Nine Communication Terms Multidisciplinary Marketers Need to Know

August 28, 2019
By iQ Staff
A word cloud with terms related to digital marketing and SEO such as "content," "website," "search," "optimization," and "marketing".

Cross-functional communication teams are becoming the norm. While PR, marketing, social media, branding and digital specialists once reigned over their own domains, today’s communicators are breaking out of their silos and working together to achieve their common goals.

This presents many new opportunities for communicators, but in order to take full advantage of them, multidisciplinary teams need to be able to speak each other’s language.

Here are just a few terms to help bridge the gap between communicators from different disciplines.


Brand guide

May also be known as a style guide, brand book or brand guidelines. Essentially a brand bible that outlines everything there is to know about your brand and how to consistently present it to the world. At minimum, a brand style guide will define your brand’s visual identity and create rules for its use. It will include your logo in all its different variations, color palette and typography scheme. A guide that goes beyond design components may also include information on your brand’s voice and tone, your brand story, positioning and content strategy.



Short for “call to action,” an essential component of every marketing piece. A strong CTA should inspire your audience to act — to click that button, or download that guide, or pick up the phone and call you. A CTA should help you fulfill your business objective, so consider what it is you’re trying to achieve before crafting yours.



Content that will remain relevant and valuable for a long time because it isn’t tied to a specific time period or topical story. PR pros often have an arsenal of evergreen media pitches for their client during slow news periods. On the content marketing side, creating evergreen blog posts ensures your content will continue to be searched for and viewed years down the road.


Native advertising

A form of paid media that is designed to look like earned media. Native advertising appears alongside editorial content within a media platform, such as an online news site, magazine or social media feed. To the average user, it can be nearly indistinguishable from editorial content, except for telltale labels that say “sponsored,” “branded content,” or “from our advertisers.”



Short for paid, earned, shared, and owned media:

  • Paid media involves anything anything you pay to promote, such as regular advertising, sponsored social media posts, promoted listings on Amazon, advertorial, influencer marketing, sponsored editorial or broadcast segments.
  • Earned media is unsponsored, unpaid media coverage. It can take many forms, such as a broadcast interview, newspaper article, magazine feature, online article, blog post, etc.
  • Shared media is essentially social media. It encompasses your organization’s social channels, as well as the user-generated and shared content that gets posted.
  • Owned media is content created by your organization that appears on your own platforms, such as your website, blog or newsletter. You own the content and channel, therefore, you control the message and method of distribution.


Reputation management

A PR term related to influencing public perception of a particular person or brand. Reputation management is essential during or after a crisis when an individual or corporate reputation has taken a dive. Tactics for managing or rebuilding a reputation could include media relations, community engagement, charitable giving, encouraging positive reviews online and stepping up your social media presence.


Responsive design

The practice of building a website so it looks good no matter what device it’s being viewed on. Responsive websites adapt to different screen dimensions to provide an optimal viewing experience so users don’t have to pan or scroll too much, or resize their browser window, or deal with overlapping text and images.

Since more than half of website visits come from mobile devices, responsive design is essential if you don’t want to lose visitors right off the bat due to poor user experience.



Everyone knows about SEO, but what about SEM? It stands for search engine marketing, which uses paid strategies to gain higher visibility on SERPs (search engine results pages). SEM is also known as paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing.

SEO and SEM have similar objectives, to increase traffic by ranking higher on SERPs, but SEO does this organically while SEM utilizes paid ad campaigns through Google Ads or other platforms.


Thought leadership

A PR strategy to elevate the profile of executives or companies by positioning them as leaders or innovators in their field. A thought leadership campaign can highlight the expertise of a CEO and make them a go-to expert in their industry. It can also help bring awareness to an organization’s products or services.

What other terms should multidisciplinary teams add to their vocabulary?