Trump’s White House team have declared war on the media. In this age of prosumers and vast new networks of media organisations challenging traditional media powers, who needs the media industry to reach the general public?
In the private sector, this sort of question is the bread and butter of content marketing: the practice of going directly to customers without paying for ad campaigns or celebrity endorsements. So let’s see what a content marketer has to say about it.
OLIVER, a marketing and branding agency, took a look at the numbers in an excellent blog post. (Aside: I think policymakers and researchers enthralled with the possibilities of behavioural economics would do well to pay more attention to world of online marketing).
There is a ton of really interesting information in there but a couple of graphs grabbed my attention in particular.
‘The mainstream news media is generating 1.2 billion monthly site visits – more than seven times the combined audience of Trump’s political webspace, plus that of FoxNews.com and Breitbart.com.’
There isn’t much chance of the White House being able to go around the media all together – it simply cannot begin to match their reach, budget or scale. And, despite the doom and gloom, those pro-Trump/alt-right/post-truth outlets that came to such prominence during the election campaign have nothing like the total audience traditional media has.
‘The graph speaks for itself. Preoccupied with government and politics, the Trump camp clearly cannot cultivate online experiences as effectively as the news media.’
So how does Trump keep dominating the agenda?
One of the things that these graphs don’t measure is the nature of the content itself. Traditional media has gotten a lot of flack for giving way too much air time to Trump – for example, during the election campaign he got mentioned twice as often as Hillary Clinton in headlines. So some of the massive reach advantage traditional media have over Trump is somewhat mitigated by how often those big outlets are choosing to talk about Trump. That sort of thing is hazy to measure, even for sophisticated content marketing people.
As I’ve written before, Trump’s victory (and the Brexit vote) came from a small proportion of the overall population. Nothing close to a majority of citizens voted for Trump in the Presidential election. Most people didn’t vote for Brexit. In these ‘shocking’ results one pattern is clear: the majority didn’t vote at all.
When most people don’t vote, the content marketing numbers get a little trickier. The White House doesn’t need those huge audiences – it only needs that minority of highly active, highly engaged voters. And when the traditional media goes ahead and gives Trump all the attention he could ever want anyway, their jobs gets even easier.