The Channel Is Where You Make It

Curator PR

We’ve talked for years about the “changing media landscape.”  The question in my mind is whether that shift has become so pronounced as to declare traditional news channels irrelevant? 

In the last few days, President Obama has appeared on "The Tonight Show," and conducted online chats with and audiences.  Compare that with a stat I heard this morning on NPR that the president has only given one interview to the New York Times in the last three years and hasn’t sat down to give a one-on-one to the Washington Post in four years.  Clearly the president’s communication team believes they can reach more of an audience—and have a more unfiltered conversation—through these new “news” channels. 

When was the last time you caught the 5 p.m. TV news?  When was the last time you checked your Facebook feed?

Is it more relevant to you that a house burned down 25 miles from yours and a reporter is showing it from four angles or that your friend on Twitter shared news about a new bakery in your neighborhood?

What do you care about? At Curator one of the questions we ask ourselves as we ideate is whether or not a consumer will really care about the idea – how will it make them look to their social media audience if they “like” a post and what that says about their personal brand.  Do you care about what traditional news channels report in large measure?  From a marketing standpoint our concern has to be where the audience is and if traditional news channels are not providing the type of content that maintains the attention of a group of consumers we have to look elsewhere.  So when the president wanted to talk about housing in America his communication team choose Zillow to reach an audience focused on buying or selling a home. Makes sense.

Last week we purchased an old Seattle P.I. newspaper box from a store in SoDo called Second Use.  They had pallets of them. It’s a striking image of the decline of traditional news media.

We’re going to put an iPad in the box window and show our reel – we like the "old media meets new" metaphor. 


The New York Times isn’t going away and neither is local news or the Washington Post (We’re very interested to see what Bezos does with the Post.) There is definitely a place for traditional news – even in this new environment, and we’d be foolish as communication professionals to dismiss them.

So the question I ask myself is how we prioritize these channels as it relates to marketing.  As we talk about the new media landscape the options to reach and interact with a consumer expand even beyond social media channels and bloggers.  The “channels” are endless. and Zillow became channels.  A channel today can live anywhere your consumer is – anywhere.  This is liberating news for creative communication companies. All that matters is that we make a connection.  What are some of the channels you’re using to do this for your clients?

2013 Golden Globes via Social Media

While most people get excited for the new year because it means a clean slate or a chance to go for those resolutions again, I get excited because it means the Hollywood award season is here. After living in tinsel town for a short while and interning with the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2010, I became even more fascinated with the whole production onscreen and off. But what I noticed most from my behind the scenes look into this world was how social media was slowly transforming the way the public not only saw the show, but got to interact with it.

At the SAG Awards in 2010, Facebook and Twitter were of course the reining champs of the social media world and it was so cool to see media, fans and stars alike sharing snapshots from the red carpet, posting their commentary about who won or should have won, and ultimately giving outsiders a peek into their lives for a night. Fast-forward to 2012 and now 2013, we can see an explosion of social media activity around events like this, both from the public and media.

This past Sunday the 70th Annual Golden Globes aired on NBC and sure enough the Twitterverse was going crazy and Instagram was flooded with photos by stars and media at the show. In response to the surge in conversation about everything from who wore what and the acceptance speeches, to commentary on the winners, social media monitoring services Radian6 and Sysomos compiled and shared their stats from Sunday evening. Sysomos claimed, “[there was] an astounding 2.4 million mentions of The Golden Globes. There were 17,270 blog posts, 24,712 online news articles, 8,238 forum postings and a whopping 2,351,722 tweets.” Radian6 showed that despite having competition from the NFL Playoff games happening that same day, the Golden Globes doubled their social media mentions from 2012.

Radian6- 2013 Golden Globes: Over Two Million Mentions 

Other sites like Backstage and also recapped the night’s social media activity by best celeb Tweets, pics and a (fairly comical) GIF of Glenn Close.

Now, while I do love this kind of social media activity for the inherent entertainment and new set of conversation starters, I also think there are some key takeaways that can be applied to the work we do here at Curator. Sure it might be easier to have organic conversation around a big event like this, especially when big stars are involved, but these cultural events can be a great platform for leveraging a brand or product. For instance, one of the main advertisers during the telecast, L’Oreal, took advantage of their airtime and simultaneously tweeted about how to get specific celebs’ look from the Red Carpet. In doing so, they broke the trending list and sparked a lot of excitement and attention from fans and makeup artists. For more on how advertisers shared the social spotlight, check out this great article by Blufin Labs.

Like any major cultural event, whether it be sports championships, political elections, award shows or big news, looking at how and what people were talking about (especially when compared to past years) is a great benchmark for where social media is headed and how the different channels are evolving. So, the next time a big award show is on (Screen Actors Guild Awards January 27th or Oscars Awards February 24th), take a minute to watch what’s happening across social media and see how your observations stack up against the next day reports.

A Gluten-free, Curated Shopping Experience

At Curator, we are fortunate to include Whole Foods Market on our list of client partners. This week, I had a client meeting at one of their stores. Lucky me, right? They were excited to show me a special section they built at the Redmond, Washington store for the increasing number of people who are following a gluten-free diet. It’s basically a “store within a store” and it helps take the guess work out shopping -- an everyday experience that can be frustrating and confusing. It’s beautiful. It includes a large freezer section and rows upon rows of gluten free products and ingredients.

This is yet another example of how Whole Foods Market successfully manages to make a true connection with consumers. They have created a unique experience for shoppers with special dietary needs that makes it easier to find good foods to enjoy. 

We loved this story, and the media seems to agree with us. Here’s a recent interview we set up for Whole Foods to talk more about gluten-free baking for the holidays.