PR + Factors in Persuasion

An important piece of public relations practitioners’ jobs is to persuade (ethically) their clients’ audience(s) to buy a product, endorse a brand, buy a service or think a certain way. Some professionals may resort to spin tactics, but there are several ethical, effective means and factors to persuasive communication, like:

  • audience analysis- this is one of the most important factors of public relations in general, especially any campaign practitioners complete. It is vital that professionals know who they are targeting or else all of their other efforts will not be efficient. Once practitioners know the age, gender, ethnicity, etc. of who they are talking to, they are better able to craft messages, which will hopefully catch the audience’s attention, around those characteristics.
  • suggestions for action- if public relations professionals want to compel their public(s) to purchase an item or have a specific mindset, they must not only know they are talking to, but provide them with action steps they can take to achieve the desired result. The easier practitioners make it for their audience(s) to accomplish something, the more likely they are to follow through. Once they see how easy it is to buy a product or support a cause, there is a chance they will share with those in their sphere of influence, who may or may not have been considered part of the original target audience. Suggestions for action can also show publics that practitioners care about more than self-promotion.
  • timing and context- public relations professionals’ messages and the means through which they communicate them must match. Some messages are not meant for specific  avenues of communication or seasons. For example, information about a Target Christmas sale would not best be received in May via email. Rather a television commercial in December would be more likely to hit home with the target (no pun intended) audience. Practitioners can completely miss the mark if they are not knowledgeable about the best time at which and means through which to communicate their clients’ messages. Even the best of messages can fail to make an impression and prompt action if their timing and context are inappropriate.

Which means of persuasive communication do you think are the most effective? Why?

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