Public diplomacy message strategy (Public Diplomacy) (see also public diplomacy approach)




public diplomacy, strategic communication, foreign publics, governmental communication, international news, comparative research


The variable “public diplomacy message strategy” (or “public diplomacy approach”) refers to public diplomacy efforts in a given country in order to investigate how and with which goal public diplomacy is strategically communicated in the given context. The variable reflects the communication style of a specific actor (a politician, government, or country).


Field of application/theoretical foundation:

Analyses of public diplomacy message strategies or approaches mostly build on the taxonomy of public diplomacy (Cull, 2008) or the proposed categories of public diplomacy by Fitzpatrick (2010).


References/combination with other methods of data collection:

Public diplomacy message strategies can, in addition to content analysis, be analyzed by conducting interviews or surveys with public diplomacy actors, which allow validating the results from content analyses.


Example study:

Dodd & Collins (2017)


Information on Dodd & Collins (2017)

Authors: Dodd & Collins

Research question/research interest: Comparison between public diplomacy approaches between Central Eastern European (not explicated) and Western countries (Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States)

Object of analysis: Twitter content posted by 41 embassy accounts (not explicated)

Time frame of analysis: March 2015


Information about variable

Variable name/definition: Public diplomacy practices: Communication strategy

Level of analysis: Tweet


Building on Cull’s (2008) taxonomy of public diplomacy:

(1) Listening (attempts to collect and collate information about foreign publics and their opinions)

(2) Advocacy (activities that promote the country’s policies or general interests among foreign publics)

(3) Cultural (efforts to promote cultural resources and achievements of a country)

(4) International (activities that involve sending national actors abroad or receiving international actors to strategically manage the international environment)

(5) News (use of radio, television and digital media to inform and involve foreign audiences)

(6) Other

Scales: Nominal

Reliability: Krippendorf’s alpha = .50



Cull, N. J. (2008). Public Diplomacy: Taxonomies and Histories. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 616(1), 31–54.

Dodd, M. D., & Collins, S. J. (2017). Public relations message strategies and public diplomacy 2.0: An empirical analysis using Central-Eastern European and Western Embassy Twitter accounts. Public Relations Review, 43(2), 417–425.

Fitzpatrick, K. (2010). The future of U.S. public diplomacy: An uncertain fate. Martinus Nijhoff/Brill.



How to Cite

Marschlich, S. (2021). Public diplomacy message strategy (Public Diplomacy) (see also public diplomacy approach). DOCA - Database of Variables for Content Analysis, 1(4).



(Professional) Communicators & Organisational/Strategic Communication