Swearingen Communications Insights

Fresh ideas, seasoned perspectives, and solid marketing strategies to keep you grounded and growing.


You May Be Communicating — But Are You Connecting?

To its credit, the Public Relations Society of America (www.prsa.org) has a rigorous accreditation program for experienced PR practitioners who wish to earn the APR designation (Accredited in Public Relations).  Back when I was studying for the test, one of the topics we were expected to master was The “Seven C’s” of Communication.

The public relations and marketing world has changed dramatically since 1997.  Yet  the “Seven C’s” continue to guide communicators across all channels — from traditional print media to blogs and Linked In.  Here they are:


There must exist a climate of belief built on past performance. The receiver must have confidence in the sender and high regard for the source’s competence on the subject.


The message must square with the realities of the environment. Context must provide for participation and response, and must confirm, rather than contradict, the message. Effective communications require a supportive social environment.


The message must be meaningful to the receiver.  Content determines the audience.


The message must be put in simple terms.

Continuity and Consistency

Communications is an unending process.  It requires repetition to achieve penetration. The message/story must be consistent.


The receiver should respect the communication channel(s) used.  Different channels have different effects.  People assign different values to varying channels; this must be kept in mind.

Capability of the Audience

The capability of the audience must be addressed – from attitudes to education levels,  knowledge, and   prejudices. Communications are most effective when they require the least effort from the recipient.