Crafting Effective Messaging

I use the analogy of pulling back an arrow further to make it fly faster and straighter. This is crucial in a media practitioner's world when communicating with their audience for paid and organic posts. Ensuring copy is spot on along with the delivery platforms and methods make up effective communication.

As we have adapted our messaging, we understand three crucial pieces to persuasion. “Persuasion is at the heart of the mass media”(Rosenberry, pg 52). And at the core of persuasion, there is ethos, logos, and pathos.

Ethos is the appeal to credibility, like using influencers and powerful figures to help disseminate information. Logos is the logical appeal to someone's rationale, like providing them with the value brought by the product or service. Pathos is the technique to convince through emotions, like using fear of being the outcast or nostalgia to sell your product or service.

When analyzing these crafted messages, a practitioner needs to understand the ELM. The Elaboration Likelyhood Model helps us understand the two ways the audience will processing the information and the effect it will have on their attitude.

The best way to explain the two processing methods and how they affect the creation of pursasive messaging is to give you an example. A company I love is The North Face. A simple post could be a hiker in the Rocky Mountains on a sunny day.

When working your message to the Peripheral route, the first in the ELM, a media practitioner would understand the audience is not scruitnizing the message but the overall aesthic presented. The North Face ad presenting the hiker will help other hikers and outdoorsmens relate and feel accepted in their niche. From things like their friends opinions and colors in the post, they gain knowledge and presence of the posting. The pathos appeal of persuasion is used when tapping into someones emotions by the feel of the post and emotions it brings. Ethos would be applied if you knew the hiker and trust them supporting North Face. This also taps into ones social identity and their perception of themselves in their friend and social groups. People want to feel accepted and belong so finding content that makes them feel at home will help push their understanding and acceptability of the content provider themselves.

The second route in ELM is central route processing. This deals with the content itself and design. Logos is primarily used as we tap into the functionality and logic behind the posts. The user is looking to elaborate and learn more from specs to colors. Outside factors like their surrounds will not have much of an influence as the peripheral route. In the North Face ad, if we put in the description: “The new Trailblazers withstand thousands of miles in the Rockies. With our new foam core and straps, you are comfortable and stylish.” The user can digest these facts and make their own opinions.

When delivering content, practitioners need to understand they ways their content will be consumed and the types of persausion used to help change and affirm attitudes.


Rosenberry, J., & Vicker, L. A. (2017). In Applied Mass Communication Theory: A Guide for Media Practitioners (p. 52). essay, Routledge.

Geddes, J. (2016). Elaboration Likelihood Model Theory — Using ELM to Get inside the User’s Mind. The Interaction Design Foundation.

Pursuing a master's in Mass Communications at the University of Florida. Telling my stories through videos and medium articles. Join me on my adventures.