Online PR White Papers and Essays

Perception and Persuasion in Communications

An outline from a lecture that detailed the theory of perception and persuasion and the role of the media in communications.

Do You Know What
They Are Saying About You?

A white paper on the challenges of online newsgroup and Web-page bulletin board monitoring.

Authors:  James L. Horton and Shade Vaughn

Quick Tips for Building Online Newsrooms

13 tips for building an online newsroom that the media will use and appreciate.

Working with Recalcitrant Clients

An essay on a maddening client service challenge that every PR practitioner faces throughout a career.  This is the client who disappears, never answers phone calls, won't talk to you, doesn't seem interested. 

Publicity Metrics Reconsidered

A white paper that examines the state of publicity metrics and proposes a different approach to measuring the value of publicity.   

Announcing a CEO
from the Outside


An essay on the challenges of announcing a CEO recruited into a company.

Trial by IPO

A discussion of communications challenges while a company undergoes an initial public offering.

Controlling Technology

A call to PR practitioners working in new technologies to present breakthroughs accurately.

PR Process Today

A retrospective look at changes in PR service delivery from 1989 to the present.

PR's Double Vision

A discussion of two assumptions that underlie PR and how they will affect the future of the PR business.

The Ethics Question

A discussion of ethical and moral questions facing communicators and what they can do.

The Secret of
Service Marketing

A discussion of the reasons why service marketing fails so often and what practitioners can do to make it succeed.

Learning Online

A discussion of why PR practitioners need to learn online skills.

Tough Publicity

Two ways to find a story about a product, service or idea when there isn't a clear approach.

Digitally Conscious

Speech before conference discussing how to use online in university PR courses.

Nightmare PR

A discussion of how to defend unpopular individuals, organizations or issues.

PR and Blogging

PR and Blogging.  How to think about this web publishing phenomenon as a PR tool.

What does it cost?
Valuing PR Services

Why there will never be a way to define absolute value for PR services.

The Internet Revolution

The Internet revolution has come and come but is still here.  It's just not what we thought it was going to be.

Viral PR?

A discussion of the potential uses of viral marketing techniques in public relations

Hiring Young Talent for
Corporate Communications

A discussion of the challenges facing young PR practitioners who want to work in agency corporate communications.

Keeping in Touch

A discussion of the ways that PR practitioners can stay up to date with the flow of daily news.

PR and the Updated Web Site

 Tips on web site updating.  Why it's important for public relations.

Online Reference Sources

Tips on finding information online when search engines don't help much.

Truth, Facts and Perceptions

A discussion of the mystery behind what PR practitioners do.

Online Public Relations

A PowerPoint presentation discussing online public relations.

PR in a Closed-
Open World

The paradoxical effect of too much information on the practice of PR

Parrying Torts

Thoughts on defending companies that are litigation prone

The More Things Change...

A discussion of recurring themes and how they affect PR


A discussion of invective and vituperation and its role in PR

Marketing and Blogs:
What Works

A discussion of successful and unsuccessful uses of blogging for marketing with references.

Three Roles of PR

A discussion of three distinct roles of PR in relation to audiences.

Publicity Stunts.  What Are They?  Why Use Them?

A discussion of publicity stunts and their role in communication.

Publicist Vs. Counselor

Thoughts on the distinction between publicist and counselor in PR

The Limits of PR

A discussion of what is permissible and what is advisable in Public Relations.

The Corporate Communications Job

Observations on the corporate communications job and its difficulties.

The Control Conundrum

Observations on communications control. 

Persuasion Principles

Observations on Aristotle's work, On Rhetoric, and the lack of communications training among businesspeople.

When Good Deeds Go Bad

Observations on the effects of changing knowledge and culture on organizations.

Uncontrollable Crisis

Observations on devastating uncontrollable crisis and a company's communications tasks.

Cynical Society

An essay on cynicism and its impact on the PR practitioner.

Media Relations: The Basics

A discussion for laypersons that explains media relations.

Network-centric Relationships

A discussion of changes coming to PR from ubiquitous networks, using grocery retailing as the example.


A discussion of conditions in which relationships cannot be built and how to attack the problem.

Reputation Systems

A discussion of computer-scored reputation systems in use on the internet and why they are limited for PR use.

Trust, Reason and Relations

A discussion of the role of trust in human affairs and in communications.

Old Made New

An example of classical rhetoric used in a modern speech to encourage readers to revisit their rhetorical studies

PR in a Dying Business

Considerations for PR practitioners in businesses that are being made obsolete

Public Relations and the Profit Motive

An examination of the principles of PR compared to the profit motive.

CEO Visibility in a
Post-Bubble World

An examination of CEO visibility in light of corporate scandals that have diminished the office.

A Good Speech:
Writing for CEOs

Reflections on speechwriting for CEOs.

Marketers v. Counselors

Discussion of a fundamental misunderstanding between marketers and PR practitioners.

Web-Centric Communications Structure

A discussion of the structural changes to communications departments in organizations where the web has become the primary communications vehicle.

Media Indifference

A discussion of changing media consumption and what PR practitioners need to do to understand how to approach individuals effectively.

The Future of Media Relations

A look forward to how media relations will change over the next five to10 years.

Staying on Message

A discussion and analysis of what PR actually does and what its leadership would like it to do.  The differences are vast and perhaps, permanent.

Corporate Media Relations
Five Questions to Ask

A discussion of the economic value of corporate media relations from the CEO's perspective.

Lying and Transparency

A discussion of the engrained habit of lying among humans and PR's idea of transparency.

Logic and Illogic
Chaos and Control

A discussion of an obvious point about PR that is in danger of being forgotten.  Much of what practitioners confront is outside of business control.

The Internet and Relationship

A discussion of the nature of relationship and the impacts that the internet has had on communications.

Project Management
Software and PR

A look into Project Management Software and its applicability to PR

Data PR

A look at Web 2.0 applications and how they can be used in PR.


A discussion of the of Web 2.0 issue of engagement and how PR fits into it.


A discussion of exposÚs and how to handle them


Thoughts on the next generation of the internet and what it means to PR.

Internet Mobs

A discussion of mob action on the internet

YouTube PR

An analysis of recent use of YouTube by three presidential campaigns.


A brief discussion of this technology.

Working with
Convergence Journalists

A discussion of how to work with journalists who use multimedia.

Online Reference Library

A discussion of the need for and use of an online reference library in PR.

What is PR Today?

An analysis of PRSA's 1982 statement about PR and its relevance.

A Look At
Corporate Blogs - 2007

An analysis of a 15 corporate blogs and blog sites.

Charisma and PR Risks

A look at the PR risks associated with charismatic persons

The Web and the Corporation -
A Survey

A survey of 99 randomly picked web sites from the S&P 500 list of companies to examine their use of  leading-edge media and expanded information.

A Walk In The Cloud

A discussion of how emerging high-speed, broadband computing on the internet is changing how communicators work.

Devolution of Traditional Media

A discussion of the decline of traditional media and how PR should respond.

Bias and PR

A discussion of bias and how PR should avoid it.

Salesmanship in PR

A discussion of media relations at the national and international level

PR and the Bear Market

Quick notes on PR during stress on the economy

The Semantic Web and PR

Explanation of and thoughts about how the Semantic web may help PR

Social Network Analysis and PR

A basic explanation of Social Network analysis and how it can help PR.

Research Note

Research note on press release writing.

Technophobes and Technophiliacs

A discussion of technophobes and technophiliacs in PR.

Junk Surveys and PR

A discussion of surveys and why they are difficult to do.

Training Agency Practitioners

Thoughts from afar on what young agency PR practitioners need to know.

Collaborative PR

Discussion of collaborative PR.

Positioning the
small- to mid-cap company

A discussion of the difficulties of positioning small- to mid-cap companies.

The CEO and
Media Relations

A note on CEOs' attitudes toward media relations.

Rethinking a
Communications Model

An update of the classic communications model for the internet era.

Tips on crafting
a corporate positioning

Tips on crafting a corporate positioning for PR (designed for those who may not have done it.)


A discussion of crowd panic and what PR can do

When business stops

A discussion of marketing for solo practitioners

Budget Cut
PR Budget Template

A case study of a corporate communications budget cut along with a PR and corporate communications budget template.

Recession: A Note

A short note on budget cutting during recessionary times.

Communications in hard times

A discussion of communications during recessions and down-cycles.

New messages for a new era

A discussion of changes in messaging that may needed for a recession.

Communications failure

A discussion of how to analyze communications failures in case form

Working with diminished media

10 quick tips for working with a diminishing number of mainstream media

PR in Defeat

A discussion of what leaders and PR practitioners need to do when there has been a defeat.

The dangers of spin

A discussion of why "Spin" is dangerous and what to do to avoid it.

Poor Advice for
Aspiring PR Practitioners

A short essay on what agencies might look for in juniors today.

The Death of Media Relations?

An essay on the future of media relations with the decline of traditional media.

PR and Social Media

An essay on the tactics for using social media in PR.

Social Media Burnout

There are so many social media now that both readers and users can tire and stop using them.  This discusses how to avoid burnout.


An introductory discussion of Facebook

Social Media Fiction

A discussion of social media networks

Are Corporations
Using Facebook?

A random survey of 33 companies in the Fortune 100 and how they are represented on Facebook.

Note: Zero-Cost PR

A discussion of what it costs to practice PR today.

A Note: Gradgrind PR

About PR, writing style and facts.

Going Direct

A discussion of shrinking media and disintermediation.

Selling a Negative

Thoughts on selling a negative message against the self-interest of constituents.


Quick thoughts on those who never deal with the media.

How Fortune 100 Companies
Use LinkedIn

A survey of how Fortune 100 companies use and recommendations to PR practitioners

Update on How Fortune 100 Corporations use Facebook

A survey of 33 of the top Fortune 100 companies and their use of Facebook.  Table of results for the survey.

The Fortune 100 and Twitter

A survey of 33 of the top Fortune 100 companies and their use of Twitter.  Table of results for the survey


Micro-messaging: A possible future for PR and marketing.  Further discussion of the implications of  IPv6.

PR and Planning

Brief thoughts on PR and planning.

The Craft of Business Writing

A brief essay on what is needed to be a good business writer.

Managing Reputation:
An Opinion

A short reflection of reputation management.

Social Media and

Thoughts on business strategy and social media

First Thoughts on Google+
and PR

Early observations on the use of Google+ for PR


Thoughts on interactive communications with an interactive media guide