4 effective propaganda techniques

This article is part of Propaganda

Some types of propaganda are more successful than others. Their success depends amongst others on the techniques their creators use to convince the audience of their message. Discover 4 common propaganda techniques that are often highly effective.

Evoking emotions

Evoking fear, hope, frustration, anger or sympathy has often been proven to help spread propaganda. Creators use this strategy to suppress the critical mind of the receiver. When you feel angry or disgusted, you are less likely to think calmly about a message before coming to a conclusion.

Attacking opponents

People are drawn to conflict. By casting opponents in a negative light, propagandists manage to create controversy and draw their audience’s attention. That way, they try to start an us-versus-them debate and draw the audience to their side. The chosen enemy can be a single individual or an entire subsection of the population.

Simplifying information

Propaganda can consist of facts, half-truths or straight-up lies. But there is usually a common denominator: both correct and incorrect information are often presented as very simple. Snappy slogans and simple messages aren’t just easy to repeat, they also hinder the audience’s critical thinking. People can more easily digest a one-sided, nuance-free story.

Targeting a specific group

You are more likely to pay attention to a message when it speaks to you directly and relates to your reality. That’s why propagandists try to target specific parts of the population. Youngsters, women, people of specific ethnicities, … The creators of propaganda try to touch on their values and to give them the feeling that they are understood.

Propaganda techniques in fake news

Propaganda techniques in fake news

We often see the techniques above used in fake news. Discover how and why that works.

Published on 16 October 2023