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Factors affecting organizational blog content: Public relations practitioners and organizational context

Dissertation
Author: Timothy S. Penning
Abstract:
Normative theory has asserted that public relations is essentially about the formation and maintenance of relationships between an organization and its publics. Ethically, the profession has been positively associated with a contribution to informed decision making in democratic society. Additional research has been mostly descriptive with regard to how characteristics of public relations practitioners and the settings of organizations where they work, as well as the different models of public relations practice, are in keeping with the normative and ethical ideals for the profession. Critical theory, meanwhile, has presented public relations negatively for its potential to manipulate or deceive. Much of this research has looked at the effects public relations has on the public. This dissertation is an attempt to move research about public relations from descriptive to predictive. Specifically, it is an attempt to associate independent variables related to public relations practitioners, the internal and external settings of the organizations where they work, and the primary model of public relations they practice with public relations content as dependent variables. A contribution of this study is the typology of public relations content as being relational or promotional. Combined methods included an online survey (to identify independent variables) of public relations professionals solicited through social media platforms and a content analysis of their organizational Web logs (blogs). Blogs were selected as the content of focus because the nature of blogs allows for a range of tone and format for more variance in terms of relational vs. promotional content. The sample was small, largely due to the relatively slow adoption of blogs for organizational use by public relations practitioners. This made it difficult to achieve statistical significance in analyses of regression. However, an examination of mean differences produced some interesting results. Specifically, more relational content appears to be associated with PR practitioners having more years of experience and years with a current employer, acting in a managerial capacity, not needing approval of content, perceiving a high public demand for information, and the two-way asymmetrical model of public relations. These findings were consistent with the hypotheses in the study. Other variables were not found to affect content in a meaningful way, which may be explained by the small sample, but is also consistent with other research that shows public relations professionals have positive attitudes about blogs and social media but are as yet slow to use them for public communication and relationship building.

TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES vii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND JUSTIFICATION 1 Introduction 1 Justification 4 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW 7 An Ethical/Democratic Framework 7 Variables Affecting Public Relations Content 11 PR Practitioner Education 11 PR Practitioner Experience 12 PR Practitioner Role Enactment 13 PR Position in Organizational Structure 13 Encroachment 14 Dominant Coalition 15 PR Models 17 Regulation 18 Environmental Uncertainty 19 Information Demand 19 Competitive Forces 19 Types of PR Content 20 Blogs as PR Content of Interest 23 The Internet and PR 23 Social Media, Blogs, and PR Content 30 A Focus on Blogs as PR Content 38 CHAPTER 3 HYPOTHESES 40 Individual PR Practitioners 40 Practitioner Education 40 Practitioner Experience 41 Role Enactment 42 Organizational Factors 42 Encroachment 42 Organizational Structure 43 Dominant Coalition 44 External Environment 44 Government Regulation 44 Information Demand 45 Competition 45 v

Environmental Uncertainty 46 Public Relations Models 46 CHAPTER 4 METHOD 48 Sampling of PR Practitioners to Survey 48 Sampling of Blogs for Content Analysis 52 Operationalization of Variables 53 Analysis 59 CHAPTER 5 RESULTS 61 Description of Data 61 Descriptive Statistics 61 Description of Blog Content 63 Analysis 65 Factors Associated With PR Practitioners 66 Factors Associated With the Organizational Structure 68 Factors Associated With the External Environment 70 Factors Associated With Models of PR 70 A Review of Other Variables of Interest 72 CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION 76 Limitations 76 Contributions of This Study 77 Future Research 80 APPENDICES 84 Appendix A: Survey Appeal and Questionnaire 84 Appendix B: Content Analysis Protocol and Code Sheet 89 REFERENCES 93 VI

LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Descriptive Statistics: PR Practitioners 62 Table 2: Descriptive Statistics: Organizational Characteristics 63 Table 3: Descriptive Statistics: Blog Content 64 Table 4: Summary of Regressions 67 Table 5: % Relationship Content Means Comparison of Key Individual Variables 68 Table 6: % Relationship Content Means Comparison of Key Organizational Variables 69 Table 7: % Relationship Content Means Comparison of Public Relations Models 71 Table 8: Regression Summary of Comments/Links 72 Table 9: % Relationship Content Means Comparison of Additional Variables 74 vn

Chapter 1: Introduction And Justification For The Study Introduction Generally speaking, views of the public relations profession are mixed. From a critical perspective, public relations is often equated with "propaganda." In this view, often cultivated by the news and entertainment media, public relations is given a pejorative connotation that implies deliberate and deceitful manipulation of the truth and, in turn, of public opinion (Callison, 2004; Ewan, 1996; Jo, 2003; Miller, 1999; Shaw & White, 2004; Sparks, 1993; Spicer, 1993; Stacks et al, 1999; Stauber & Rampton, 1995; C. White & Lambert, 2006). Meanwhile, normative scholars and many public relations practitioners have advocated that public relations benefits democratic society by helping to enable informed decision making by individuals and groups (Boynton, 2006; Cheney & Dionisopolous, 1989; Coombs & Holladay, 2007; Cutlip et al, 2000; Fitzpatrick, 1996b, 2006; J. E. Grunig, 2001, 1992a; J. E. Grunig & Grunig, 1992; J. E. Grunig et al, 2006; Hutton, 1999; Kruckeberg, 2000; PRSA, 2009). It is interesting to note that both the critical and normative views of public relations have a conceptual basis in democratic theory—particularly the notions of free expression, public debate and deliberation, and civil discourse. There is anecdotal evidence for both the criticism and praise of the profession as reported in mainstream media and PR trade publications such as PR Week and Public Relations Tactics. There are cases in which public relations professionals and the information they disseminate has deceived the public, whether that was the intent or not. Examples of this could range from unclear or inaccurate product information to framing a 1

crisis in a positive or blame-free way. There are also cases where the work of public relations professionals has indeed added to a more complete understanding of an organization, a point of view, or a public issue by volunteering information more complete than what is in the news media or otherwise attainable by the public. But the truth about public relations is not absolute in either direction. It is not a complete assessment to refer to information as "just public relations," implying that public relations information is never accurate or that the practitioners of public relations are always intending to deceive (Coombs & Holladay, 2007). Public relations is also advocacy. However, it would be naive to suggest that the public relations profession is entirely pure in the intentions of its practitioners or the effect of its content. What becomes interesting then is to more closely examine public relations as one form of media information in the crowded democratic public sphere and to focus on the conditions under which public relations has a deleterious effect or positive contribution to society. While scholars have done this in the past, the focus has mostly been on the effects of public relations information—as mass media content—on the public. But a study of the antecedent influences on public relations materials as media content has been mostly overlooked. By comparison, there have been many studies of the influences on journalism content (Bagdikian, 1973-1974; Beam, 2003; Berkowitz, 1997; Curran, 2005; Gans, 2003; Kovach & Rosenstiel, 2001; Singer, 2001; Tuchman, 1991). These studies include a range in focus from social aspects of the newsroom to individual journalist perspectives, forms and causes of media bias, and the economic factors that cause market-driven news content. Such studies are important given the role of journalism in 2

democracy. But public relations has a role as well, not just in providing information subsidy to journalists, but increasingly providing information directly to the public via direct mail, advertising, online and in-person communication. Nevertheless, there has not been as much similar focus on the factors that explain the differences in the content of public relations from one organization to the next. There have been a variety of studies addressing variables affecting public relations at the individual, organizational, and institutional level (Berger, 2005; Berkowitz & Hristodoulakis, 1999; Bowen, 2009; Bruning & Ledingham, 2000; Dozier & Broom, 2006; J. E. Grunig et al., 2006; Hutton, 1999; Kelleher, 2001; Moss et al, 2000; Plowman, 1998; van Ruler & de Lange, 2003). But the focus of these studies has been on the causes affecting the power of public relations practitioners, the function that public relations plays in an organization or the model of public relations that is practiced. While some attention has been paid to categorizing the resulting types of public relations content (discussed in detail in the literature review), little if any research has identified which variables are associated with specific types of content. Doing so will help enable a consideration of public relations beyond whether the profession as a whole is "good" or "bad" for democracy—in terms of enabling the public to make informed decisions—to look at the varied influences that cause public relations content to be either good or bad to greater or lesser degrees. This dissertation proposes and tests a set of hypotheses addressing how factors related to individual public relations practitioners and their organization's characteristics affect the degree to which public relations communication disseminated to the public is self-interested (promotional) as opposed to dialogic (relational). Essentially, promotional 3

content is more often one-way, seeking only to benefit the organization. Relational communication is closer to the normative ideals for the profession and is characterized as two-way, listening to and responding to the needs of publics as well as seeking to achieve the needs only of the organization. Justification for The Study The various concepts in previous studies related to public relations practice at the individual and organizational level have been treated as dependent variables. The variables associated with individual PR practitioners include their education in public relations, amount of experience, and the specific role or power they have in the organization where they work. Organizational variables include the structure, such as whether the PR function reports to the CEO and whether PR people are part of the key decision making group in an organization. External variables are also important and include government regulation as well as perceived public demand for information and whether the environment is competitive and/or uncertain. These variables are further explained in Chapter 3. A contribution of this study will be to treat those concepts as independent variables and focus on their relationship to the specific output or textual/verbal content of public relations work. A promotional/relational continuum of public relations content is another contribution of this dissertation. An empirical consideration of the influences or causes of these types of public relations content would help clarify the understanding of the term "public relations" and the practice of the profession. In addition, the social and ethical perception and development of the public 4

relations profession could be enhanced if the preferred normative form of public relations content—i.e. relational content—can be correlated with specific antecedents. This exploratory dissertation will draw together various factors from previous research—including factors associated with individual practitioners, the place of the public relations function in an organization, and the form or model of PR an organization practices—and extend that previous research by associating it with the continuum of public relations content that results from these various factors. Because factors associated with a corporation or organization are included, PR practitioners who are in-house or on the "client side" will be the focus with practitioners working for an agency and outside an organization excluded from this study. The specific content to be analyzed for this study will be organizations' official Web logs, or blogs. This focus is appropriate not only because blogs are a new phenomenon in need of more research on their content, but because blogs have the potential to be more conversational than other forms of PR content (e.g. news releases, annual reports etc.) and therefore more likely to vary from one organization to the other. The relative newness of blogs and the rate of adoption to them as a new medium may be a factor in varying content. However, the individual and organizational variables outlined in this study should be the primary causes of the tone of the content in blogs. Ultimately, testing hypotheses about factors affecting public relations content could be a step toward building a public relations theory about what causes public relations content to be closer to the ideal of relational communications. Such a step will also move the field from normative to more explanatory scholarship. Results of the study should be of particular interest to public relations scholars and practitioners, but 5

hypotheses that explain or predict the causes of specifically categorized types of public relations content could also be instructive to others in the fields of communication and media studies. 6

Chapter 2: Literature Review An Ethical/Democratic Framework Ideally, public relations practitioners and the content they disseminate to the public should be honest, open and beneficial to members of society. This ideal is articulated in one of the more common academic definitions of public relations as "the management function that identifies, establishes, maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and all of the publics on whom its success or failure depends" (Cutlip et ai, 2000). While there are other attempts to formally characterize the profession, Coombs and Holladay point out that the idea of "mutually beneficial relationships" has come to dominate current definitions of public relations (Coombs & Holladay, 2007). Similarly, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the largest international organization of public relations practitioners, locates the societal role of public relations in its Code of Ethics. Specifically, PRSA underscores its commitment to the public interest in advancing the goal of "informed decision making in a democratic society." The code principle of "free flow of information" states that "protecting and advancing the free flow of accurate and truthful information is essential to serving the public interest and contributing to informed decision making in a democratic society." This provision implies that PR practitioners have an obligation to ensure that all parties have access to information, and not only select individuals. Similarly, the provision on "disclosure of information" states that all information be shared openly, without holding select facts from the public because the PRSA believes that "open communication fosters informed decision making in a democratic society" (PRSA, 2009). The definition and 7

ethical perspective of public relations stress that having positive relationships with the public and enabling them to make well-informed decisions should be the primary objectives of public relations practitioners. Viewing public relations content in the context of democracy stems from notions of the public sphere popularized by Habermas (Habermas, 1962). He characterized a political or fully developed public sphere as one in which public issues and the common good can be openly debated. Originally journalism, i.e. the news media, was seen as the primary institution that enabled the dialogue in the public sphere. But Habermas criticized the media for moving from a neutral and civic role to an instrument of party politics and then to a commercial interest. He claimed the public sphere became co-opted as a forum for advertising and that public relations campaigns had private vs public interests in mind: "private ads are always directed to other private people insofar as they are consumers; the addressee of public relations is public opinion, or private citizens as the public and not directly as the consumer" (p. 182). This observation by Habermas in 1962 is an indication that public relations plays a role in the democratic public sphere. As recently as 2006 Habermas extended this idea and noted that there are five actors in the public sphere in addition to journalists and politicians: lobbyists and advocates for causes, experts, moral entrepreneurs, and intellectuals (Habermas, 2006). Habermas also concedes that the power structures—and the subjects for public discussion—include economic and social issues as well as politics. Other scholars concur with Habermas that public relations plays a role in the public sphere and that dialogue can be about more than politics. Negt and Kluge (Negt & 8

Kluge, 1988) reviewed various interpretations of the public sphere and concluded that advertising and publicity campaigns of business change the characteristics of the public sphere by targeting individuals in a private sense. They call this a "pseudo public sphere" of more organized and polished communications that overlays the classic public sphere. Kellner (Kellner, 2000) proposes that new media have enabled multiple public spheres to proliferate and include a range from Internet-based to face-to-face communications. He asserts that rather than fragment people and the public sphere, new media will do more to enable the original ideal of the public sphere as a forum for informed discourse. Fitzpatrick uses the notion of a "marketplace of ideas" to include commercial subjects into the informed discourse in the public sphere (Fitzpatrick, 2006). She asserts that public relations professionals have an ethical duty to consider whether their work contributes to or interferes with the free market process. The idea that businesses as well as political entities need to be open and provide information that citizens/consumers need to make adequate and informed decisions is known as "corporate social responsibility" (Carroll, 1999). Corporate social responsibility or CSR is another way of saying corporate public relations professionals should go beyond private gain to participate in the public sphere with the public interest in mind. Shoemaker and Reese (Shoemaker & Reese, 1996), in a review of influences on mass media content, extend the idea that public relations may play a larger role in the public sphere today than the long-heralded news institutions, largely because of the nature of journalistic routines. Specifically, they cite the prevalence of news "beats" that reinforce ideas of what should get covered and discussed as problematic for exposure of new ideas and organizations. As a result, they stress that public relations efforts may be 9

the only way for certain groups to get coverage or to participate in public discourse. Similarly, in a study of the rise of public relations in Britain, Davis (Davis, 2003) notes that public relations helps resource-rich sources control the news, but at the same time helps resource-poor sources gain media access. He concludes that since the 1990s public relations by alternative interest groups "began to break into established elite discourse networks to use the media to bring public policy debates more into the public sphere" (p. 41). In spite of formal definitions and ethical guidelines, there is certainly no consensus that public relations contributes to democracy by fostering relationships and public dialogue. Public relations professionals also must attend to the needs and interests of the organizations where they work, be they a business, a nonprofit, or government entity. Those organizational "voices" of advocacy could be part of the social dialogue for self-interested reasons or for social benefit. But there is a disconnect between idealistic notions and critical assessments of the profession. Much of the criticism dwells on anecdotes and case studies and then indicts the entire profession as something that inhibits dialogue and relationships. As Coombs and Holladay point out, "synecdoche is used as argument" (Coombs & Holladay, 2007). On the other hand, public relations educators point out that the definition of public relations provided by academics should be seen as aspirational or normative, not an actual representation of the field in all cases (C. White & Lambert, 2006). The question then moves from whether public relations is good or bad to an examination of the factors that cause public relations professionals and their work to move closer to or further from the democratic ideals for the profession. 10

Variables Affecting Public Relations Content Previous research has identified a variety of variables that affect PR practitioners and their practice. Some are at the individual level, or relating to public relations practitioners. Other variables are at the organizational level. Still others are forces from outside the organization. While not all previous studies related these variables specifically to content or public relations output, such an association is implied. Deliberately measuring the association of these variables to PR content is the focus of this study. PR practitioner education. Not all people practicing public relations have had the same amount or type of education in public relations. The education of a public relations practitioner has several dimensions, including self-study, workshops and seminars at professional associations, and professional accreditation (APR) (Plowman, 1998). Recently, a college degree with a public relations major has been emphasized as a fundamental education for public relations professionals. A commission of public relations educators and practitioners determined that to distinguish a quality public relations education an undergraduate program should include "ethics and transparency, new technology, integration of communication messages and tools, interdisciplinary problem-solving, diversity, global perspectives and research and results measurement" ("The 2006 report of the commission on public relations education", 2006). Not all public relations practitioners have a formal degree in the field, are members of a professional PR association, or have accreditation in public relations. It would be interesting to explore whether an educational background makes a difference in the nature of the content public relations professionals disseminate. 11

PR practitioner experience. Professional experience has traditionally been understood as the number of years a practitioner has worked in public relations (O'Neil, 2003). However, it is also possible to consider the quality or type of experience, in terms of specific PR tasks performed or the types of strategic vs. merely tactical expertise gained (Toth et al., 1998). The ethics of a practitioner is another dimension of experience. Research has shown that practitioners with more than five years of experience identified a set of ethical values consistent with those proscribed by the Public Relations Society of America's Code of Ethics— advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty, and fairness—and that trustworthiness and respect were additional PR ethical values expressed (Boynton, 2006). PR practitioners with higher levels of professionalism (measured on a 20-item scale that included appreciation for the PRSA Code of Ethics and years of experience in PR as well as in current role) were found to have higher levels of CSR than practitioners with lower levels of professionalism (Kim & Reber, 2009). The PRSA Code of Ethics also lists six "provisions" or principles to guide practitioners' practice: free flow of information, disclosure of information, avoid conflict of interest, safeguarding confidences, fair competition, and enhance the profession. Others point out that the ethical nature of public relations communication should be dialogic (Pearson, 1989). A practitioner's ethics has also been related to their role as a social policy-maker in an organization (Kruckeberg, 2000). While practitioners' experience and ethics varies, such differences have not yet been associated with differing forms of PR content. 12

PR practitioner role enactment. Role enactment refers to the way a PR practitioner actually performs his or her job. The public relations literature consistently describes two primary public relations roles: manager and technician (J. E. Grunig & Grunig, 1992). The roles were determined by surveys of practitioners and subsequent factor analysis to arrive at these definitions: a manager primarily makes decisions and works with the management of an organization; a technician primarily writes and produces communication tactics (Dozier, 1992). Practitioners often perform tasks associated with both roles, but perceive their role as predominantly one or the other. In other words, manager and technician roles are different but not mutually exclusive (Dozier & Broom, 1995). The enacted role may not necessarily be consistent with the practitioner's perceived role, given other organizational factors (Moss & Green, 2001; Toth et al., 1998). Role enactment can also be understood through enactment theory, which posits that people enact the scenes they know and expect to be rewarding (Heath, 1994). PR position in organizational structure. This concept can be understood as the location of a public relations department within an organization's hierarchical structure or flow chart (van Ruler & de Lange, 2003). This has also been conceptualized as the reporting relationship, or at what level in an organization is the person to whom the most senior PR practitioner is responsible or reports (O'Neil, 2003). A high position of the PR function would be one in which the senior PR practitioner reports directly to the CEO, whereas a low position would be one in which the senior PR practitioner reports to a vice president or manager of another department, such as marketing. Structure is often visible in the manner of who gives 13

whom direction of work tasks (Heath, 1994). Another consideration of PR in organizational structure is the size of the PR department. Kim and Reber found PR practitioners' professionalism was higher as their department size was larger (Kim & Reber, 2009). Larger departments are typically higher in the structure than smaller departments. Theoretically, if the PR position is lower in an organizational structure, the public relations staff may be merely a conduit reflecting the messages of others higher in the structure. Meanwhile, if the PR position is higher on an organization structure it is more likely that the public relations practitioner is instrumental in creating—not just passing along—organizational messages. The difference in structure could lead to a meaningful difference in public relations content. Encroachment. Encroachment is a process in which a different organizational function usurps responsibilities of public relations. Lauzen, after a study of the concept, specified that encroachment on public relations occurs when professionals with expertise in such fields as marketing, law, human resources, or engineering occupy the senior public relations position in an organization (Lauzen, 1992). Other functional areas taking specific tasks such as investor relations or government relations from the public relations department could also be considered encroachment (Hutton, 1999). Still another way to understand the concept of encroachment is when public relations practitioners have their work reviewed by other professionals in the organization, such as lawyers (Fitzpatrick, 1996a). Encroachment could have an obvious effect on public relations content. If persons with backgrounds in other fields control an organization's public communication, it is 14

reasonable to expect it to vary from that which would otherwise be produced by public relations professionals. For example, as the literature points out, someone in marketing would likely be primarily interested in sales as opposed to relationship building whereas someone in law has an instinct to say as little as possible to protect an organization. Dominant coalition. A dominant coalition is the group(s) within an organization structure that holds the authority to make the decisions, and thus determine organizational values. More specifically, the concept has been defined as "the group of managers who hold the most power in an organization" (J. White & Dozier, 1992). Berger emphasizes that the power of the dominant coalition comes from a variety of sources, including authority, coercion, charisma, expertise, information, reward, and sanctions (Berger, 2005). Dominant coalitions rely on informal interaction to define their membership, which can shift rapidly (L. A. Grunig, 1992b). The literature emphasizes that public relations professionals should gain membership in the dominant coalition in order to advise on and influence an organization's reputation and credibility (Dozier & Grunig, 1992). In a series of interviews, focus groups and open-ended surveys with communication professionals, Bowen (Bowen, 2009) found that there are five routes for communication practitioners to gain membership in the dominant coalition. Each of these routes is related to other variables outlined in this dissertation. Facing a serious crisis was described most often as the route by which public relations practitioners gained the attention and reliance of the CEO and other management. This relates to the variable of environmental uncertainty mentioned below. Bowen notes that a crisis often provided a PR professional with 15

temporary access to the dominant coalition, but not long-term access. An ethical dilemma was found to be a second route, although it is dependent on an organization's culture and consideration of ethics in the first place, as well as the ability of a practitioner to consider issues and counsel from an ethical perspective. For this reason, this route is related to practitioner education and accreditation, mentioned previously. A third route to the dominant coalition was credibility gained over time. Bowen points out that credibility is two-fold: both for the profession of public relations itself and for the practitioner. In the case of the practitioner, credibility was gained over time with a history of correct analysis. Therefore, this route relates to the variable of experience in public relations and experience with an organization. When an organization is the focus of news media coverage, either through its own efforts or an industry-related subject of interest, it proved to be another route for the public relations practitioner to gain access to the dominant coalition. Here again, however, the access was short term and not a sustained membership in the coalition after the media issue and coverage subsided. This route relates to the variable of information demand that will be described below. A fifth and final route to the dominant coalition is leadership, which Bowen characterizes as a practitioner having authority and responsibility in the organization. Naturally, having a leadership position is a route to the dominant coalition for a PR professional. This route is related to the variables organization structure, particularly reporting directly to the CEO, as well as encroachment. The way that members of the dominant coalition view the role of public relations in the organization has been described as the dominant coalition's schema (J. E. Grunig & Grunig, 1992) or worldview (J. E. Grunig & White, 1992) about the purpose of public 16

Full document contains 111 pages
Abstract: Normative theory has asserted that public relations is essentially about the formation and maintenance of relationships between an organization and its publics. Ethically, the profession has been positively associated with a contribution to informed decision making in democratic society. Additional research has been mostly descriptive with regard to how characteristics of public relations practitioners and the settings of organizations where they work, as well as the different models of public relations practice, are in keeping with the normative and ethical ideals for the profession. Critical theory, meanwhile, has presented public relations negatively for its potential to manipulate or deceive. Much of this research has looked at the effects public relations has on the public. This dissertation is an attempt to move research about public relations from descriptive to predictive. Specifically, it is an attempt to associate independent variables related to public relations practitioners, the internal and external settings of the organizations where they work, and the primary model of public relations they practice with public relations content as dependent variables. A contribution of this study is the typology of public relations content as being relational or promotional. Combined methods included an online survey (to identify independent variables) of public relations professionals solicited through social media platforms and a content analysis of their organizational Web logs (blogs). Blogs were selected as the content of focus because the nature of blogs allows for a range of tone and format for more variance in terms of relational vs. promotional content. The sample was small, largely due to the relatively slow adoption of blogs for organizational use by public relations practitioners. This made it difficult to achieve statistical significance in analyses of regression. However, an examination of mean differences produced some interesting results. Specifically, more relational content appears to be associated with PR practitioners having more years of experience and years with a current employer, acting in a managerial capacity, not needing approval of content, perceiving a high public demand for information, and the two-way asymmetrical model of public relations. These findings were consistent with the hypotheses in the study. Other variables were not found to affect content in a meaningful way, which may be explained by the small sample, but is also consistent with other research that shows public relations professionals have positive attitudes about blogs and social media but are as yet slow to use them for public communication and relationship building.