Dubbed "the social media election" by Fortune, the current US presidential race could very well be about who tweets their way to the White House. This is particularly interesting, as both candidates belong to an age group we don't normally associate with social media activity, and watching the oldest candidates put the newest methods and technology to use has been nothing short of captivating.
Social media channels have given viewers a far more active role in the story and deciding the eventual outcome. Smart media outlets have embraced this new order and are providing their audiences with a voice, whether that be through social media or on-site.
Here at Playbuzz, we've closely followed the steps taken by candidates and the media to stand out this election season and we've noticed that many have utilized innovative content formats to garner the attention of voters.
For example, following the Republican Primary debate, front-runner Donald Trump tweeted about a TIME magazine poll that declared him the winner. Trump went on to share the poll on all his social media accounts, and sure enough, within 24 hours, the poll had garnered more than 55,000 votes, 63,000 likes on Facebook, over 10,000 shares and 6,500 comments.
TIME incorporates polls into their editorial pieces often, enabling voters to easily express their opinion in-article, by asking for their POV on Trump's choice of VP, or the presumed debate winner. Ultimately, the 2016 Presidential Election will be determined based on people's choice, so using reader polls an incredibly intuitive content format for such an occasion.
Hillary Clinton's campaign has also put interactive content formats to use, and hasn't been afraid to take a jab at Trump via the quiz format. This move caught the attention of potential voters as well as media outlets, garnering press from the Washington Times and many other publications.
Another smart initiative coming from Clinton's team was putting Snapchat to use with reminders of Trump's less presidential moments or Chris Christie's friendly approach towards Clinton. This is yet another example of candidate's quick adaptation to the newest platforms and tools, on their quest to win young American hearts.
Conversational formats have also come in handy for publishers looking to highlight some of the race's biggest moments in a more engaging manner.
In this example, The Huffington Post incorporated a Convo format to discuss claims of alleged plagiarism following Melania Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention.
But polls and quizzes are really symptoms of a much bigger trend: viewers and readers are becoming more and more involved, turning the article itself into a starting point at best. Publishers don't just post content on-site, but push it out to the third-party platforms their audiences frequent. In fact, I predict that at least one outlet will share the winner of this year's election on Twitter before it's shared on-air.
When an industry goes through major changes, there are those who try and fight it and those who move forward with it. Publications need to realize that they can't expect readers to always come to them, and that readers' views no longer belong just in the comment section - they've taken the stage.
By incorporating interactive content formats into their editorial, traditional media channels are able to adapt to this changing reality and become part of it - and what better time to do so than during an election year?