Not long ago you needed access to a printing press, radio station or a TV channel to get your message out to a large audience. It’s not that way today.
The internet and social media have shifted the balance. Traditional media organisations don’t have a monopoly on information and audiences anymore.
Today anyone can produce content that influences opinion or drives a desired behaviour. Popular YouTube vloggers like Zoella, Casey Neistat and New Zealand’s Jamie’s World have massive audiences. The numbers they rack up are staggering.
Their contribution might not be a master class in strategic communications but they are certainly setting the bar for how information is delivered and recieved.
Obama’s Master Class in Strategic Communications
Working outside traditional media is a crucial consideration for any strategic communications plan. There are great examples of how to leverage new media to drive positive change.
Barack Obama’s 2008 election and 2012 re-election campaigns were a master class in strategic communications.
He didn’t rely on traditional media to get his Hope, Change and Forward message out to audiences. Obama built his own media machine.
At its height, Obama’s communications team had 200 people onboard, including 30 working on video alone. Their results were impressive.
The two most successful videos the digital team produced were seen more than 3.5 million times each. They produced dozens of other videos that reached between 500,000 and 2 million people each (source: The Message: The Reselling of President Obama by Richard Wolffe).
Those numbers would make the 6 o’clock news in any country jealous.
No doubt, Obama is a master communicator. His ability to connect with an audience is a large part of who he is. His appearance on Funny or Die’s “Between Two Ferns” attracted massive attention and ultimately achieved what it set out to do.
Obama’s interview with comedian Zach Galifianakis was watched 11 million times within days of being posted.
This was a strategic move to drive traffic to healthcare.gov, the portal where Americans can register for Obamacare. It worked. The website racked up more than 890,000 visits within hours of the video’s release.
Truly a master class in strategic communications.