Why being a Media First Responder matters

In 1925, psychologist Frederick Lund conducted an experiment to see if the persuasiveness of arguments is affected by the order in which they are presented. He gave students two documents supporting and opposing a controversial issue. Lund then interviewed the students to see which of the two sides they had chosen. The interviews showed that the document read first consistently had greater influence, regardless of which position it expressed. The mechanism by which this worked was termed the primacy principle.

Time is money

Fascinating stuff, but why should a PR person care about the primacy principle? Because it suggests that we should encourage our clients to be media first responders if they’re to maximise their influence. While being the first to answer a journalist enquiry, the first to comment on a topical article on economist.com, the opening speaker in a panel discussion or the first to make a 140-character statement in a Twitter chat, might only have a marginal effect on our ultimate Klout score, when combined with other subtle techniques of influence (many of which are covered in our science of marketing series) these minor decisions could potentially make all the difference in helping a marketing campaign gain that critical competitive edge.

Now I know it’s not very British to push your way to the front of the queue, but I’m going to recommend it anyway. Be the first to comment if you disagree!

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