Influencing opinions and changing perceptions typically takes time and requires a marketing or pr strategy, versus simply sending out a press release.
Press releases are great when you have news to announce, or want to make
people aware of another accomplishment. Beyond that, when you’re looking
to influence or persuade opinions, behaviors and actions, you need to look
beyond just sending out a press release.


This should be the first question you ask yourself. If your answer goes
beyond simply making an announcement, your p.r. efforts should, too.

A press release may tell the world that your business has expanded, or your
organization is offering a new service, but it won’t necessarily change people’
s actions and bring them through the door. It will tell people that you’re raising
funds, but may not persuade them to donate to the cause. We also need to
consider that not everyone will see or hear the story when it’s published or

Some good press coverage can certainly give a business or organization a
quick bump in activity, but as the news cycle changes and other stories come
into prominence, the bump or jump tapers off. To influence perceptions or get
people to take action, you may need to do more, so let’s take a quick look at
the larger picture.


Marketing and public relations are how people’s opinions and perceptions are
changed, and they’re persuaded to take action. If that’s your goal, you’ll need
a marketing strategy that convinces them to do so. Every organization has
several publics that it must have good relations with, if it wants to accomplish
its goals. Clients and customers, investors and stockholders, members,
employees, other industry or market-sector contemporaries, and more, all
make up your publics, depending on your specific situation.

How you present your message, and how often you present it, are the keys to
good relations with your different publics. This is where paid advertising and
other one-way communications such as newsletters, annual reports,
brochures, flyers, and many other marketing efforts can help.

A good example of this is the federal government, which wanted more people
to wear their seat belts more often. Laws were passed, but it was the long-
term marketing strategy of getting word out about how seat belts save lives,
that got more people to start wearing them.

Two-way communication also had a role in the government’s efforts, just as it
will in your efforts. One-on-one interaction with your different publics, such as
events, promotions and other activities can also help persuade your intended
audience into taking the action you would like it to take.


Media relations can and should be a part of your overall marketing and public
relations strategies, but when it comes to changing opinions or perceptions,
or persuading people to take action, you’ll need to do more.

Spend some time thinking about the different marketing and p.r. options that
are available to you. Most importantly, think outside the box in terms of how to
present your message. This is the single most critical factor that separates
effective marketing and publics relations efforts from the unsuccessful ones.
What’s important to you and your business or organization may not be what’s
most important to your intended audience. Present the message in a way that
speaks to them in their language. Show and explain how or why changing
their opinion or taking a desired action will benefit them, solve their problem,

Posted on 4/23/10
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Public Opinion and Persuasion
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