It finally happened – the day when two years of campaigning ended and we decided who our next president will be.
Here in Florida, voters are united by at least one sentiment: We are all tired of being barraged by campaign publicity. On TV, the commercials air so often, schoolchildren can recite them word for word. Pundits, pollsters and politicians seem to have taken over our favorite radio shows. Our daily newspapers are filled with election-related headlines, and even our friends online have hounded us about one candidate or the other.
All of which got some of us here at EMSI talking the other day. In this digital age, we wondered which forms of publicity had the biggest effect on our political choices. As we talked, we realized there is no easy answer!
So, we set up our own polling place. “Which medium most influenced your vote in today’s presidential election?” Scroll down to the bottom to see the results from our poll.
I find the question interesting because, as I talk with prospective clients about their messages, I can quickly determine which media are best suited for their needs. Sometimes, the prospective client comes to us with a strong desire to go out to a particular medium, say print. After talking to him or her, however, I might realize they’ll be much better received by talk radio.
It has a bit to do with the person’s style, but more important, it’s about where their message will best resonate. Each medium has its own quirks, timetables, personality and audience; what plays well on talk radio won’t necessarily be a hit in the world of print.
Here’s a brief rundown of the four mass media.
Print (newspaper, magazines and online outlets, such as blogs): In general, print is best for topics and messages that are not fleeting fads, trends or issues. Print editors tend to plan much of their content in advance, so they’re looking for articles and information that will still be timely weeks and even months from now. They particularly like experts who can provide useful tips for their readers. Print tends to be the most conservative of the media, as far as being cautious, traditional and eager to avoid offending their audience. So it’s a good place for non-controversial messages.
Talk radio: Take everything I just told you about print, apply the opposite, and you’ve got talk radio. Many show hosts and producers like to schedule guests who can address issues that are in the news today. To get on their shows, you have to act quickly – wait a couple days after the big event and you’re old news. Show hosts need to be entertaining, so they may be argumentative, in-your-face, or downright offensive. Talk radio is great for people with a controversial message and those whose expertise can shed light on problems, issues and events. It’s also good for people who can’t travel; interviews can be conducted over the phone.
TV: Planning for TV talk show segments falls somewhere between the lead time required for print and that for radio. Producers are looking for timely, topical content from guests who appear comfortable on TV. Visuals are a plus. Local shows tend toward family- and women-oriented topics. Those producers like “news you can use” with a light, positive tone and they plan in advance. National shows are more immediate because they want a stronger news hook, whether it’s from the latest headlines or an upcoming holiday or anniversary.
Social media: Blogs, network sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and other online media are all about ongoing conversations. They’re great for niche products, services, books and messages that appeal to a narrow – but intensely interested – swath of the general public. They’re also great for topics that affect people’s day-to-day lives – from fitness and finances to food. The beauty of social media is that you don’t have to win over a gatekeeper, such as an editor or producer, to use it. The challenge is that it requires regular interaction.
As you can see, each medium has its own benefits and drawbacks, depending on your message and how it relates to people’s interests. Some products, books, services and messages resonate equally well on any and all platforms. Others are best suited for the content, tone and urgency of just one or two.
Which medium most influenced your vote in today’s presidential election?
None of the above! 23%
Social Media 17%
Thanks for voting!