Is effective PR strategy possible in the age of relentless political news? And when politicians (former and current) are ever-present media darlings – promoting books, landing nightly interviews, writing op-eds, etc. – is there any space left in the news or on the airwaves for other experts and other issues beyond politics? As a practitioner, I will admit there have been many times when my answer would have been no. After all, for better, for worse or perhaps even just for your entertainment, politics is everywhere. But don’t throw in the towel – or throw all of your PR dollars toward paid media.
Let’s take stock of what politics is really all about. At its core, politics today is about what it has always been: persuasion. So, I’m going to flip the title of this blog, mid-blog, to “Public Relations Strategy in the Age of Persuasion.”
PR success in this environment is certainly possible. In fact, it may be even more so, for reasons we may be overlooking. And one of those reasons is us. Despite, or perhaps because of, political news, we crave media more than ever. We consume news more than ever. We are on social media more than ever. (Though a healthy break from it every now and again is certainly advisable!) What this tells me is that the audience, your audience, is still there. They are still loyal, and perhaps even rabid, consumers of news. Figuring out what’s going to break through the political noise in order to reach them, and then convince them to act, is the hard part.
Recently, to help our clients find new ways to persuade audiences to move from inaction or contentment with their current (insert any company or service here) to a new choice or solution (preferably yours), we introduced a strategic message development process called SOP, short for the Science of Persuasion. Part of our SOP is mindset mapping, an uncommon technique in our field (these are uncommon times, after all) that helps us determine why a potential consumer of your company or service, while even aware of what you offer, may not be taking any action to engage with you. This isn’t something a single, or even a series, of media placements or social media posts is likely to change on its own. But when we identify what it will take to persuade your audience to move their perception of your company or brand from point A to point B, we can both understand and implement a PR strategy that includes the kind of media coverage and social media content most likely to support them on this journey.
And along the way, we might, just might, crack the code on breaking through all the political punditry.