Mass Communication Skills: Provoking an Emotional Response

Who should be sharpening their mass communication skills?

Social media marketers, press release writers, bloggers, freelancers, designers, web 2.0 developers, and basically everyone else who is in the business to make a good living from an online business. You have to know how to get your message out. Today, I am going to share a theory I have been reading more about called: the cultural theory.

What is the cultural theory of mass communication?

The cultural theory of mass communication is the belief that mass communication processes have the potential to shape our reality.

What the heck does that mean?

The cultural theory of mass communication is about three very important things:

  1. Knowing your message.
  2. Knowing your audience.
  3. Knowing how to get your audience to hear your message and remember it.

If you are successful with number three, then you know how to utilize the value of perception and convert your audience to be a customer / client / faithful reader / etc. Advertisements designed with the cultural theory in mind are the types that are aimed to be more “interactive” so that the messages are received, processed, and then stored by the viewer.

So, how do you provoke this emotional response with your message?

It takes trial and error with a dash of common sense to choose which of the following ideas will work with your message. If you get a person to hear a message, then you must practice stimulating an audience response by

  • asking the audience a question,
  • showing the audience an attractive picture (like a beach or a beautiful person),
  • getting the audience to question their position,
  • showing the audience a repulsive image (like starving children or magnified pictures of harmful micro-organisms)
  • recreating a memory of the audience past (we all enjoy a blast from the past every now and then),
  • or predicting what might come to be in the audience future.

Any way you look at it, a message sent to make the recipient believe that it might directly affect him/her is a message that will be processed and stored. This would be the type of communication that reaches to relate to people of the target audience and add value to the specific individual’s situation (whether by entertaining or informing).

The messages that the media and advertising executives want you to see or hear and remember are more often delivered with some kind of spin that plays on the emotions of the audience. The stronger the emotion you can provoke will determine how memorable the message was.

2 thoughts on “Mass Communication Skills: Provoking an Emotional Response

  1. Just stumbled across this blog recently — thanks for the great tips on social media, marketing, and communication! Any tips for recent college grads on finding jobs with a social media angle?

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