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Chapter 7 and 8 Notes

by: runnergal

Chapter 7 and 8 Notes JOUR 201


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About this Document

These notes cover what was discussed in chapters 7 and 8 of the textbook.
Principles of Public Relations
Dr. Brooke McKeever
Class Notes
journalism, public relations
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by runnergal on Friday October 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to JOUR 201 at University of South Carolina taught by Dr. Brooke McKeever in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Principles of Public Relations in Journalism at University of South Carolina.


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Date Created: 10/07/16
Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 Notes Chapter 7: Action and Communication  Public Relations in Action o PR has always included communication with publics, but the internet has altered old forms of media and introduced new forms of media. o PR professionals implement actions and then collect feedback from publics. o Influencing Management Decisions  PR professionals need to fully understand specific communication strategies and organizational dynamics in order to implement a communication and/or restructuring program successfully. o Diffusing Information  Diffusion of information: spreading relevant information to important publics. New ideas/information are then adopted by these publics.  Selecting a Target Audience  Primary public: a group of people at which the action is directed.  Intervening public: a group of people that directly communicates with the primary public.  Moderating public: a group of people that share a common cause and can influence the primary public. These groups of people often have high ethos with the surrounding community in their fields of study, ex. the New York Times or National Geographic.  Latent public: a group of people that is not aware of the need to act.  Aware public: a group of people that understands the problem but doesn’t know how/doesn’t want to act.  Active public: a group of people that understands the problem and acts on it.  Primary, intervening, and moderating publics are the groups of people that PR professionals are most concerned about in regards to effective communication.  Critical Paths  People are influenced to change through: 1. Awareness: people gain knowledge of the idea, often spread through mass media. 2. Interest: people become attracted to the idea and try to find out more information about it. 3. Evaluation: people begin to relate the idea to situations in their own lives. 4. Trials: people apply the idea in situations in their own lives. 5. Adoption: people regularly apply the idea in their own lives once it become apparent that the idea is worth it.  Channels of Influence  Mass media: print and electronic media, like newspapers, magazines, TV, Twitter, etc.  Biased intermediaries: people that benefit from the adoption of an idea, like companies.  Unbiased third parties: groups or individuals with ethos, like the government.  Significant others: people that are liked by the potential adopters.  Personal experience: actual encounter with and use of the idea.  Mass media works best with awareness and interest.  Significant others and third parties work best with evaluation and trial.  Personal experience works best with adoption. o Facilitating the Adoption Process  Pressure and Special Interest Groups  Two-step information theory: specific people in every community are opinion leaders. If the opinion leaders can be convinced to adopt an idea, then the opinion leader will influence others in the community to adopt the idea.  Two-step information theory is regarded as too simple now; there are more types of people than just leaders and followers.  Multi-step flow theory: there are many opinion leaders who influence other opinion leaders and the small circles of people most connected to each opinion leader.  Stakeholder Analysis  Stakeholders: people that have an interest, like money or benefits, in an organization.  Stakeholder analysis: separates people into different publics based on predetermined characteristics.  Stakeholder management approach: 1) determine who the action is targeted towards; 2) determine what the action is; 3) set a goal; and 4) determine how each element fits into this plan.  Actions for different publics are planned separately. o Designing the Public Relations Matrix  Each public and action category (ex. news releases, advertising, etc.) requires a different message, often through different media.  The Practitioner as a Communicator o Writing is a very important skill to have as a PR professional, since all messages and research begin with words. o Principles of Effective Writing  Packaging Ideas  Short sentences are easier for audiences to understand.  Short sentences usually only comprise of one idea.  The average sentence should be short (about 17 words).  Pyramid Power  Inverted pyramid style of writing: the lead paragraphs are the longest with the most important information; the body of the article is shorter with less important details; and the concluding paragraphs are the shortest. o Media Selection  In order to communicate a message effectively, a PR practitioner must choose the most effective form of media to communicate the message.  Controlled media: where a PR professional decides what information is placed in the message, ex. press releases, company websites, advertising, etc.  Uncontrolled media: where a PR professional has no control over what information is presented and how that information is presented, ex. TV, radio, newspapers, etc. o Social Media and “Buzz”  Social media allows consumers to talk about and interact with a brand.  Social media often references traditional media – newspapers aren’t dead!  To build relationships with publics through the internet: 1. Create mediums, like Twitter, Facebook, or website pages, where consumers can interact with your brand. 2. Make sure the information on those pages is useful and easy to find. 3. Generate return visits to these mediums through forums, polls, etc. 4. Make the medium easy to use. 5. Make sure the users stay on your site; don’t post too many links to other sites.  To start a corporate blog: 1. Figure out the business’s main goal for the blog. 2. Know how to use the blog effectively. 3. Consistently update the blog. 4. Know the legal ramifications of creating and using a blog.  PR professionals use advertising to: 1. Cultivate public awareness of an organization. 2. Improve an organization’s reputation. 3. Publicize an organization’s stance on an issue. 4. Pull a product line together. 5. Improve relationships with consumers.  Audiences  PR professionals must first determine the primary/target audience when creating a PR campaign.  PR professionals must then choose the most effective media for communicating the message to the target audience.  Timing  Some media take longer than others to reach an audience. For example, advertisements in magazines must be approved by the magazine, while a tweet can reach an audience instantaneously.  Budgets  Budgets limit media selection; PR professionals must work within their specific budgets.  How to be Heard o A message must pass through four stages in order to be heard: attention, understanding, retention, and action. o Attention (Selective Attention)  Selective attention: people only pay attention to a few messages per day, especially when considering how many messages are targeted at people every day.  PR practitioners therefore need to attract people’s attention.  PR professionals can attract people’s attention through building the organization’s reputation, content, and mechanics (timing, setting, etc.). o Understanding (Selective Perception)  Understanding: if and how people perceive ideas.  Messages are more easily understood by the target audience if the PR professional tries to understand the audience’s frame of reference/selective perceptions. o Retention and Action (Selective Action)  People will retain the idea and act on it if they can answer these questions:  Is it simple to try with little/no risk?  Is it attuned to my values, beliefs, needs, and attitudes?  What’s in it for me?  Is it simple to remember and do?  Can I see the consequences of my actions?  Is my action reinforced by positive messages? Chapter 8: Evaluating Public Relations Effectiveness  Evaluation for Public Relations Programs and Activities o Research is very important when evaluating the effectiveness of PR campaigns.  Traditional Evaluation o PR effectiveness used to be measured in output, ex. how many press releases, how many views on a video, etc. o The traditional method of evaluation does not measure cost-effectiveness or suggest opportunities for improvement. o New evaluation methods analyze three different part of a PR campaign: preparation, implementation, and impact.  The Need for Evaluation Research o Evaluation can be in any part of a PR campaign. o Implementation checking: determine if the messages are actually reaching the target audience. Also determine if any current strategies have strayed from the original plan, and if so, how the organization should correct that. o In-progress monitoring: conduct formative evaluation: review and/or modify any actions currently being taken in the campaign based on the results of those actions. o Outcome evaluation: conduct summative evaluation: compare objectives and results, taking into consideration previous evaluations. o Organizations should constantly be completing research and evaluations on the organizations and its campaigns. o Research allows PR professionals to demonstrate their effectiveness and value in the organization.  Measuring the Worth of Public Relations Efforts o Measurements That Matter  Media coverage and impact: how much favorable news coverage the organization gets. Not just the number of views, impressions, etc.  Event measurements: amount of increase in positive media coverage due to participation in an event.  Word of mouth and social media: amount and tone of person-to-person exchanges.  Web-based messages: track number of page views and new visitors.  Corporate reputation enhancement: use marketing-mix models to determine how campaigns affect an organization’s reputation. o Measurement Strategies  PR practitioners need to know their relationships with media, the number of people their messages reach, the impact of those messages, which media communicates those messages, and the value of PR for the organization.  Measurement by Objectives 1. Work group involvement: all members of the group should help set the objectives. 2. Manager-subordinate involvement: each employee should speak with his/her manager to set personal objectives within the overall objectives and define the employees’ personal roles. 3. Determination of intermediate objectives: set middle objectives that will help the team reach its overall objectives. This allows for more evaluation. 4. Determination of measures of achievement: the conclusion of the campaign should be defined by a time limit or the completion of a specific objective. 5. Review, evaluation, and recycling: use information from this campaign to prepare for the next campaign.  Impact Analysis  Audience coverage: determine if they target audiences were reached by documenting what messages were sent where and documenting which press releases were used and by whom they were used. Can also use readership surveys and rating information, often translated into dollar values, to determine if the target audience was reached.  Audience response: use research, like readability studies, to pretest target audience’s responses to messages. Can use surveys to track audience’s response to media that cannot be pretested, ex. press releases.  Campaign impact: measure attitudinal benefits of the campaign as a whole using pretests and posttests as well as direct consumer responses (ex. calls, letters, etc.) in regards to the campaign.  Environmental mediation: use focus groups to interpret campaign effectiveness in light of historical, cultural, and political events. o Sources of Measurement Error  Volume is not equal to results: 3x of the media does not equal 3x of the results.  Attitude is not behavior: favorable attitudes do not automatically produce desired behavior. Just because an audience likes an organization does not mean they will actively support it.  Effort is not knowledge: lots of effort expended by PR practitioners does not meant that the audience will gain lots of knowledge. After a certain point, it is harder for an audience to gain more knowledge about a certain subject/organization.  Estimate is not measurement: PR practitioners need specific numbers to back up the value of their efforts; experience and intuition alone are no longer valid in this field.  Knowledge is not favorable attitudes: when audiences gain knowledge, that does not mean that they have gained favorable attitudes.  Samples must be representative: a survey of the target audience is not valid if the people/subjects in the survey do not accurately represent the demographics, attitudes, beliefs, etc. of the target audience.  Closed-System Evaluation o Closed-system evaluation: evaluates the messages, events, and their effects planned for an organization’s campaign. Helps test messages for potential problems before they are released to the general public. o Pretest/Posttest Design 1. Productions: figure out all of the materials that will be used in the PR campaign and then calculate the monetary and time costs. 2. Distribution: figure which media will communicate the message. 3. Interest: determine what kinds of people consume which kinds of media. Also determine at what times people consume different types of media. 4. Reach: determine which messages are reaching which types of audiences. 5. Understanding: use readability studies to determine if the audience can understand the message. 6. Attitudes: measure attitudinal changes, often through a pretest/posttest assessment. o Disadvantages of the Closed-System Method  Just became the message was transmitted and attitudes became more favorable does not mean that the campaign’s goals were reached.  The effect of the campaign can be influenced by environmental effects like historical, cultural, and political events.  Open-System Evaluation o Open-system evaluation: considers outside effects when evaluating a campaign. Good for long-term campaigns and projects. o Researchers should collect environmental data and internal (organizational) climate data. o The Short-Term and Continuing Approaches  Short-term and continuing approaches can use either closed-system evaluation or open-system evaluation.  Long-term campaigns work best with continuing, open-system evaluation; this allows for correction and repositioning during the campaign.


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