Last week, The Washington Post published an article commenting on President Obama’s recent interviews with the likes of People magazine, “Entertainment Tonight” and other news outlets that fall outside the standard lineup of “John King USA” and “Meet the Press.”
So why is the President carving out time to comment on the latest Carly Rae Jepsen song?
The role of the American media has shifted (or expanded) from its primary focus on sharing news and information to a broader perspective on what is going on behind-the-scenes.
It’s not enough to know the facts – there are plenty of places to go for that, start with Wikipedia. Today, we want a deeper reason to agree with one source versus another. Do we share more in common with a particular political leader or business entrepreneur, such as a love of organic vegetables or a favorite playlist on iTunes®?
Americans want to “like” individuals and companies in the news, and that’s not just on Facebook!
As PR professionals, we often counsel our clients about these changing dynamics and how important it is to “humanize” news and put a “face” on even the most banal topics. It’s no longer good enough to share what your widget does – even if it’s a first of its kind –the media wants to know how it makes an individual’s life better (and it often helps to have that individual sitting side-by-side with your executives in media interviews).
In addition, traditional media outlets are no longer the only way we work with clients to reach key influencers – experiential marketing events that create a unique branding experience are equally, if not more important than a cover story sharing all the ins and outs of the latest new thing.
Brand building and media relations have never been more entwined, which is why the Obama Administration knows it is as critical to position the Obamas as “The First Couple of Fitness” as it is to share news about the President’s health care initiatives and economic policies.
People and “Entertainment Tonight” join “Saturday Night Live” and the “Late Show with David Letterman” as prime outlets to connect with Americans in a format that is both engaging and disarming. The breadth of the President’s outreach efforts reinforces all that continues to change about the news media – what makes news and what breaks news.
P.S. I have no idea who Carly Rae Jepsen is!