7 Minute Read

Empowering Your PR Communication Through Cognitive Science

As robots continue to take over the internet, PR practitioners need to use the advantage we have that robots don’t; human emotions. As grounded as professionals act in the workplace, we all have an emotional side, lots of them actually. When publishing companies came up with huge advertising budgets for mailed advertising, PR lost its game. But it’s back to jump the gap of this window of opportunity. Here are 4 ways to win over your audience through the power of cognitive science.

How can you win over your audience in #PR? Find out! Click To Tweet


1. Tug on those heart strings

I’m not saying you need to make your readers cry, but make them feel something. If you’re talking about something serious, give the hard, cold stats that will make their eyebrows crunch with concern. If you’re talking about something exciting, express the excitement shooting through your fingertips onto that email. There are ways to express emotion through our written word without being a generic PR practitioner… sorry. Communication is the baseline for Public Relations. Sway away from the boring corporate rules of tone to get your point across… without all this junk “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”<<<


2. Once upon a time…

Another integral part of playing with cognitive science in PR is to effectively convey your company’s brand and story. Often times, companies have all this mumbo jumbo they want in their marketing messages, which is fine, but when you’re stuck trying to fit in all the stats and facts in a tiny box to send out into the world, there’s less, if any room for the real message you should be sending, the story. Stop talking. Start storytelling. Stories are interesting and luring.

What’s more likely to stop you in the middle of your day, a headline reading, “Company Releases Study on Machines Replacing More Jobs in 2016.” OR “Deep Learning Is Going to Teach Us All the Lesson of Our Lives: Jobs Are for Machines.” The first headline is your standard business headline. It’s informative and basically says it all.

Most of my PR professors in college say this is the direction you want to take. Telling the story in the headline is the quick fix consumers need. Instead, take a look at our second headline. It has something else to offer, a story, a story I want to know more about what deep learning is going to teach us and why jobs are for machines and not us. Take risks. Tell stories. See where you end up.


3. Don’t forget to tell me how much you love me

There’s nothing bigger than our own ego. What’s the best way for PR practitioners to milk that? Stroke everyone’s ego, within reason. For my line of work specifically, I have to reach out to several editors on the daily and ask them to place my client’s written work on their blog. Almost every placed media article out on the blogosphere and every guideline posted by editors says to very thoroughly read the blog of the outlets you are pitching to.

First of all, even if your mission isn’t to boost their ego, you need to read every outlet’s blog you’re reaching out to no matter what. This is PR 101. If you fail to understand an outlet’s content funnel, you’ll end up looking like a real dumb jerk.

If you fail to understand an outlet’s content funnel, you’ll end up looking like a real dumb jerk. #PR Click To Tweet

Second, once you’ve read a few titles and grabbed a few quotes that you like from their content, take that to the pitch and tell them specifically what you enjoyed out of their content. This shows them you’ve taken the time to browse their content and points specifically to what resonated with you. Don’t overdo it. If you’re exploding about HOW AWESOME THEY ARE AND HOW YOU LOVE THEM SO MUCH AND OH MY GOD I DON’T DO ANYTHING BUT REFRESH YOUR BLOG ALL DAY…this is psycho, not genuine.


4. Shining, shimmering, splendid

We already talked about how you can make someone feel with your words, now’s your chance to get graphic. The internet is surrounded with visuals, and if your marketing team knows what they’re doing, they probably already whipped up a video or two for your brand. Implement videos and images into your messages to convey that brand. 65% of executives have visited a company’s website after watching one of their videos. So even if whatever you’re pitching doesn’t tug their heart strings, your odds of getting some brand recognition are pretty high.


We can’t be mind readers, but we can play with cognitive science and back it up with research. Get your storytelling stick out, get emotional, bring out the compliments and get visual. You’re 4 steps closer to nailing your PR department.