How easy would it be to do your job if you could read minds? You'd know exactly what kind of pitch would catch that reporter's eye, what tweet would be retweeted by Taylor Swift, what video you could make that would go viral.
It would be unwise for us to hold our breath hoping to develop mutant powers, but the good news is that by studying cognitive science, we're halfway to telepathy. Elizabeth Robinson Edwards, founder and CEO of Volume PR, is a cognitive science PR specialist, and her article in the PR News Media Relations Guidebook Vol. 2 lays out some of the basics. "Understanding the motivators and core human drivers of your target customer unlocks a wealth of improved outcomes," she says, before recommending the following six approaches as the tip of the iceberg for revitalizing your tactics:
1. Emotional communication wins.
Humans are very emotional beings. Communicating with them therefore in a way that engages emotion will always be more effective than engaging them in a way that engages critical thinking. Develop messages that stir your readers’ feelings and certain, specific emotions, and your messages and content will become more valuable and viral.
2. Stop talking and start storytelling.
Many companies have a ton of information they want marketers to convey—so much so that it’s easy to get caught in the trap of reporting on facts and figures to fit it all in. Instead, use your voice to tell a story and weave a narrative about the benefits of your product, and bring audiences along on a journey rather than preaching to them from a distance.
3. Make it about me.
Right or wrong, people are intrinsically driven by ego. Ego wins all day, every day. Communicating with audiences in a manner that supports the needs of ego will generate more positive responses.
4. Get graphic.
Vivid visuals communicate directly to the decision-making center in our brain. Bypass the center of the brain tangled up with analytical stop signs and start loading up every form of your communication with beautiful imagery, infographics, pictures and videos.
5. Surprises focus attention.
In our states of constant hurry, we try to complete thoughts, processes and sentences in our minds before they’re completed outside of our minds. Use this in your favor to surprise audiences with unexpected endings that leave a memorable or catchy new impression.
6. Rename your market.
Are certain words in your industry pushing the wrong emotional buttons in your customers’ minds? Products with negative associations may benefit from messages that define a different market. Is demand waning for prunes? How about "dried plums"?
Follow Elizabeth: @PR_Virtuoso
Follow Ian: @ianwright0101