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Introducing Public Relations

Introducing Public Relations
Theory and Practice

February 2011 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Introducing Public Relations is your guide to the basics of public relations: where it came from, what it means and what issues the industry faces today. It takes readers from the origins of PR all the way to the newest theoretical debates, explaining along the way the changes and development of the role of the PR practitioner. With interviews and 'day in the life' examples from a wide range of professionals in the industry, students will learn what PR practitioners do, what they think, and how the industry really works. Putting the student first, this book:

  • Gives grounded, critical coverage of the history and theory of public relations, so students understand not just the what but the how and why
  • Covers all aspects of public relations in practice, from in-house and consultancies to government, sport, NGO and corporate PR
  • Packs each chapter packed with case studies, anecdotes from the field, and career advice from expert PR professionals
  • Helps easy revision with exercises, summaries, and checklists

Highly accessible and engaging, there is no better headstart to understanding what PR is all about. It is the perfect text for any students encountering public relations theory and practice for the first time.

Introducing the Theory
Chapter 1: The Origins of Public Relations
Public Relations: One or Many Definitions?

Where PR Comes From and Why History Matters

The Early Years: Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays

International Growth

The History of PR in the UK

Theory: Why Some Campaigns Work and Some Don't

Communication Theory

Laswell's Communication Model

Linear Model

Two-Step Communication Model

Mass Audience

Target Audience


The Four Models of Grunig and Hunt

The Press Agentry/Publicity Model

The Public Information Model

The Two-Way Asymmetric Model

The Two-Way Symmetric Model

The Excellence Project

Chapter 2: Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations - Similarities and Differences Explored and Explained
Why Marketing Matters

Market-Led Companies

Product-Led Companies

The Marketing Mix

Social Marketing

New Forms of Marketing

Advertising: Good or Evil?

How is PR Different to Advertising?

Advertising Agents and PR Consultants

Marketing PR

Chapter 3: Reputation Management
What is a Good Reputation?

The Relationship between PR and Reputation

Advocating Reputation Management

Acquiring a Good Reputation

Factors Involved in Developing Good Reputation

Online Reputation Management

Against Reputation Management

A 'Wrong' Industry: How an Industry's Reputation Affects Businesses

Chapter 4: Crisis Management - Public Relations Centre Stage
What Is a Crisis?

The Crisis Communication Plan

The Plan

The Management Team

The Communication Process

The Post-Crisis Evaluation

Handling a Crisis

The 2005 London Bombings

The Buncefield Fire

Issues Management

Chapter 5: Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics
Front Organisations

Why Ethics is Becoming More Important to PR

Advocacy and the Adviser-Client Relationship

Does PR Corrupt the Media?

The Ethics of Individuals

Codes and Conducts

The Ethics of Businesses

Four Traditions

Moral Evaluations

Ethics and the Multinational Company

Business is Business: Is CSR Welcome at All?

Business is Business: Is it Worth the Hype?

Social Corporate Responsibility

Environmental Corporate Responsibility

Sustainable Objectives

Is Corporate Social Responsibility Just PR in Disguise?

Delivering CSR

Chapter 6: Introducing the Practice
Public Relations Practice in the UK

The Business of PR

The People in PR

Recruiting and Keeping Staff

Chapter 7: Public Relations In-House
Who Does What?

The PR Practitioner as Gatekeeper

Comparing In-House and External Consultants

Internal Communications

Organizational Culture: Who Are 'the Company'?

Channels of Communication

Measuring the Effect of Communications

Chapter 8: Public Relations Consultancies
Types of Consultancy

Categories of Consultancy

'Agency' or 'Consultancy': Does it Matter?

Professionalisation of the Industry

Services Offered by Consultancies

Winning New Business

The Brief

The Pitch

Managing the Account: Who Does What?

Client Satisfaction



Chapter 9: Strategy, Research, Measurement and Evaluation
Structuring a PR Programme


Defining PR Problems and Issues

SWOT and PEST Analyses


Measurement and Evaluation


Opportunities to See (OTS)

Advertising Value Equivalence (AVE)

Payment by Results (PBR)

Electronic Evaluation

Chapter 10: Putting Effective PR Campaigns into Practice
Tactics: The Building Blocks of PR Campaigns

Journalists and Public Relations: Hacks and Flacks

Media Relations in the PR Campaign

Writing the News Release

Distributing the News Release

Targeting the Right People

Managing the Data

Ensuring Media Coverage

Dealing with the Media

The Features List

Media Training

Press Conferences

Electronic Channels of Communication

Online Media

Blogs: Are They the Future of PR?


Chapter 11: Corporate Communications and Financial PR
What Is Corporate Communications?

The History of Financial PR

Financial PR Consultancies

Financial Calendar Work

Profit Warnings and the Unexpected

Investor Relations

Initial Public Offerings

Financial Audiences


The Financial Media

Chapter 12: Government and the Public Sector
Social Marketing

Government Communications

Local Government

Restricting or Helping? Public Sector PR as Gatekeeper

Central Government Communication


How Political Parties are Changing Political Communication

Political Lobbying

The Origins of Lobbying

Lobbying Companies

Is Lobbying Effective?

Is Lobbying Ethical?

Chapter 13: From Charities to Celebrities - The Variety and Diversity of PR Practice
Charities and Campaigning Organisations

How Charities Campaign




Media Relations in Sport

Channels of Communication

Community Relations in Sport

Chapter 14: Where PR (and You) Can Go Next
The Changing PR Landscape

Industry Challenges and Opportunities

Getting Started in PR


A very well written book with great examples from the industry (mostly UK-based), including interviews with industry specialists. The author connects theory and practice very well and makes the PR job sound interesting and diverse.
This book is simple enough to be understood by 2nd year BA students. However, because it has many case studies from the UK, it is not 100% relevant to the PR industry of mainland Europe. (For example a case study on Cadbury's chocolate is difficult to follow, as this chocolate is not sold in Germany). I will hence put this book on the list of recommended supplemental reading.

Ms Olga Mitterfellner
Mode Management, Mediadesign Hochschule
June 26, 2015

This is an introductory book that assists students who are new to the field of public relations. By intertwining theory, concepts and models with case studies and practitioner quotations, first year students are encouraged to not only understand what public relations is but why and how the tools and tactics of public relations should be utilized.

Mrs Stephanie Goodwin
Communication, Marketing and Public Relations, University of Central Lancashire
April 2, 2014

Will be considered for next year as obligatory reading.

Mrs Camilla Nothhaft
Department of Strategic Communication, Lund University
June 20, 2013

The book was adopted as main textbook last academic year. However, the content was found to be less organized and over simplified when compared to other textbook.

Miss Olivine Lo
School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
May 31, 2013

Strong industry contributions. Student friendly text makes PR and wider communication concepts easy to understand.

Mr Paul Simpson
Business School, Greenwich University
May 30, 2013

Lacked sufficient academic referencing/evidence base - largely practice orientated. Might suit Year 1 students.

Mr Grant Thoms
School of Arts & Creative Industries, Edinburgh Napier University
August 9, 2012

A refreshing new approach for an introductory text to public relations theory and practice.

Mr Grant Thoms
School of Arts & Creative Industries, Edinburgh Napier University
August 9, 2012

Accessible and engaging introduction.

Dr Gauti Sigthorsson
Communication and Creative Arts, Greenwich University
May 8, 2012

This book is useful to provide a basic and practically oriented overview of the field at the undergraduate level.

Dr Mafalda Stasi
Department of Media and Communication, Coventry University
April 15, 2012

For a quick readable overview of the field, this new book is hard to beat.

Dr Catherine Sweet
Communications , Southampton Solent University
December 20, 2011

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2

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