Public Relations (PR) may be a misconstrued element in marketing, but it has the potential to shape public opinion. Day-to-day decisions on products and services bought are closely linked to efforts of public relations. The media, on its part, spreads PR news and information shaping public opinion on various issues or commodities.
With the introduction of digital media, managing a brand’s digital reputation has become an important aspect in business. For success in PR, therefore, a surefire approach must steer a brand’s image in the desired direction.
Whilst PR plays an important role in shaping public opinion, many readers can’t point out how PR agencies shape public opinion. That said, this article elaborates on the various steps PR agencies follow to do just that.
How Do Public Relations Agencies Shape Public Opinion?
PR agencies today employ the following steps to shape public opinion.
Target Audience Analysis
Key to shaping public opinion by PR agencies is audience analysis. Identifying a target audience and tailoring a message to fit an audience’s attitudes and interests are essential.
Thanks to an audience-centered approach, PR agencies can effectively craft suitable messages and identify appropriate media to reach an audience. While selecting a target audience can be challenging, PR agencies can employ several audience analysis factors to simplify the process. Some of the factors include attitude towards a brand, audience expectations, egocentrism, etc.
With key messages, it’s vital to create meaning and to highlight issues that a PR agency needs to be discussed. Using well-crafted messages, PR agencies can control the direction of communication, and improve relationships with a target audience.
Regarding public opinion, key messages help PR agencies create desired perceptions in the target audience’s mind. According to Solo PR Pro, in this age of two-way communication and virality of social media, overly packaged messages tend to have an inauthentic touch. That’s because they fail to address key pain points in an audience.
What’s more, success in influencing public opinion is dependent on crafting simple yet effective messages, targeting a specific audience. With content that’s devoid of jargon, brands can communicate their unique value proposition succinctly and create the desired perceptions in a target audience’s mind.
Deployment of Select Tactics
Success in shaping public opinions is dependent on PR agencies employing appropriate tactics to accrue maximum benefits for a brand. After deployment of tactics tailored for the unique needs of a brand, PR agencies support a brand’s spokesperson in engaging the media to solidify key messages and enhance the preparation of media and print interviews. Some tactics that PR agencies deploy to shape public policy include press releases, op-eds, letters to the editors, webinars, and broadcast interview opportunities.
At the same time, PR agencies seeking to shape public opinion should ensure that select tactics draw significant attention to content that relates to a specific brand. Some techniques employed to ensure that select tactics succeed in shaping public policy include increasing awareness via sensationalism, employing the art of misinformation, and provoking an audience’s emotions to attract attention.