With the 2016 presidential election looming near, and the whole world watching what decision America makes, there are quite a few lessons that can be learned:
- Pay your taxes
- Don’t sexually assault women
- Don’t delete emails if you’re a public official
- Use content marketing to educate voters about where you stand and where you want to go
That last one is a newer one. Back in the day, when President Obama first ran for president, there was way less focus on the marketing aspect. In 2008, we were just warming up to Twitter and Facebook — to being able to reach an audience of millions within moments.
For a little perspective here’s where we were tech-wise in 2008: using the hashtag on social media had just been introduced in late 2007, GPS was just beginning to be included on devices like iPhones and the Android operating system just launched.
Millions of dollars in tech development and social media platform inventions later, in 2016, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s triumphs and missteps are on grand display. A few marketing lessons anyone managing a personal brand or business brand can learn include:
1. Like it or not, Twitter is Part of Your Content Marketing
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
According to the Atlantic, Trump attracts — and retains — an audience of people who didn’t go to college, don’t think they have a political voice and want to wage an interior war against outsiders.
Trump hears the cries of his audience and uses Twitter to acknowledge it. He speaks their truth with tweets like:
And don’t forget this one:
2. Blogs are Not Dead
Marketing advice, like health advice, seems to change every damn day. So you’ve probably heard the whole “blogging is dead” theory. The idea is that blogging takes a ton of time and energy and doesn’t always yield results.
Upon hearing this, many marketers and bloggers got out their torches and pitchforks to take down the “blogging is dead” theory. Blogging isn’t dead; it just needs to be high-quality.
To serve a purpose.
To be written with a goal in mind.
Clinton demonstrates how to use a blog as part of attracting her audience of voters. The Clinton blog serves two purposes:
- Humanize the candidate - Clinton is notoriously “walled off,” so during this election, she’s opting to use her blog to tell her stories of being a working mother and her “crusade” to give kids access to health care and education.
- Fuel the fire of supporters - With blog content like keeping track of the number of times Trump lied during a debate and “Hey, Donald Trump: You can’t have 'great respect' for women and call them 'pigs' and 'fat slobs,' Clinton’s crew is calling out Trump’s socially-unacceptable personal habits and character flaws.
Trump’s website lacks a blog. There is a content center, but it doesn’t deliver the same value a blog can, where a compelling story — whatever that is for you or your business or whatever goal you're trying achieve — can be told.
3. People are Visual — Work with It
People are visual and your content marketing should be too: 93 percent of all human communication is visual. This isn't just Instagram trying to get you to advertise on their platform. Actual science backs it up.
Both presidential candidates produce excellent visual content on their websites and social media. Their content tells a story they want to tell. It conveys the message to their target audience of “Hey, this is why you want to vote for me.”
First up is Trump with really simple, easy-to-understand charts and graphs.
Next up is Clinton with her Instagram. This photo gained 147,000 likes, which is amazing for a photo of two people who were at each other’s throats just months ago.
In just one piece of visual content Clinton shows that not only does she have Bernie’s support, but that they plan on working as a team moving forward.
4. Use the Language of the Audience You Want
Social media is designed to be a two-way communication channel, whether that’s between two people, a brand and a person or a presidential candidate and a voter.
Both candidates show they know that voters want to easily understand why they should vote for that person — or not vote for the other.
Clinton does this by using plain language to describe herself:
And colloquial language to describe Trump:
While Clinton probably wouldn’t use “melt down” in a formal communication, it works for her Facebook audience who, most likely, agrees that Trump’s reactions to some situations would constitute a “melt down,” a la a toddler.
Trump swooped in early on this marketing lesson on with a simple phrase.
You know what it is.
“Make America great again.”
And his audience ate.it.up. Trump even slapped it onto the now-iconic hat that will forever remind us of this election, regardless of the outcome.
Who says politicians can’t be marketers?
For a quick explanation of content marketing — and how you can start planning your own marketing strategy today — check out Content Marketing 101.