In looking beyond the circus that has surrounded Charlie Sheen's every waking move this past week, there are actually some lessons that communicators can take away.
Despite Sheen's unique and controversial tirades, his campaign was carried out via an on-slaught of traditional broadcast interviews, married with his adoption of Twitter, and then the use of online video technology. The combination was uniquely powerful and successful in both engaging the audience and feeding today's never-ending news cycle. Now, while these lessons don't include adding #tigerblood to your campaigns, they highlight the opportunities that can be leveraged for your campaigns & provide some strategies to consider as you plan your next outreach efforts…
Go Social – It seems hard to turn in any direction these days without seeing a mention of Twitter or Facebook, Sheen's outbursts are a vivid reminder of both the importance and extent to which social tools can help disseminate a message and propel a story. At one point over the weekend Sheen related hashtags took over 4 of the top 10 trending topics on Twitter. While the initiatives that many work on day-to- day may not be as polarizing or generate this extraordinary level of traction, the lesson is still valuable and reminds of the importance of integrating and promoting social components to PR & marketing campaigns, as there is power in these avenues to disseminate our messaging and reach new eyes & ears along the way.
Tell Your Story With Video – In broadcasting live on Saturday night, in what was dubbed Sheen's Korner, the actor was able to take the steering wheel and control the conversation without the invasive and pointed questions of the media. He was able to leverage the medium and tell his story, sharing insights from his home in Hollywood with viewers across the world, all with full control of his message. For communicators, this is an important reminder of the power of video, and the new opportunities that exist with tools that allow live streaming online, or the ability to produce a wide variety of video content to distribute via campaign websites, and leading rich media directories such as iTunes and YouTube.
It's About Tone – As communications professionals, in this new media age, we have to look at the tone in which we tell stories. With the advent of new avenues to tell stories, and the ability for audiences to interact both with campaigns, as well as the fact that the day's newsmakers are often readily available through Twitter and Facebook for conversing with in a casual and conversational manner; we have to think about how we compose our messages and take a cue from the success of Charlie Sheen's efforts. Regardless of how we feel about Sheen personally, he's managed to captivate audiences by speaking directly and conversationally while circumventing many of the traditional barriers to disseminating a message such as a radio show host or television reporter. This conversational tone is an approach that we need to keep in mind when producing audio, or video content, or outlining a social media strategy for a particular client. Regardless of the tactic, the bottom line is to engage and carry out an open dialogue, not just talk to (or at) our audiences with pre-scripted and canned messages.
#Winning in the New Landscape – While Sheen's version of winning may be centered around a series of lifestyle choices, for PR & Marketing professionals winning is about coming up with the best strategy and mix of traditional and new media tools to tell stories. In some regards competing in, and telling client's stories in this environment means thinking differently. That may translate into supplementing traditional tools such as the press release, or the media tour, with new options whether they be professionally produced video segments showcasing spokespeople that can be distributed through new media channels such as Facebook and Twitter; or Audio Podcasts that targeted audiences will seek out and carry with them on their iPhones and iPads…
Regardless of the tactics at hand, thinking differently and taking a cue from @CharlieSheen will help you #win in this new landscape.