Blog Post Five – Persuasion


What is the key difference between persuasion and coercion? Would you use questionable tactics in order to achieve your public relations objective, or is such a strategy beyond the bounds of professional PR? Give an example of what you consider to be an ethical use of persuasion in PR. Give at least two references to illustrate your post (250-300 words only). 

Persuasion verse coercion is a term that can be used to compare tactics (Conley 2004). Bicak (2003) asserts that persuasion and coercion are not polar opposites, but part of a continuum. Members of society will often refer to a social influence attempt that they do not agree with as using coercion; while, if they do support a social influence they will use terms such as persuasion or information campaign to describe it (Pieczka & L’Etang 2006).




There are different levels of persuasion, some being more ethical then others. According to Conely (2004) using persuasion to achieve public relations goals is ethical; however, there is a fine line between persuasion and coercion. It is never ethical to use coercion to achieve a public relations objective (Conely 2004).

There are three methods of using persuasion in an ethical manner:

  • The first is using a credible source; if the message is coming from a person who has more authority or is a popular public figure it is likely that the individual will have a more desirable response to the campaign (CQUniversity 2016).
  • Secondly, the argument must be logical and believable. The message needs to be supported by facts. If there is not statistics to back up what the campaign is trying to achieve, the target public will not be influenced or persuaded by the key message (CQUniversity 2016).
  • Thirdly, the message needs to be relevant to the target public. If the audience cannot relate to the concept then they are not likely to be influenced by the argument (CQUniversity 2016).


The key difference between persuasion and coercion is that the former is a method of discourse that endeavors to convince people without hostility or threats; while, coercion employs fear and threats to achieve an objective (Conley 2004).


p vs c

Source: Slide Share


Bham, A 2012, ‘Persuasion and convincing skills’, Slide Share, Image, viewed 16 May 2016, 

Bicak, P 2003, ‘The Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century (Book)’, Communication Research Trends, vol. 22, no. 3, p. 38.

Conley, T 2004, ‘Globalisation and the Politics of Persuasion and Coercion’, Australian Journal of Social Issues (Australian Council of Social Service), vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 183-200.

CQUniversity 2016, COMM11110 Introduction to Public Relations, Module 7: study guide, CQUniversity, Rockhampton. E-courses, 

Pieczka, M, L’Etang, J 2006, ‘Public Relations: Critical Debates and Contemporary Practice’, e-book, Lawrence Erlbaum associates, New Jersey, Available at

Zazzle n.d, ‘Persuasion vs. Coercion bumper sticker’, Image, viewed 16 May 2016,  




Blog Post Four – Monitoring and Evaluation

What are some of the critical measurements that all PR campaigns should include? How would you measure such things as campaign expenditure, timelines and results? Should this measurement/evaluation take place throughout the campaign or only at the end? Why? Give at least two references to illustrate your post (250-300 words only).

 Evaluation is a critical component of public relations campaigns as it can confirm whether or not the campaign was successful and show financers and management that the campaign has been worthwhile (CQUniversity 2016). Wilcox, Cameron and Reber (2013) suggest that an evaluation should be conducted after each step of the campaign to ensure the strategy is still relevant to the needs of the target public. Through doing this the campaign remains flexible enough to accommodate any unforseen circumstances involving the target public, management or product itself (Wicox et al. 2013).

It is critical to measure the effectiveness of the key message. There are three ways to do this; message exposure, understanding and retention (CQUniversity 2016). These can be measured through using qualitative and quantitative evaluations. Message exposure is a quantitative measure that will result in a numerical value of how many times a message was distributed; however, this will not measure the target publics reaction or understanding of the message (CQUniversity 2016).

The second method of evaluating the key message is measuring message understanding. Both qualitative and quantitative measurement techniques can be used depending on the campaign’s objective. And the final form of measurement is retention – this can be used to compare the target publics understanding before and after the campaign (Wiclox et al. 2013).

According to Watson and Noble (2014) campaign expenditure is a critical element of the evaluation. Financers and managers need to see that the public relations campaign was worth the investment. If the public relations professional can not validate with facts that the campaign has improved the company’s reputation the upper management will not be impressed, potentially leaving the public relations practitioner without future projects (Watson & Noble 2014).




CQUniversity 2016, COMM11110 Introduction to Public Relations, Module 7: study guide, CQUniversity, Rockhampton. E-courses,

Gomes, M 2013, ‘Measurement and evaluation of media coverage – India – Public Relations’, Image, viewed 28 April 2016,

Watson, T, & Noble, P 2014, Evaluating public relations : a guide to planning, research and measurement, London, [England] : Kogan Page, 2014.

Wilcox, DL, Cameron, GT, Reber, B & Shin, J 2013, THINK Public Relations, 2013 edition, Pearson.

Blog Post Three – Key Message

You are acting as a public relations practitioner for (fictitious) non-profit charity “Antipodean Animal Agency”. From the details here write ONE key message.

What is the specific aspect of wildlife conservation that you want to promote in the context of this charity? Who is your target audience/public? Why? Give at least two references to illustrate your post (250-300 words only).

Public relations practitioners develop and then disseminate key messages through news releases, media advisories, fact sheets, speeches, social media, prepared statements and numerous other communication mediums (Courtright & Smudde 2010, p. 68).  A key message is designed to essentially persuade or encourage the targeted public to view an organisation and what it stands for in a favorable light (Carroll et al., 2014, p. 387). A key message is readily and easily observable, and if the target public only remembers one fact from being exposed to the campaign strategy, it should be the key message (Wilcox, et al., 2013).


WIRES is New South Wales largest organisation in the sector of wildlife preservation and boasts over 27 branches across the state (Toyne 2016). It is reasonable to assume that the organisations target public are New South Wales people who are compassionate animal lovers, or perhaps even some interstate wildlife enthusiasts.  An appropriate key message for this organisation is:

‘Antipodean Animal Agency
saves hundreds of animals lives each year, but this is not possible without your valued support. Don turn a blind eye, together we can save more lives.’

Although a written key message can be effective if sent several times, research suggests that 83% of learning is accomplished through sight and 50% of what we actually retain consists of what we see and hear combined (CQUniversity 2016).  For example, if the medium being used to target the public was Facebook I would suggest uploading a video that included the key message verbally and reinforcing it with text and imagery. If using this medium the video would need to be carefully constructed to ensure the noise and busyness of the social media platform does not distract from the message (CQUniversity 2016).

Koala Rescue

Example of an image that could be used to support the written key message.                                    Source: 



Carroll, CE, Huang-Horowitz, NC, McKeever, BW, & Williams, N 2014, ‘Key messages and message integrity as concepts and metrics in communication evaluation’, Journal of Communication Management, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 386-401.

Courtright, P & Smudde, J 2010, ‘Recall communications: Discourse genres, symbolic charging, and message design’, International Journal of Strategic Communication, Vol 4, no. 1, p. 57- 74.

CQUniversity 2016, COMM11110 Introduction to Public Relations, Module 5: study guide, CQUniversity, Rockhampton. E-courses,

Wilcox, DL, Cameron, GT, Reber, B & Shin, J 2013, THINK Public Relations, 2013 edition, Pearson.

Blog Post Two – Planning a Public Relations Campaign

Due to the vast increase in technology the public relations industry is advancing; however, it is still important to recognize and understand the history of public relations planning (Wilcox et al. 2013).  According to Smith (n.d) there are four phases of planning: formative research, strategy, tactics and evaluation; this is is further supported by Luttrell (2013), who suggest following the RACE method. RACE is an acronym for research, action, communication and evaluation.


Source: Carvin Country Schools.


The first phase of research is analyzing the situation, without a clear picture of the issue it is not possible to research relevant information (Smith n.d).  There are four main methods of research: primary, secondary, qualitative and quantitative.  The purpose of collecting data from this research is to ensure that the correct message is communicated to the desired public (Wilcox et al. 2013).



According to Luttrell (2013) this step of the planning process is driven by the information obtained through the research phase.  Action includes the identification of the target public, setting objectives, and seeking out resources for the implementation of strategies and tactics (Luttrell 2013).


According to Luttrell (2013), communication focuses on the responses and implementation of the plan.  In this phase the desired strategy or message is shared with the target public by using a particular tactic.  A tactic is the tool or medium used to deliver the message (Smith 2013).


Evaluation should be carried out through the entire planning process to ensure the campaign will work effectively (Luttrell 2013).  According to Wilcox (2013) results are evaluated against the agreed-upon objectives that are established during planning.  The success of the campaign can be evaluated along three standards: the success justifies the budget, the effectiveness of the program, and whether the objectives have been met (Wilcox 2013).


Luttrell, R 2013, An In-Depth Look at RACE: Creating a Public Relations Plan, 27, Communication Teacher.

Smith, RD 2013, Strategic planning for public relations, Routledge and the Taylor Francis group, Abigon, Oxon, New York City.

Wilcox, D, Cameron, G, Reber, B, Shin, JH 2013, THINK Public Relations, Pearson Education Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, United States of America.

Blog Post One – History of Public Relations

What is the earliest PR campaign you can find? What are the signs that this is to do with PR and not simply advertising? How would this campaign be created today? Why would it be different? Give at least two references to illustrate your post (250-300 words only). 

Edward Bernays established one of the earliest successful public relations campaigns in 1929 (Herman, 2007 p.12).  Bernays’ Torches of Freedom campaign was designed to convince women that smoking cigarettes would be a significant step towards gender equality (St. John, 2011 p. 224).

The Torches of Freedom campaign was not simply advertising.  Prior to this campaign regular advertising had been used to target diverse audiences; however, had only successfully attracted men and lower class women.  Bernays’ campaign was a strategic communication process that built a mutually beneficial relationship between the tobacco company and its public (St. John, 2011 p. 226).  Barneys developed strategies to gain publicity in the media; he didn’t pay to put advertisements in. In 1929, at the peak of the Easter Parade, a young woman stepped out into the crowd and created a scandal by lighting a cigarette.  The incident received extensive coverage because the media had been informed in advance (Herman, 2007 p.12).

This campaign would not be created today; gender equality is a less prominent issue and would not be a powerful enough incentive for women to begin smoking cigarettes.  Furthermore research has shown how detrimental smoking is to people’s health.  However, if it were to be recreated today, social media would play a significant role. In a study conducted by Wright and Hinson (2014) they found that nearly 65 percent of all public relations departments are responsible for the social media presence of their companies.

Furthermore the development of social media gives public relations practitioner’s unprecedented insight into journalists.  According to PR specialist Mia Pearson (2011) social media allows practitioners to build relationships with key journalists and understand how they work.  Such as when they need resources, the way they present stories and how they prefer to work with public relations practitioners.


Photograph: Ronald Grant Archive


Herman, ML 2007, ‘The (R)evolution of Public Relations’, Public Relations Strategist, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 12-15.

Pearson, M 2012, ‘Social media changing how PR and media interact’, The Globe and Mail, 10 December, viewed 18 March 2016,

St. John, B, & Lamme, MO 2011, ‘The evolution of an idea : charting the early public relations ideology of Edward L. Bernays’, Journal of communication management : an international journal, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 223-235.

Wright, DK & Hinson, M 2014, ‘Examining How Social and Other Emerging Media Are Being Used in Public Relations’, Institute for Public Relations, viewed 18 March 2016,