Best Practice in PR

Posted on: August 13, 2008

It’s hard to argue with the results of a research programme that has been running for five years and is focusing on Best Practices in public relations, but what’s your response to the list that follows.


It has been prepared by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication, which each year investigates the Generally Accepted Practices (GAP) in public relations practice in the US. This year, using data from 520 senior professionals, their researchers have identified these Best Practices.


        Maintain a higher-than-average ratio of PR budget to gross revenue

        Report directly and exclusively to the C-Suite

        Optimize the C-Suite’s understanding of PR’s current and potential contributions

        Establish effective strategies for

o       Social responsibility

o       Digital media

o       Issues management

        Optimize integration and coordination within the PR/communications function, and between it and other organizational functions

        Encourage across the organization, beginning with communication,

o       Highly ethical practices

o       A long-term strategic point of view

o       Proactive and flexible mindsets

        Optimize integration of PR and reputational considerations into organization strategies

        Measurably contribute to organizational success.


Prof Jerry Swerling and co-author Major Jim Gregory say their approach to identifying the Best Practices is “a bit subjective because we cannot scientifically demonstrate causality” but that the consistency of the patterns is unmistakeable. The full report can be found at and the Best Practices can be found in the GAP V report, Section VII. 




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Tom Watson

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