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5 Research-Backed Tips to Significantly Improve Your Public Relations

John Stevens is a marketing consultant, hosting expert and the CEO at Hosting Facts. When he is not consulting with major brands on their PR and marketing strategy, he’s probably reviewing web hosts.

Public perception of your brand matters. And with the far-reaching adoption of social media today, brands can be made or marred in seconds.

Thankfully, research shows that there’s still hope; according to data from Landor Associates, 45 percent of a brand’s image can be attributed to what the brand says and how it says it.

That said, trying to get influencers to take note of your brand message or getting your audience to respond isn’t going to be easy.

Research from Havas Media shows that 55 percent of people have a natural distrust for brands. Microsoft recently surveyed 2,000 people and observed brain activity of 112 others and found that since 2000 the average human attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds, meaning it’s shorter than that of a goldfish!

If you want to get results from your communication efforts, you need to be smarter than ever before. Here are some research-backed tips to significantly improve your public relations response rates:

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1. Boost Likeability With the Mere-Exposure Effect

With decreasing attention spans, you simply have to try more to be noticed. A communication principle called “the rule of 7” suggests your audience needs to be exposed to your brand’s message at least seven times before they take note and start to act.

This is also grounded in psychology, and it is explained by a phenomenon popularly known as the “mere-exposure effect” or “familiarity principle.” Essentially, it states that people develop a preference for things the more they are exposed to it.

So, double up on your content marketing efforts. If you already have a blog, then you should also have an email list, accounts on all major social media platforms, etc.

Also, when you get the opportunity to contribute to major publications, aim for regular contributions instead of one-offs. While this might not sound alluring in terms of number of clicks or “instant” results, it will go a long way to improve public perception and likability of your brand.

2. Embrace a Mobile PR Strategy

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Most businesses do not even know that it is possible to have a mobile PR strategy, but it’s time to develop one for your brand or it might be too late.

Research shows that the number of mobile Internet users has exceeded the number of desktop Internet users and that mobile devices will generate a massive 68 percent of all Internet traffic by 2017.

Smart public relations professionals know that the key to successful communication is to be where your audience is. Right now, mobile is too big of a force to be ignored. It’s time to develop a mobile public relations strategy that will keep you in front of your audience at all times.

3. Keep Yourself Ahead With Your Email Game

Email is a core part of effective public relations. While social media is ubiquitous now, it still isn’t going to replace email anytime soon. You’ll find success by keeping yourself ahead of the curve as far as email is concerned.

A recent study by USC Viterbi School of Engineering observed the email behavior of over 2 million users who exchanged 16 billion emails over the course of several months. Here are some of their key findings that will help you get better responses to your emails:

  • Keep your emails short and simple: The KISS principle is more important than ever when it comes to email. Remember, attention spans are decreasing, and there’s significantly more things competing for attention now. Always keep your emails short and very simple.
  • Send your emails in the morning: While most people email at any time of the day, research shows that the highest responses come during normal workday hours, especially in the morning. Make sure to send your emails in the morning on weekdays.
  • If you don’t get a response within 48 hours, follow up: You’ve probably been looking for that “magic number” when it comes to waiting for a response before following up. Well, now you have it: 48 hours. Research shows that there’s a 90 percent likelihood that you’ll get a response to your emails within 48 hours. If you don’t get a response, then you’re likely never going to get it. Follow up if you’re yet to have a response to your email after 48 hours.

4. Personalization Matters

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In an increasingly impersonal world, personalization might be your greatest asset. Whether it is in your outreach efforts or how you communicate your brand perception to your audience, personalization matters a lot. In fact, improper personalization or lack of personalization can hurt your brand.

Research published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology that observed the increase in tips servers received by giving their patrons mints found that when they personalized the delivery, tips increased 21 percent. Research published in Marketing Sherpa also showed that businesses can experience up to a 200 percent increase in conversions by personalizing. No doubt this applies to public relations efforts as well.

5. Be Ethical, and Make this Known

Nice guys don’t always finish last! Research shows that customers are very concerned about a brand’s ethics, so much so that 51 percent of consumers stop using a brand because of its ethics and 84 percent of consumers will pay more for a product or service from a brand perceived to be socially responsible.

If your brand is not socially responsible, perhaps now is the right time to be. If your brand is socially responsible, it might help your image to make this known when communicating your brand message/values.

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Images via Pixabay: 1, 2, 3

About Guest Contributor

Cision invites PR and marketing professionals to share their best practices and advice with the Cision Blog audience. To share your story, contact blog.us@cision.com

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