What Hillary Clinton’s announcement means for your press strategy.

Were you surprised???

On Sunday, Hillary Clinton announced that she was running for President!

This is my shocked face.  😐

Ok, so no one was taken aback by the news . . . but some folks were taken aback by the way she announced the news.

In the old days, the potential first female President would have held a big press conference, invited press days before, and issued a release simultaneously with her live announcement to make sure every nook and cranny of the media world knew about her intentions.  In fact, she might have even sent out that press release several hours before and had it embargoed until the actual announcement (this happens a lot in the press industry – a release is sent before an announcement to give reporters a chance to get their stories researched, written and ready to go).

But these aren’t the old days.

Instead of the traditional approach, Ms. Clinton made her announcement via social media, with a video on YouTube . . . and then she sent out her press releases.

Social media first. Traditional media second.

That sound you just heard is the shift of how we communicate to our consumers.

This strategy was an obvious attempt by the Clinton campaign to symbolically get her message to the people first, because the right message on social media can be shared a whole lot more than an article in the New York Times.  (Usually the most shared videos involve cats playing piano or performing nuclear fission but that’s another story.)

What does this mean for you, and for Broadway press in general?

It means that when you have something interesting and important to say, you no longer have to wait for someone’s permission to say it.  No more waiting with the hope that the Times or the Voice or someone will write about your show or your theater.  Press agents still beg to get ink in papers these days, but the fact is, you don’t need the traditional media like you used to, provided what you are talking about is something people really want to hear (not as easy as you think, of course).  And when done right, the traditional press will end up picking up your story anyway!

I’ve used this strategy a few times on this very blog.  I chose to announce my crowd-funded Godspell and the almost recoupment of Macbeth via this non-traditional outlet first, and followed up with press releases second.

You can use it too.  You just need to build a following (email list, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, meet up groups, whatever) and build an interesting idea . . . and you’ll end up building a buzz.

(Speaking of Clinton, a huge shout out to my two incredible clients, Paul Hodge and Kari Lynn Hearn, who both started out with consults and a seminar, and last week they opened Clinton The Musical . . . which just got one of the biggest and best raves from the New York Times I’ve seen for a commercial Off Broadway show in a looooong time.  And in honor of Ms. Hillary’s 2016 Campaign announcement, they are offering tickets for only $20.16 all week long.  Read more about that here.)


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