into characteristic groups for further usage in the email distribution tool. That way, it’s easier to write personalized and engaging content, knowing what kind of people will read it. You can also measure performance of particular segments: open rates, click-through rates, delivery rates. Prowly allows you to create a complex cohort of recipients types for your PR pitch, mixing particular journalists with static groups and segments. The last ones function as dynamic media lists that in real-time aggregate contacts which meet predefined conditions and filters.

Sender Name

This is the name the recipient sees in his inbox before opening the message. Some email software, like Prowly, allows you to configure someone else’s name and email address in the sender settings.

Sender Score

Your email address is continuously reviewed, and if you send appropriate content to the appropriate recipients, your sender score will remain high. A high sender score means high deliverability rates and more effective campaigns.

Sequence

A set of consecutive emails arranged in non-linear paths and deployed automatically to users who match certain conditions.

Soft Bounce

Email servers go down from time to time, while mailboxes with limited resources become full of data and completely block new email deliveries. If you pack your email with attachments that are too large, the size can negatively impact the delivery process, also possibly causing soft bounces. 

Spam

If your email’s text-to-image ratio is too low, used too many salesy and pushy words in the content and subject line, or simply haven’t authenticated your email address with solutions like DKIM and DMARC, your email will be probably detected by spam filters and redirected to a spam folder.. As you know, messages that land there typically remain unread.

Subject Line

This is the title of the email your recipient can read in the inbox.

Unsubscribe rate 

Percentage of newsletter (or any other email type) subscribers that decide to opt out from receiving future messages.

Whitelist

Whitelisting, as a certification of honesty and safety, plays an important role in increasing sender reputation. It also ensures that email clients display images contained in your messages instead of blocking them. Whitelisting also helps sender’s messages to land in the main inbox rather than the Promotions tab. It’s the opposite of a blacklist containing faulty and spammy email addresses.

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