Introduction to Simple Boolean Operators

Introduction to Boolean Searches

Simply speaking, a Boolean search is an expression that results in a value of either TRUE or FALSE (in our world, that an article matches the search term(s) or doesn’t). AND, OR, and NOT are the primary operators of Boolean logic. There are many other more advanced Boolean operators in Cision that can do things like:

  • Target specific media outlets
  • Target geographical areas
  • Target specific languages

Keep in mind that a Boolean search is literal. The requirements you give (i.e. the search terms you require or exclude) must appear exactly as they do in the article for it to pull, or not pull, into your dashboard or alert.

For example, a search for the singular version of the word “Kitten” will not match articles where only the plural, “Kittens”, are mentioned, unless the singular “Kitten” also appears in the article. Similarly, searching for (“Target” AND “store”) will only pull results where both of those words are mentioned exactly as they are written in the search. An article with “Target” and “stores” would not pull; “store” would need to be mentioned.

Note: Unless otherwise specified, a term can be in the headline or body of an article. To search for a term in only the headline or body of an article, click here.

Even with this guide, we encourage you to reach out to us for additional help. Our experienced team is well-trained in building complex Boolean searches, and can assist by building entire searches or guiding  you through building your own.

The fastest way to reach us directly is through our in-app Help Chat, at the top-right of your screen.

Simple Boolean Operators


The AND operator, used in conjunction with multiple terms, requires that all terms must exist in an article for it to match.

"Target" AND "store" AND "holiday"

This tells Cision to return only those articles that contain all of the words: "Target", "store" and "holiday".


The OR operator broadens the search to include articles that contain one or more of the search terms.

"cell phones" OR "mobile phones"

This tells Cision to return only those articles that contain either/both of the phrase(s): “cell phones” or “mobile phones”.


The NOT operator excludes articles that contain specified terms in the article. 

"Target" NOT "bullseye"

This tells Cision to return only articles that contain “Target” but NOT if the article also has the word “bullseye”.

NOTE: Be careful with how many NOT keywords you use because any keyword affected by the NOT operator always takes priority in the search. For example, if a relevant article contained the word “bullseye” as well as “Target” (e.g. someone talks about purchasing a “bullseye” at the store “Target”), it would NOT pull that article.


In a circumstance where you want to exclude a term, but only when another term is NOT mentioned; you can use “AND NOT” within a NOT string to, essentially, mean “unless.”

(("Microsoft" OR "Microsoft’s"NOT ("Apple" AND NOT "Apple Juice"))

This tells Cision to exclude articles about Microsoft that also mention Apple, except if Apple Juice is also mentioned in the article.

"Quotation Marks"

Quotation marks are used to lock in an order of words as a precise phrase, regardless of case (unless otherwise specified).

"Amazon Prime Now"

This tells Cision to only return articles that contain the phrase “Amazon Prime Now”, whether those words are upper or lowercase. An article that reads, “Amazon and its Prime Now service”, would not pull, unless “Amazon Prime Now” was precisely used elsewhere.

(  ) i.e. nesting

Parentheses are used to group keywords or phrases together to combine several search statements into one search statement.

The search below will first find articles that mention store, or shopping or shoppers. It will then only keep articles that contain the word “Target”. Finally, it will exclude any remaining articles that contain “archery”, or “archer” or “shooting”.

("Target" AND ("store" OR "shopping" OR "shoppers")) NOT ("archery" OR “archer" OR "shooting")

This tells Cision to return only articles that include Target AND “store” OR Target AND “shopping” OR “Target” AND “Shoppers but NOT if “archery”, “archer” or “shooting” exist anywhere in the article.

Headline and Body Boolean Filters


The title: operator searches just the headline of articles and is NOT case sensitive. Some publications may use all capital letters in their headlines, in which case using title: would be optimal as long as capitalization of your term(s) is not a concern.


This tells the platform to return only those articles where the headline includes Cision, regardless of capitalization (e.g. Cision, cision, CISION).


The "headline" operator searches only the headline but is case sensitive. An optimal time to use headline rather than title: is when your proper name includes a common word that isn’t typically capitalized in titles. For example, if you were searching for headline mentions of the Austin company, The Zebra, you may want to require the “T” to be capitalized, so that you are searching for the proper retailer name and not the animal (this still wouldn’t eliminate articles with headlines that start with “The”).

headline:"The Zebra"

This tells the platform to return only articles where “The Zebra” is capitalized in the headline of the article.


The “text:” operator used with a term or phrase locks in the case sensitivity of the term or phrase. The text: operator also tells Cision to only search within the “text” or “body” of the article (not the headline).

text:"Amazon Prime Now"

This tells Cision to only return articles with “Amazon Prime Now” as a phrase, with the A, P, and N, all capitalized.


Like the text: operator, the “content:” operator searches only within the “body” of the article (not the headline). This operator is NOT case sensitive.

content:"Target Red Card"

This tells Cision to only return articles that mention “Target Red Card” as a phrase, regardless of capitalization.


The frequent_terms: filter searches for articles mentioning the term three or more times in the article OR in the headline, including plural forms of the search term. If you wanted to search for Cision, you would add the company name "Cision" after the frequent_terms: filter.


This tells the platform to return only those articles where the term Cision is mentioned three or more times in the headline or body of an article, regardless of capitalization, and will include plural forms of the search term as well (e.g. Cision, cision, CISION, Cisions, Cision's).