In most PR situations, there comes a point when you need to take control of the narrative, and define the conversation. The best case scenario is when you start the conversation with a planned campaign, and continue to control the narrative throughout. However, this is also not how things usually happen.
In a public relations scenario, there are infinitely more voices in the “public” than you have working for you. The only way to maintain any semblance of control is to create a message, and a delivery system that can drown out all the dissenting voices, and help you keep your version of the message at the center of the conversation.
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W Public Relations in NYC, has three tips to help you pull that off:
Craft the Most Compelling Message
People don’t want the truest, or most factual message. They want the most compelling message. Sure, you can stay honest, and still be compelling. You just need to be able to communicate the truth in a way that people want to hear. Bare facts are hardly ever the right way to go. Yes, you need to gauge your audience, but for the most part, people want something entertaining, interesting, and engaging. Otherwise, they will not be compelled. Complain all you want purists, but doing so just ignores the reality.
Use the Biggest Bullhorn You Can Find
Here, Torossian is not advocating that you stand on a street corner with a literal bullhorn. The best way to counter a million contrary voices, or disparate narratives, is to present yours to the most people possible as soon as possible through a voice, or medium those people recognize, and trust. That’s the true strength of the media. Choice. Consumers choose who to listen to. If you want them to listen to you, then you better be using the voice they already love.
Ignite and Deploy Your Fans
Personal referral marketing is still the most effective sales technique. If you want people to understand, and connect with your message, you must engage your fans, and recruit them into the cause. Passive fans are not business builders. You need to make them a part of the story. Let your fans become your advocates. Craft easy to understand, and easier to convey messages, for the web, and social media. Create viral commercials, and soundbites. Anything your fans can use in passing conversation to defend you at the watercooler, and on Facebook.
By following these three tips you may never have the largest voice in the crowd, but you can be sure your message will always be delivered by both a crowd and by signature voices that have already earned trust. In this way you have a much better chance of either controlling the message from start to finish, or of wresting control from others who may not have your brand’s best interests at heart.