Topic Name Description
Course Introduction Page Course Syllabus
Page Course Terms of Use
Unit 1: Foundations of Public Relations Page Unit 1 Learning Outcomes
1.1: Key Innovations and Founding Figures in the Development of Public Relations URL The Economist: "Rise of the Image Men”

Read this entire article which provides insightful analysis of the beginnings, evolution, and current state of the public relations industry. Note in particular the roles played by public relations innovators Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays, both former journalists who applied their communication skills to shaping public opinion through the news media on behalf of their clients. Also, notice how PR practitioners have sought to evolve from more than just a "mouthpiece” to participating in high-level decision-making, such as in the case of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

URL Mastering Public Relations: "Chapter 1: The Importance of Public Relations”

Read Chapter 1  from the text, Mastering Public Relations, for a foundational introduction to the definitions and functions of public relations.

URL Mastering Public Relations: "Chapter 2: What Is Public Relations?”

Read Chapter 2 from the text, Mastering Public Relations, for a foundational introduction to the definitions and functions of public relations.

Page Wikipedia's "Public Relations”

Review this useful Wikipedia article for an overview of the history, definitions, and methods of public relations. It is not necessary to digest the entire article, but it serves well as a touch point as the course delves into the finer aspect of successful public relations practices. As you read this overview, which describes key figures and the evolution of public relations, compare the piece with the earlier assigned article "Rise of the Image Men” for additional insights into PR practices and practitioners. You may also research the role of Doris Fleishman as one of the early women influencing the development of public relations.

URL All About Public Relations: Steve Simon's "Traditional PR Still Remains Strong”

Read this article prepared by long-time public relations executives. While considering the contemporary changes in public relations practices, these pieces help to consider how much of a PR practitioner's work remains grounded in fundamental traditions and methods.

URL All About Public Relations: Peter Granat's "A Recipe for Marketing Success”

Read this article prepared by long-time public relations executives. While considering the contemporary changes in public relations practices, these pieces help to consider how much of a PR practitioner's work remains grounded in fundamental traditions and methods.

1.2: New Directions in Public Relations URL All About Public Relations: Marsha Friedman's "The Past, Present and Future of Public Relations”

Read these articles which provide practitioners' insights into the changing environment of public relations. In the first reading, agency owner Marsha Friedman interviews Al Ries, an international marketing expert and author. This interview covers case studies in traditional marketing and PR campaigns. In this interview, Friedman and Ries discuss how changing times have modified a professional's focus. In the second reading, public relations executive Blake Miller describes the changing strategies for challenging times in the field.

URL All About Public Relations: Blake Miller's "The New Rules for Public Relations”

Read these articles which provide practitioners' insights into the changing environment of public relations. In the first reading, agency owner Marsha Friedman interviews Al Ries, an international marketing expert and author. This interview covers case studies in traditional marketing and PR campaigns. In this interview, Friedman and Ries discuss how changing times have modified a professional's focus. In the second reading, public relations executive Blake Miller describes the changing strategies for challenging times in the field.

1.3: Unit 1 Discussion URL Saylor Academy's Discourse Forum

After you review the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well. If you do not yet have a Discourse account, you can create one here, free of charge.

  1. How do the historical foundations of public relations apply to current day news? Please share some examples.
  2. How might the role of public relations fit within a larger marketing campaign?
  3. How do you think developments in social media are impacting the field of public relations?
Unit 2: Public Relations Components and Planning Page Unit 2 Learning Outcomes
2.1: Essential Components of Public Relations Planning URL Mastering Public Relation: "Chapter 3: Models and Approaches to Public Relations”

Read Chapter 3 from the text, Mastering Public Relations, for an introduction to the practical functions of public relations.

2.1.1: Public Relations Primer URL Steven R. Van Hook's Media and Public Relations: A Primer

Please click on the link above and visit this interactive resource. You should briefly review each of the primer modules (Modules 1-8), and make a note of any resources or templates you may find especially useful. These resources and templates may be useful at a future date as you undertake a public relations campaign. We will refer back to this primer elsewhere in the course for specific examples supporting subunit topics ahead, but for now it provides a useful overview of the public relations craft and some tools at its disposal. This primer was prepared to help government and business leaders in the former Soviet Union make the transition from a centralized system to a market environment, where they were expected to interact with a freer and more independent media. The concept of "public and media relations” was new to many of these leaders, so this primer provides a fundamental overview of the basic ideas and tools of PR.

2.1.2: Fundamental Terms and Concepts URL Steven R. Van Hook's "Marketing Fundamentals”

Please click on the link above and watch the video, which summarizes the fundamentals of marketing terminology and practices. Many of the terms and concepts found in public relations are rooted in the foundations and traditions of marketing. Please pay extra attention to the key concepts of targeting, positioning, demographics, and segmentation. These topics are critical when defining public relations audiences and the methods to reach them. You may read along with the transcript linked here (PDF).

2.2.1: Preparing the Public Relations Plan URL All About Public Relations: Craig Miyamoto's "How to Write a Comprehensive Public Relations Plan”

Read this excellent primer on crafting a PR plan.

2.2.2: Public Relations Planning Primers URL All About Public Relations: Steve Le Vine's "Public Relations: Your Saving Grace?”

Read this article by PR agency founder Steven Le Vine. He provides a 5-point overview of key concepts a practitioner must keep in mind when planning a public relations campaign. 

URL All About Public Relations: Pari Noskin Taichert's "Plan It: A Four-Point PR Primer”

Read Pari Noskin Taichert's brief summary of the four initial steps for preparing a public relations plan.

2.3: Unit 2 Discussion URL Saylor Academy's Discourse Forum

Instructions: After you review the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well. If you do not yet have a Discourse account, you can create one here, free of charge.

  1. What seems to be the most important aspects of preparing a public relations plan?
  2. Which marketing concepts may especially apply to effective public relations campaigns?
  3. If you are undertaking your own public relations campaign currently or in the future, please share any aspects of your planning process.
Unit 3: Key Target Audiences Page Unit 3 Learning Outcomes
3.1: Publics and Demographics URL Mastering Public Relations: "Chapter 7: Identifying and Prioritizing Stakeholders and Publics”

Read Chapter 7 from the text, Mastering Public Relations, for descriptions of the steps in identifying the publics with which you will want to build beneficial relationships. Pay attention to the definitions of stakeholders and publics, their linkages to an organization, the ways publics may behave, and the useful public relations case study of how a company sought to build its corporate headquarters in a prestigious neighborhood.

URL Steven R. Van Hook's "Who Are Your Publics?”

Watch the video on publics and demographics.  Among the most important aspects of a communication campaign is forming a clear picture of just who the targeted audience is. This video helps describe key publics, demographics, and segments we should identify early in our communication planning. You may read along with the transcript linked here.

3.2: International and Global Demographic Research Resources URL Steven R. Van Hook's How-To Marketing: "Marketing Research Resources”

Review this international research resource for connections to domestic and global demographic data including gender, age, income, national profiles, and company reports. Among the most useful for international campaigns are the CIA World Factbook and the Economist Country Briefings, which provide extensive demographic, economic, and political detail on nations around the world. Please share any useful findings by posting to the course discussion board.

3.3: Formulating Messages for Diverse Demographics URL All About Public Relations: Eddie Velez's "For Best Promotion, Think Human Nature”

Read these articles by public relations experts who specialize in connecting with diverse audiences. The articles cover topics such as understanding the psychology of your target, the importance of skilled cross-cultural communications in a global marketplace, and the effectiveness of bringing passion and zeal to your communications. Two of the articles consider the varied and challenging environments you might encounter working in different countries (such as Turkey and Brazil).

URL All About Public Relations: CR 'Cataunya' Ransom's "Launching a Multicultural PR Campaign”

Read these articles by public relations experts who specialize in connecting with diverse audiences. The articles cover topics such as understanding the psychology of your target, the importance of skilled cross-cultural communications in a global marketplace, and the effectiveness of bringing passion and zeal to your communications. Two of the articles consider the varied and challenging environments you might encounter working in different countries (such as Turkey and Brazil).

URL All About Public Relations: Neil Payne's "Public Relations across Cultures”

Read these articles by public relations experts who specialize in connecting with diverse audiences. The articles cover topics such as understanding the psychology of your target, the importance of skilled cross-cultural communications in a global marketplace, and the effectiveness of bringing passion and zeal to your communications. Two of the articles consider the varied and challenging environments you might encounter working in different countries (such as Turkey and Brazil).

URL All About Public Relations: N. Chandramouli's "Putting Passion in Public Relations”

Read these articles by public relations experts who specialize in connecting with diverse audiences. The articles cover topics such as understanding the psychology of your target, the importance of skilled cross-cultural communications in a global marketplace, and the effectiveness of bringing passion and zeal to your communications. Two of the articles consider the varied and challenging environments you might encounter working in different countries (such as Turkey and Brazil).

URL All About Public Relations: Feray Alpay's "Technology Public Relations in Turkey”

Read these articles by public relations experts who specialize in connecting with diverse audiences. The articles cover topics such as understanding the psychology of your target, the importance of skilled cross-cultural communications in a global marketplace, and the effectiveness of bringing passion and zeal to your communications. Two of the articles consider the varied and challenging environments you might encounter working in different countries (such as Turkey and Brazil).

URL All About Public Relations: Fernanda Di Franco's "The Art of Media Relations in Brazil”

Read these articles by public relations experts who specialize in connecting with diverse audiences. The articles cover topics such as understanding the psychology of your target, the importance of skilled cross-cultural communications in a global marketplace, and the effectiveness of bringing passion and zeal to your communications. Two of the articles consider the varied and challenging environments you might encounter working in different countries (such as Turkey and Brazil).

URL Steven R. Van Hook's "Transcultural Communications”

Watch the video on international communication tactics, using themes and images that transcend cultural differences. If you publish a website, then you are positioned to reach a global audience. English may connect us in global business with a common language, but we still need to be sensitive to cultural differences.  You may read along with the transcript linked here (PDF).

3.4: Unit 3 Discussions URL Saylor Academy's Discourse Forum

Instructions: After you review the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well. If you do not yet have a Discourse account, you can create one here, free of charge.

  1.  What are some of the key publics you have worked with, or plan to work with, in your professional communications?
  2. What useful websites and tools did you find in your investigation of research resources?
  3. What nations and cultures have you worked with? How are they different and similar to one another?

Unit 4: Media Relations Page Unit 4 Learning Outcomes
4.1: Traditional and New Media Outlets URL Steven R. Van Hook's Media and Public Relations Primer, Module 3: "Understanding the Media”

The Media and Public Relations Primer referenced earlier in the course provides a useful overview of the craft and tools used by PR practitioners. Please revisit the primer, and focus on module 3, which features a summary of criteria that editors and reporters may use in deciding which stories to cover and provides a brief overview of characteristics particular to specific media.

URL All About Public Relations: Joanna Lulesa's "Plugging in New PR Technologies”

Read these articles written by public relations experts specializing media relations. These articles address the changes underway in the field, which are affected by evolving technologies, social media, and the adaptations by mainstream media.

URL All About Public Relations: Diana Ennen's "Social Networking Changes Everything”

Read these articles written by public relations experts specializing media relations. These articles address the changes underway in the field, which are affected by evolving technologies, social media, and the adaptations by mainstream media.

URL All About Public Relations: Marsha Friedman's "How do Mainstream Media Use Social Media?”

Read these articles written by public relations experts specializing media relations. These articles address the changes underway in the field, which are affected by evolving technologies, social media, and the adaptations by mainstream media.

URL All About Public Relations: Mark Macias' "Why Marketing Campaigns Must Have Video”

Read these articles written by public relations experts specializing media relations. These articles address the changes underway in the field, which are affected by evolving technologies, social media, and the adaptations by mainstream media.

URL All About Public Relations: Scott Lorenz's "How to Harness the Power of YouTube”

Read these articles written by public relations experts specializing media relations. These articles address the changes underway in the field, which are affected by evolving technologies, social media, and the adaptations by mainstream media.

4.2.1: Attracting Media Attention URL All About Public Relations: Marsha Friedman's "How to Get the Media Interested in You”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. These articles cover the topics of attracting the attention of busy assignment editors and winning more play in print and broadcast media.

URL All About Public Relations: John P. David's "Want the Media's Attention?”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. These articles cover the topics of attracting the attention of busy assignment editors and winning more play in print and broadcast media.

URL All About Public Relations: Robert Bernarduci's "Want More Media Coverage?”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. These articles cover the topics of attracting the attention of busy assignment editors and winning more play in print and broadcast media.

URL All About Public Relations: Marsha Friedman's "How to Assess PR Campaign Results”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. These articles cover the topics of attracting the attention of busy assignment editors and winning more play in print and broadcast media.

URL Steven R. Van Hook's "Communication Appeals & Tactics”
Please click on the link above and watch this video, which presents basic appeals and tactics for effective communications. This video answers questions about how to get someone's attention and what to do if you manage to catch it. Remember that though you are going through the media's gatekeeping editors and reporters, it is ultimately their audiences you are trying to reach. Have an appeal that works for their audience, and the media will help you do that. You may read along with the transcript linked here.
4.2.2: The Media Release URL All About Public Relations: Bill Stoller's "Press Releases for Every Occasion”

Read these four articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. These articles cover key topics such as formulating your message for specific occasions, events and circumstances justifying a media release, effective alternatives to media releases, and how to tailor your release to specific media.

URL All About Public Relations: Scott Lorenz's "Fifty-Five Reasons to Send out a Release”

Read these four articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. These articles cover key topics such as formulating your message for specific occasions, events and circumstances justifying a media release, effective alternatives to media releases, and how to tailor your release to specific media.

URL All About Public Relations: B.L. Ochman's "Press Releases Are a Colossal Waste of Time”

Read these four articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. These articles cover key topics such as formulating your message for specific occasions, events and circumstances justifying a media release, effective alternatives to media releases, and how to tailor your release to specific media.

URL All About Public Relations: Steve Turner's "How to Get Better Media Coverage”

Read these four articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. These articles cover key topics such as formulating your message for specific occasions, events and circumstances justifying a media release, effective alternatives to media releases, and how to tailor your release to specific media.

URL Steven R. Van Hook's Media and Public Relations Primer, Module 4: "Effective Media Releases, Kits & Conferences”

The Media and Public Relations Primer referenced earlier in the course provides a useful overview of the craft and tools used by PR practitioners. Please revisit the primer, and focus on module 4 to learn how to pitch to the news media. Be sure to click on the embedded links to sample media release formats.

4.2.3: Pitching Your Story URL All About Public Relations: Arit Essien's "How to Pitch Best for Media Placements”

Read these four articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. These articles cover the important topics of how to best pitch your story to a busy editor or reporter and how to stand out among the pile of other story pitches you need to compete against.

URL All About Public Relations: Regine J. Nelson's "The Art of Pitching to the Media”

Read these four articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. These articles cover the important topics of how to best pitch your story to a busy editor or reporter and how to stand out among the pile of other story pitches you need to compete against.

URL All About Public Relations: Mark Macias' "How to Pitch Stories Like a Journalist”

Read these four articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. These articles cover the important topics of how to best pitch your story to a busy editor or reporter and how to stand out among the pile of other story pitches you need to compete against.

URL All About Public Relations: Marsha Friedman's "How to Be a Print Reporter's Best Pick”

Read these four articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. These articles cover the important topics of how to best pitch your story to a busy editor or reporter and how to stand out among the pile of other story pitches you need to compete against.

4.2.4: Presenting Yourself to the Media URL All About Public Relations: John Millen's "Simple Techniques for Media Interviews”

Read these articles written by public relations experts who specialize in relations with news media.

URL All About Public Relations: Jim Cameron's "Making the Most of Your Media Interviews”

Read these articles written by public relations experts who specialize in relations with news media.

URL All About Public Relations: Marsha Friedman's "Tips for Taking on Tough Talk Radio”

Read these articles written by public relations experts who specialize in relations with news media.

URL All About Public Relations: Marsha Friedman's "How to Make Sure the Camera Loves You”

Read these articles written by public relations experts who specialize in relations with news media.

URL All About Public Relations: Scott Lorenz's "What to Wear for a Television Interview”

Read these articles written by public relations experts who specialize in relations with news media.

URL Steven R. Van Hook's Media and Public Relations Primer: "Preparing for Media Interviews”

The Media and Public Relations Primer referenced earlier in the course provides a useful overview of the craft and tools used by PR practitioners. Please click on the link above, and study module 5. This module addresses the ten steps in preparing for media interviews, the types of reporters you might meet, and three interview mistakes people often make.

4.2.5: Maintaining Media Relationships Page All About Public Relations: Jonathan Bernstein's "When the Media Go Too Far”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. The writers discuss best tactics for maintaining healthy relations with editors and reporters so you have established credibility and respect the next time you pitch them with a story. Pay extra attention to the article "When the Media Go Too Far,” so you have some steps to follow in case of a media relationship turning sour.

URL All About Public Relations: Charlotte Tomic's "Ten Core Media Relations Strategies”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. The writers discuss best tactics for maintaining healthy relations with editors and reporters so you have established credibility and respect the next time you pitch them with a story. Pay extra attention to the article "When the Media Go Too Far,” so you have some steps to follow in case of a media relationship turning sour.

URL All About Public Relations: Vicky Gallion's "Winning the PR Media Game”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. The writers discuss best tactics for maintaining healthy relations with editors and reporters so you have established credibility and respect the next time you pitch them with a story. Pay extra attention to the article "When the Media Go Too Far,” so you have some steps to follow in case of a media relationship turning sour.

URL All About Public Relations: Jonathan Bernstein's "Trial by Media: A Roster of Do's and Don'ts”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. The writers discuss best tactics for maintaining healthy relations with editors and reporters so you have established credibility and respect the next time you pitch them with a story. Pay extra attention to the article "When the Media Go Too Far,” so you have some steps to follow in case of a media relationship turning sour.

URL All About Public Relations: Jonathan Bernstein's "When the Media Go Too Far”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in media relations. The writers discuss best tactics for maintaining healthy relations with editors and reporters so you have established credibility and respect the next time you pitch them with a story. Pay extra attention to the article "When the Media Go Too Far,” so you have some steps to follow in case of a media relationship turning sour.

4.3: Unit 4 Discussion URL Saylor Academy's Discourse Forum

Instructions: After you review the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well. If you do not yet have a Discourse account, you can create one here, free of charge.

  1. How might you change your approach to media relations based on the type of news outlet you hope to pitch (print, broadcast, online)?
  2. What advice would you provide to a newsmaker who is about to be interviewed by a reporter?
  3. What are the steps you might take to ensure ongoing and productive relations with the media?

Unit 5: Writing for Public Relations Page Unit 5 Learning Outcomes
5.1.1: Conducting Research URL Mastering Public Relations: "Chapter 8: Public Relations Research: The Key to Strategy”

Read Chapter 8 from the text, Mastering Public Relations.  This chapter outlines the importance, purpose, and methods of conducting research - the essential first step for effective communications.

5.1.2: Reference Materials for Proper Writing Style URL The Associated Press' Associated Press Stylebook

Visit the website linked above, and consider obtaining this official guide to writing in AP style, a standard form for most newspapers in the United States. If you are going to do extensive work with the news media, it is a worthwhile investment to purchase this book. Click on the AP press release (HTML) for details and information about the cost of the newest edition of the book. This book serves as an example of how a well-written press release uses AP style, provides cross-promotion with social media, and injects company information and contact detail. To see AP style at work, do a Google search on terms "AP style” and visit several pages that may give examples of the AP style rules applied to specific instances of writing.  In the United States, you will also find newspapers serving your community typically use AP style, so you can examine those as well for samples of the style rules.

5.1.3: Writing Primers URL Steven R. Van Hook's "Best Writing Tips”

Please click on the link above and watch this video for suggestions on how to immediately improve your written communication skills. Public relations professionals spend lots of times writing (e.g. internal communication, external communication, media releases, company reports, and memos). This video discusses six tips on how to do it much better. You may also read along with the transcript linked here.

URL All About Public Relations: Dr. Thomas Klipstine's "How to Communication More Effectively”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in public relations writing. Your time spent learning how to communicate more effectively with the news media - improving writing skills specific to PR communications - will help ensure the success of your immediate campaigns as well as your ongoing professional career.

URL All About Public Relations: Marcia Yudkin's "Six No-Hype Copywriting Techniques”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in public relations writing. Your time spent learning how to communicate more effectively with the news media - improving writing skills specific to PR communications - will help ensure the success of your immediate campaigns as well as your ongoing professional career.

URL All About Public Relations: Daphne Gray-Grant's "Dramatically Improve PR Writing Skills”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in public relations writing. Your time spent learning how to communicate more effectively with the news media - improving writing skills specific to PR communications - will help ensure the success of your immediate campaigns as well as your ongoing professional career.

URL All About Public Relations: Ann Wylie's "Improve Your Team's Writing Skills”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in public relations writing. Your time spent learning how to communicate more effectively with the news media - improving writing skills specific to PR communications - will help ensure the success of your immediate campaigns as well as your ongoing professional career.

5.2.1: Creating PR Materials URL All About Public Relations: Steve Turner's "How to Get Better Media Coverage”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in PR communications. These articles discuss the essential aspects of effective communications, including formulating your creative message for media and promotional materials as well as writing with a style that connects with your target audience in both their heads and hearts. Jim Barbagallo's article on promoting a public company deals with issues specific to communicating with investors, including related rules and regulations.

URL All About Public Relations: Marcia Yudkin's "Effective Content for Catalogs & the Web”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in PR communications. These articles discuss the essential aspects of effective communications, including formulating your creative message for media and promotional materials as well as writing with a style that connects with your target audience in both their heads and hearts. Jim Barbagallo's article on promoting a public company deals with issues specific to communicating with investors, including related rules and regulations.

URL All About Public Relations: Kyle Potvin's "The Road to Inspiration”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in PR communications. These articles discuss the essential aspects of effective communications, including formulating your creative message for media and promotional materials as well as writing with a style that connects with your target audience in both their heads and hearts. Jim Barbagallo's article on promoting a public company deals with issues specific to communicating with investors, including related rules and regulations.

URL All About Public Relations: Sara Fletcher's "Connecting Emotional Intelligence with PR”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in PR communications. These articles discuss the essential aspects of effective communications, including formulating your creative message for media and promotional materials as well as writing with a style that connects with your target audience in both their heads and hearts. Jim Barbagallo's article on promoting a public company deals with issues specific to communicating with investors, including related rules and regulations.

URL All About Public Relations: Jim Barbagallo's "Promoting a Newly Public Company”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in PR communications. These articles discuss the essential aspects of effective communications, including formulating your creative message for media and promotional materials as well as writing with a style that connects with your target audience in both their heads and hearts. Jim Barbagallo's article on promoting a public company deals with issues specific to communicating with investors, including related rules and regulations.

URL Steven R. Van Hook's Media and Public Relations Primer, Module 8: "PR Toolkit”

Please click on the link above to revisit the primer and focus on module 8, which provides communication samples of media releases, public service campaign scripts, commentaries, and speeches.

5.2.2: Public Presentations URL All About Public Relations: Andrew Gilman's "How to Prepare for Speeches & Presentations”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in public relations writing. The authors provide how-to tips on preparing for more effective personal presentations and suggestions for finding more speaking opportunities.

URL All About Public Relations: Steve Markman's "How to Maximize Speaking Engagements”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in public relations writing. The authors provide how-to tips on preparing for more effective personal presentations and suggestions for finding more speaking opportunities.

URL All About Public Relations: Ed Barks' "The Truth about Public Speaking”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in public relations writing. The authors provide how-to tips on preparing for more effective personal presentations and suggestions for finding more speaking opportunities.

5.2.3: Internal Communications URL Mastering Public Relations: "Chapter 5: Organizational Factors for Excellent Public Relations” and "Chapter 6: Public Relations and Organizational Effectiveness”

Read these chapters on organizational issues in public relations. Internal communications can be essential to an organization's success and avoiding conflicts and crises that may stem from inadequate contact with in-house stakeholders.  Pay close attention to the Chapter 5 detail on organizational culture and structures as well as the Chapter 6 section on stakeholder management and building strategic constituencies.

URL All About Public Relations: Amanda DiSilvestro's "Why Internal PR Should Come First”

Read these articles by public relations experts who specialize in internal communications. Internal communications is an aspect of public relations often overlooked; some would even suggest that internal communications are more important than our external outreach, at least when it comes to ensuring a solid foundation upon which to base your campaign.

URL All About Public Relations: Tonya Bacon's "How to Use Internal Communications to Engage Workers”

Read these articles by public relations experts who specialize in internal communications. Internal communications is an aspect of public relations often overlooked; some would even suggest that internal communications are more important than our external outreach, at least when it comes to ensuring a solid foundation upon which to base your campaign.

5.3: Unit 5 Discussion URL Saylor Academy's Discourse Forum

After you review the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well. If you do not yet have a Discourse account, you can create one here, free of charge.

  1. What steps do you hope to use to improve your own writing skills?
  2. How do you best activate your own creativity (e.g. do you take a walk, keep a journal, etc.)?
  3. Share an example of a public speech you may have given. How did you prepare for the speech? How did it go?

Unit 6: Social Projects and Public Relations Page Unit 6 Learning Outcomes
6.1: Public Relations in Social Marketing URL Weinreich Communications: Nedra Kline Weinreich's "What Is Social Marketing?”

Read this article by social marketing author Nedra Kline Weinreich. Many of the communication tactics working for social programs are the same as those applied to commercial undertakings, including the most fundamentals of traditional marketing and public relations. However, social communications focus more on the consumer rather than the product. Notice also how social marketing expands the concept of publics, partnerships, policy, and purse-strings for a wider range of stakeholders in a project's activities and results.

URL Steven R. Van Hook's "Social Marketing”

Watch this video about social marketing.  Most of the tools for promoting commercial projects can be applied to advancing social causes and programs. You may read along with the transcript linked here (PDF).

6.2: Methods of Social Public Relations URL Mastering Public Relations: "Chapter 10: The Practice of Public Relations”

Read Chapter 10 from the text, Mastering Public Relations, for detail on how public relations functions in the corporate world also apply to and differ from government, public affairs, nonprofit, and activist public relations.

URL All About Public Relations: Mary White's "Five Simple Ways to Promote Special Events”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in social project public relations. These authors provide useful suggestions on how to promote your project events, connecting with the community at a grassroots (and inexpensive) level, and how even for-profit PR campaigns might benefit from partnering with nonprofit causes.

URL ll About Public Relations: Kyle Potvin's "Successful Grassroots Marketing”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in social project public relations. These authors provide useful suggestions on how to promote your project events, connecting with the community at a grassroots (and inexpensive) level, and how even for-profit PR campaigns might benefit from partnering with nonprofit causes.

URL All About Public Relations: Diana Laverdure's "Partnerships with Non-Profits”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in social project public relations. These authors provide useful suggestions on how to promote your project events, connecting with the community at a grassroots (and inexpensive) level, and how even for profit PR campaigns might benefit from partnering with nonprofit causes.

6.3.1: Connecting with Social Programs URL All About Public Relations: Tammie Ferguson's "Public Relations for Non-Profits”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in non-profit public relations projects. Working on non-profit projects is a fine way for a new PR practitioner to break into the field and do some good along the way.

URL All About Public Relations: Anna Levy's "Social Responsibility and Public Relations”

Read these articles written by PR experts who specialize in non-profit public relations projects. Working on non-profit projects is a fine way for a new PR practitioner to break into the field and do some good along the way.

6.3.2: Support Resources for Social Project Planning URL Steven R. Van Hook's How-To Marketing: "Social Marketing”

Visit the webpage above for links to a number of resources useful for public relations planning within social projects. Among the selections is the Social Marketing Institute, which seeks to apply "the very best social marketing practices in a wide range of settings all over the world” with resources including success stories, papers, and employment listings. The Social Marketing Resource Guide provides useful social marketing tools and case studies. The Nonprofit and Philanthropy Good Practice page features hands-on tips, articles, best practices, and discussion forums supporting social project planning.

6.4: Unit 6 Discussion URL Saylor Academy's Discourse Forum

After you review the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well. If you do not yet have a Discourse account, you can create one here, free of charge.

  1. What are some of the similarities and differences of commercial and social marketing?
  2. Have you ever worked on a social marketing campaign? Please share details.
  3. What sort of social campaign might you like to work on in the future?

Unit 7: Crisis Communications Page Unit 7 Learning Outcomes
7.1: Crisis Events and Plan Preparation URL All About Public Relations: Gerry McCusker's "The Truth about PR Disasters”

Read these articles by public relations experts who specialize in planning and executing crisis management programs. Take detailed notes on this important aspect of public relations services: crisis management.

URL All About Public Relations: Gerard Braud's "Writing Your Crisis Communications Plan”

Read these articles by public relations experts who specialize in planning and executing crisis management programs. Take detailed notes on this important aspect of public relations services: crisis management.

URL All About Public Relations: Ellie Whims' "Crisis Communications for Small Business”

Read these articles by public relations experts who specialize in planning and executing crisis management programs. Take detailed notes on this important aspect of public relations services: crisis management.

URL All About Public Relations: Andrew Gilman's "The Case for a Reputation Protection Model”

Read these articles by public relations experts who specialize in planning and executing crisis management programs. Take detailed notes on this important aspect of public relations services: crisis management.

7.2.1: How to Avoid Crises URL All About Public Relations: Mark Grabowski's "Crisis Prevention through Foresight”

Read these articles by three public relations experts who specialize in avoiding crisis situations. The time to plan for crisis management is before a disaster happens.

URL All About Public Relations: Robbie Vorhaus' "Escaping the Taint of Scandal”

Read these articles by three public relations experts who specialize in avoiding crisis situations. The time to plan for crisis management is before a disaster happens.

7.2.2: How to Apologize URL All About Public Relations: Richard S. Levick's "The Art of Mea Culpa”

Read this strategic communications article on how to help corporate clients apologize for their mistakes.

7.2.3: How to Fix Crises URL All About Public Relations: Abbe Ruttenberg Serphos' "Effective First Steps to Counter a Crisis”

Read these articles by three public relations experts who specialize in resolving crisis situations. Once a crisis is underway, you can take steps to counter the crisis before it escalates into a disaster by establishing credibility with the public and media and using effective tools to get your message out.

URL All About Public Relations: Jonathan Bernstein's "The Three C's of Credibility in Crises”

Read these articles by three public relations experts who specialize in resolving crisis situations. Once a crisis is underway, you can take steps to counter the crisis before it escalates into a disaster by establishing credibility with the public and media and using effective tools to get your message out.

URL All About Public Relations: Camrick Clark's "Twitter: A Crisis Communications Tool”

Read these articles by three public relations experts who specialize in resolving crisis situations. Once a crisis is underway, you can take steps to counter the crisis before it escalates into a disaster by establishing credibility with the public and media and using effective tools to get your message out.

7.3 : Case Studies URL All About Public Relations: Amanda DiSilvestro's "Learning from Past Public Relations Crises”

Read these articles by three public relations experts who focus on crisis case studies.

URL All About Public Relations: Soterios Zoulas' "The 1982 Tylenol Crisis”

Read these articles by three public relations experts who focus on crisis case studies.

URL All About Public Relations: Steven R. Van Hook's "Crisis Management Moments”

Read these articles by three public relations experts who focus on crisis case studies.

7.4: Unit 7 Discussion URL Saylor Academy's Discourse Forum

After you review the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well. If you do not yet have a Discourse account, you can create one here, free of charge.

  1. What examples of crisis communications have you seen lately in the news? Can you find cases illustrating how both corporate and government officials dealt with crises?
  2. Think of a time you had to apologize for some offense you committed: what did you do well?  What might you have done better?
  3. What you would say are the most important aspects of careful crisis planning?

Unit 8: Ethical Issues in Public Relations Page Unit 8 Learning Outcomes
8.1: Codes of Ethics Governing Public Relations Practitioners URL All About Public Relations: Steven R. Van Hook's "Ethical Public Relations: Not an Oxymoron”

Read these articles, which detail fundamental ethical questions facing PR practitioners. Consider where the greater obligation lies: to the good of society on the whole, or the particular self-interests of a company or client, or some balance in between.

URL All About Public Relations: Peter O'Malley's "In Praise of Secrecy: The Ethical Foundations of Public Relations”

Read these articles, which detail fundamental ethical questions facing PR practitioners. Consider where the greater obligation lies: to the good of society on the whole, or the particular self-interests of a company or client, or some balance in between.

URL Illinois Institute of Technology's Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions

Please click on the link above to visit this website, which provides hyperlinks to codes of ethics and other related resources for a large number of professional fields. Public relations practitioners work in a sweeping array of fields, so it is useful to be familiar with a wide range of ethics codes. Please click on the "Codes of Ethics Collections” under "Our Research.” Then, click the "Index of Codes” link to find a wide range of keywords, organizations, and professional categories to research for codes of ethics. Research at least two different professional categories (such as "marketing” and "health care”) for related codes of ethics.

8.2: Applying Codes of Ethics URL Mastering Public Relations: "Chapter 11: Ethics, Leadership and Counseling, and Moral Analyses” and "Chapter 12: Best Practices for Excellence in Public Relations”

Please click on the links above and read Chapters 11 and 12 for an analysis of ethical practices in public relations, the public relations professional's role in moral decision-making, and applying "best practices” to proper conduct. After reading Chapter 12 on best practices in public relations, compare the authors' suggested practices with the codes of ethics you considered in subunit 8.1 above

URL All About Public Relations: Steven Le Vine's "How to Run Ethically Sound PR Campaigns”

Read this article by public relations agency founder Steven Le Vine for a five-point summary on how to avoid ethical hazards in PR campaigns.

URL The Center for Media and Democracy's "PR Watch”

Please click on the link above to visit this website, which provides for a large assortment of reports and links providing a critical look at specific cases of shady public relations. Spend some time reading several articles to give yourself an idea of steps you might take to avoid becoming a target and to recognize when codes of ethics are violated.

8.3: Unit 8 Discussion URL Saylor Academy's Discourse Forum

After you review the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well. If you do not yet have a Discourse account, you can create one here, free of charge.

  1. What ethical issues do you feel are most often faced by public relations professionals?
  2. What are some practical examples of public relations ethics you have seen done well and poorly?
  3. What did you gather from your codes of ethics research that might best apply to your own standards of conduct?

Unit 9: Careers in Public Relations Page Unit 9 Learning Outcomes
9.1: Job Outlook for Public Relations Professionals URL U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook: "Public Relations Managers and Specialists”

Please click on the link above and start by reading the "What They Do” tab.  Then, click on the rest of the tabs from "Work Environment” to "Contacts for More Info,” and read each of these webpages. After reading these tabs, go back and click on the "Summary” tab for an overview of what you read. This resource provides extensive data on the public relations profession including pay, education and skill requirements, current and projected number of jobs, work environment, and so on.

URL Steven R. Van Hook's How-To Marketing: "Marketing Employment Trends”

Read the entire article, which summarizes employment outlook in the fields of marketing, public relations, advertising, and sales.

9.2.1: Just Starting Out URL All About Public Relations: Dick Pirozzolo's "New PR Graduates: Words of Advice”

Read these two articles for advice from experienced PR professionals on the first steps towards a career in public relations.  These articles will be especially useful for recent college graduates in this competitive field.

URL All About Public Relations: Cori McKeever's "The Public Relations Career X Factor”

Read these two articles for advice from experienced PR professionals on the first steps towards a career in public relations.  These articles will be especially useful for recent college graduates in this competitive field.

9.2.2: Public Relations Internships URL All About Public Relations: Steven R. Van Hook's "Should I be a PR Intern?”

Read these articles on internship issues.

URL All About Public Relations: Sarah Smith's "Networking Without an Internship”

Read these articles on internship issues.

URL Internship Programs

Please click on the link above to visit the Internship Programs website.  On the website, spend some time searching for internship opportunities by industry (e.g. "public relations”) and location.

9.2.3: Entry Level Public Relations Jobs URL All About Public Relations: Amanda DiSilvestro's "How to Start a Dream Career in Public Relations

Read these two articles by young public relations professionals. The authors discuss their best tips on landing a first job in PR.

URL All About Public Relations: Carlo Pandian's "How to Get a Job in Public Relations”

Read these two articles by young public relations professionals. The authors discuss their best tips on landing a first job in PR.

9.2.4: Career Advancement URL All About Public Relations: Amanda DiSilvestro's "How to Start Your Own Public Relations Agency”

Read these two articles written by PR professionals. In these articles, the authors discuss advanced career options and methods in public relations.

URL All About Public Relations: Mike Crawford's "Marketing Yourself for a Public Relations Job”

Read these two articles written by PR professionals. In these articles, the authors discuss advanced career options and methods in public relations.

9.3: Research: Employment Resources for Public Relations Job Placement URL Public Relations Society of America's "Job Center”

Please click on the link above and browse the resources on this website for articles on finding work and links to employment agencies for jobs in public relations, communications, and marketing. At the PRSA's Job Center, you can search under "Job Seekers” for public relations jobs according to the industry and location that you desire. At the PRSA site, you can also post your resume as well as research career and education resources.

URL All About Public Relations: Steven R. Van Hook's "Your Future in Public Relations”

Read the entire article. The article provides information about career opportunities in public relations as well as links to information on large PR employers, qualifications you will need to develop, and how to advance in your career.  Please share any useful leads in the course discussion forum.

URL Database of Transnational Organizations

Please click on the link above to visit this database, which provides links to numerous international organizations involved in governmental and nonprofit activities around the world. Scan through each database entry providing access to information about the organization, its mission, and its geographical range of activity. Each database entry also provides a direct link to the organization's job pages, where you can search for employment opportunities in public relations and communications. This resource is especially useful for practitioners who hope to apply their public relations skills to government work, social marketing, and development programs. Please share any useful information and leads in the course discussions.

9.4: Unit 9 Discussion URL Saylor Academy's Discourse Forum

After you review the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well. If you do not yet have a Discourse account, you can create one here, free of charge.

  1. Where in the world would you most like to work, and what kinds of public relations projects would you like to be involved with?
  2. What useful employment resources and job leads did you find in your research for this unit?
  3. Based on your studies in this unit, what words of advice would you offer to someone just starting out in a PR career?

Unit 10: Professional Development Page Unit 10 Learning Outcomes
10.1: Research: Professional Resources for Career Development URL Council of Public Relations Firms

Please click on the links above to visit these organizations' websites, which support public relations professionals. You may want to associate with one of these organizations as you rise in a public relations career. Please pay special attention to the many free resources they provide non-members. For example, on the Council of Public Relations page, click the "Resources” tab to find examples of best practices, case studies, and white papers on PR topics. On the International Association of Business Communicators page, you can click the "Jobs” tab to view job and internship opportunities, post your resume and set up job alerts.  The International Public Relations Association under the "PR Links” tab provides information on public relations associations around the world. On the Public Relations Society of America page under the "Education Resources,” you will find professional development resources for entry-level through senior-level PR practitioners.

URL International Association of Business Communicators

Please click on the links above to visit these organizations' websites, which support public relations professionals. You may want to associate with one of these organizations as you rise in a public relations career. Please pay special attention to the many free resources they provide non-members. For example, on the Council of Public Relations page, click the "Resources” tab to find examples of best practices, case studies, and white papers on PR topics. On the International Association of Business Communicators page, you can click the "Jobs” tab to view job and internship opportunities, post your resume and set up job alerts.  The International Public Relations Association under the "PR Links” tab provides information on public relations associations around the world. On the Public Relations Society of America page under the "Education Resources,” you will find professional development resources for entry-level through senior-level PR practitioners.

URL International Public Relations Association

Please click on the links above to visit these organizations' websites, which support public relations professionals. You may want to associate with one of these organizations as you rise in a public relations career. Please pay special attention to the many free resources they provide non-members. For example, on the Council of Public Relations page, click the "Resources” tab to find examples of best practices, case studies, and white papers on PR topics. On the International Association of Business Communicators page, you can click the "Jobs” tab to view job and internship opportunities, post your resume and set up job alerts.  The International Public Relations Association under the "PR Links” tab provides information on public relations associations around the world. On the Public Relations Society of America page under the "Education Resources,” you will find professional development resources for entry-level through senior-level PR practitioners.

URL Public Relations Society of America

Please click on the links above to visit these organizations' websites, which support public relations professionals. You may want to associate with one of these organizations as you rise in a public relations career. Please pay special attention to the many free resources they provide non-members. For example, on the Council of Public Relations page, click the "Resources” tab to find examples of best practices, case studies, and white papers on PR topics. On the International Association of Business Communicators page, you can click the "Jobs” tab to view job and internship opportunities, post your resume and set up job alerts.  The International Public Relations Association under the "PR Links” tab provides information on public relations associations around the world. On the Public Relations Society of America page under the "Education Resources,” you will find professional development resources for entry-level through senior-level PR practitioners.

10.2: Forming Professional Social Networks URL All About Public Relations: Dr. Dan Eller's "Friendraising New PR Relationships”

Read these articles by public relations professionals. These articles discuss tips, tactics, and the benefits of networking for career advancement in public relations. The very same skills you use to promote your company and causes can also be used to effectively market yourself.

URL All About Public Relations: Mark Macias' "How to Effectively Promote Yourself with Networking”

Read these articles by public relations professionals. These articles discuss tips, tactics, and the benefits of networking for career advancement in public relations. The very same skills you use to promote your company and causes can also be used to effectively market yourself.

URL All About Public Relations: Pari Noskin Taichert's "Put Your Networking to Work”

Read these articles by public relations professionals. These articles discuss tips, tactics, and the benefits of networking for career advancement in public relations. The very same skills you use to promote your company and causes can also be used to effectively market yourself.

10.3: Unit 10 Discussion URL Saylor Academy: "Discussion Forum"

After you review the unit materials, please post and respond to the following topics on the course discussion board. Feel free to start your own related posts, and respond to other students' postings as well. If you do not yet have a forum account, you can create one here, free of charge.

  1. What social networks do you currently participate in?
  2. As you researched the offerings of the professional associations linked in this unit, what resources did you find especially useful?
  3. How do you feel networking may help improve your own career goals?

Optional Course Evaluation Survey URL Optional Course Evaluation Survey

Please take a few moments to provide some feedback about this course. Consider completing the survey whether you have completed the course, you are nearly at that point, or you have just come to study one unit or a few units of this course.

Your feedback will focus our efforts to continually improve our course design, content, technology, and general ease-of-use. Additionally, your input will be considered alongside our consulting professors' evaluation of the course during its next round of peer review. As always, please report urgent course experience concerns to [email protected] and/or our discussion forums.