While this year’s Kafkaesque presidential election cycle may have revealed, exacerbated and brought political divisiveness to a new level in 2016, there is one major issue that nearly anyone, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum, can agree on: at least the campaigns are over. We can now reflect back on how we came to this point and ponder the important business of what comes next.
I, for one, have been paying close attention to the frenzied election cycle. Viewed through a marketer’s lens, it is clear to see that presidential campaigns are no different from a business’ campaign to sell a product or service: to the best marketing department go the spoils!
Here are just a few content marketing lessons I took away from this year’s bout between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
The # is mightier than the sword. For all Hillary Clinton’s surrogates, massive campaign budget and years in the political arena, Donald Trump still came out victorious. Even without all Clinton’s firepower, there was one weapon that proved unstoppable: Twitter. Trump’s around-the-clock 140-character conflagrations propelled him into the media spotlight, garnering the candidate massive amounts of free publicity and direct access to constituents that resulted in overwhelming grassroots support.
Don’t ignore bad reviews, confront them head on. Every time Wikileaks released a new batch of emails, I couldn’t help but imagine Julian Assange as the guy who leaves bad reviews all over a company’s website. Of course, the content mattered. But the response to the releases may be the reason Hillary stumbled in the home stretch. Ignoring them. Blaming the Russians. Calling Assange an enemy of the state. Everything except accept responsibility, directly engage critics and answer for the content. Negative reviews provide a unique opportunity to engage your audience and rectify a mistake.
Know thy audience. Marketing is all about knowing your audience. So my ears perked up whenever I heard a Trump supporter say “he tells it like it is” and “he says what everyone is thinking but is too afraid to say.” Many were even willing to write off his less savory statements under those exact precepts. Now, I’m no mind reader myself. I won’t jump to conclusions or generalizations. But it should come as little surprise that the candidate who captured the tone and cadence of the population will now be the 45th president. The lesson here? Your content must speak to your audience in order to capture their attention and loyalty.
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Keith Batter, known as “The Machine” due to his ability to provide quality content on a tight deadline, earned his degree in Creative Writing from Colorado University. Keith’s interest in a multitude of topics imbues his writing with valuable insights that resonate with readers in many fields. His work experience spans industries as diverse as hospitality (Thistledown Inn Bed and Breakfast), insurance (American Income Life Insurance), sales, journalism, publishing and even a brief foray into politics as a community organizer during the 2008 presidential election. In his spare time, Keith is difficult to find. Equipped only with a guitar, notebook and a liter of water, he frequently disappears deep into the forest with his wife and dog to evade civilization and wax poetic about the nature of existence.