Underused campaigning tools: political public relations
The use of public relations (PR) enables the sender of a message to identify who to target, how to reach them and the appropriate message. It therefore constructs persuasive messages, enters into dialogue and builds relationships to raise interest in a product, organisation or idea. Political PR is not restricted to promoting a speciﬁc political product, but also includes building and maintaining positive relationships with key audiences. It can include developing dialogue, considering the receiver of the communication, raising interest in a candidate or party, and managing reputations. This chapter will outline a model of political PR and explore to what extent it was used during the 2010 UK general election at local candidate level. We will then suggest how it could be developed, assessing the broader potential of PR to create more positive long-term relationships between government and the public.