PR: easy as ABC

January 8, 2022

Like many other industries, the PR sector has various terms you might not be familiar with. So, if you don’t know your AVE from your ATL, don’t panic. Melissa has created a handy communications glossary to help you get to grips with all the terms you need to know. To give you a taster, here’s a glimpse of a few of the terms included in the full guide:

Above the line (ATL)

Advertising that is ‘talking at you’, e.g. television, radio, print media, posters.

Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE)

The amount in dollars a story would cost if it appeared as paid advertising, used to place a financial value on the coverage achieved. You can determine it by multiplying the size/length of the story by the advertising rate for the relevant publication or station. However, the PR industry no longer regards AVE highly because of fluctuating advertising rates. As an out of date measure, it is not recommended for use in evaluations.

Below the line (BTL)

Advertising/marketing that is ‘talking to you’, e.g. direct mail, point of purchase, leaflets, public relations, sampling, visual merchandising etc.


Supplementary or back-up video material (unedited) that may accompany a video news release. Providing B-roll gives journalists the footage they need to edit their own news package in a way that meets their house style (often using your B-roll footage in the background) and can maximise your chances of coverage.

Cue sheet / briefing document

Notes to help a spokesperson prepare for an interview with a journalist. It will cover key points to be communicated, questions that are likely to arise in the interview and the approach that should be taken on these issues.

Hook / news hook

What makes the story interesting to press at this specific moment in time. This might be a first, milestone, awareness day, anniversary etc.

Notes to editors

A section of text found beneath a press release or statement that provides additional and background information to aid the understanding the story; for example, full data or sources for stats used within a press release.

Through the line (TTL)

Campaigns which use an integrated approach, combining both ATL an BTL.

Thanks for reading! You can find Melissa’s full “A-Z of Communications” glossary on her resources page.


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