The Six Principles of Influence and How to Use Them in PR

So you’ve won a fantastic client and now you need to promote your PR campaign. But how do you do this? How do you influence others into supporting your project? That’s where Robert Cialdini’s Six Principles of Influence come into play.


As humans we generally tend to return favours and that’s because we feel uncomfortable with being indebted to others. No one wants to be considered ungrateful so use the old “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” principle to your advantage: build a sense of indebtedness in someone by doing them a favour and then, when their help is needed, simply remind that person of how you have assisted them in the past.
Commitment and Consistency

People like to make consistent choices, so once they’ve committed to a project, they’re more likely to honour that commitment because of establishing that project as being congruent with their self-image. So try to get people’s commitment to support your PR project early on. When you can get someone to commit verbally or even better, in writing, the chances go up sharply that they’ll actually do it.
Social Proof

We often decide what to do by looking at what others are doing. So if you want someone to do something for you, be sure to let them see that many other people are already doing it or are willing to do it. You can use this principle by creating a “buzz” around your client by using social media, word of mouth or publish case studies.

People will tend to feel a sense of duty or obligation to people in positions of authority. Here you can use both your own authority, and the authority of your clients, as influencers. Establish yourself as a PR expert, present your client as a thought-leader in their field and cite authoritative sources to support your PR campaign.


People are easily persuaded by other people that they like, trust and respect. More people will say “yes” to your requests if you appear to have similar opinions, personality traits or background. Build good relationships by ensuring you put in the time and effort needed to build trust, rapport and familiarity with clients and partners, and behave with consistency.


Hard-to-get things are perceived as better than easy-to-get things. So with this principle people need to know that they’re missing out if they don’t act quickly. If you need support for your PR project, you can refer to limited resources and time limits to increase the perceived value of the benefits of working with you. You can also highlight the possible urgent consequences of the issues that your client helps to solve.
The Six Principles of Influence are incredibly powerful and can be combined in many ways. Use them whenever you want to promote your PR projects, but be sure to use them wisely.

The Six Principles of Influence or Six Weapons of Influence were created by Professor of Psychology and Marketing Robert B. Cialdini’s in his book Influence: Science, and Practice.