They’ve built an effective content hub (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sotu), designed a complete digital experience, used syndication to extend the reach of their content and enhanced engagement with visualization.

 

Embracing the Second Screen with a Content Hub on WhiteHouse.gov

The administration built a content hub for all things State of the Union (even adopting the common short-hand and hashtag ‘SOTU.’) This content hub demonstrates the administration’s understanding of the importance of the second screen. Today’s viewers like to read and follow along with TV content on their mobile, tablet or even laptop devices. Posting extensive content, including the remarks, online ahead of time enables digitally connected audiences to follow-along and get a deeper, richer experience during the speech. 

 Source: WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU

 

The site also featured video of President Obama’s previous SOTU speeches with super-imposed charts and graphics to support his previous points. It offered tons of content to support the major messages of the speech, especially offering data to refute opposing arguments, further improving likelihood of agreement and support for his key messages. 

 

Digital Experience Continued After the Speech

After the speech, the page featured the full video of the speech and asked visitors for feedback on the major policy suggestions. In this way, the content hub closes the loop – it doesn’t just send a message, it also provides a next step that visitors can take to stay engaged and provide feedback .

Source: WhiteHouse.gov

The content is also available to those who may have missed the speech or seen relevant analysis and commentary. In the age of watching TV content on your own schedule (think Hulu and Netflix), making the speech available on demand is critical. Posting the video online also gives the President’s team an advantage because they are able to include visualization and graphics in the video that enhance the viewers’ experiences. 

 

Syndication to Reach Audiences Where They Are

The White House team also understood that their audiences might not visit their content hub, so they syndicated the content to the platforms where those audiences are already active. The White House’s strategy focused syndication efforts on two platforms – Medium and Facebook Notes, two important content publication platforms where people are already active and consuming content. 

 

Source: Facebook.com/WhiteHouse

 

Source: Medium.com/@WhiteHouse

 

These platforms also have built-in communities and functionality like sharing, commenting and liking. Placing the content in this environment increases the chances that it will be engaged with in a meaningful way.

 

Embracing Visualization

Across the content, before, during and after the speech, the White House team incorporated visualizations to support the written and spoken word.

Source: YouTube.com and WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU

 

In the video posted to the content hub after the speech, charts, images and text have been added to the video to make it a more engaging viewing experience and to further support the President’s points. 

Source: YouTube.com and WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU

 

The White House team also used these images to enhance the second screen and syndication strategies through social media platforms, particularly Twitter. They posted images and animated GIFs on the content with the #SOTU hashtag, encouraging real-time engagement around the visualizations.

This emphasis on design, data and visualization makes the experience of the SOTU more immersive, persuasive and engaging.

Raising the Bar

The President has taken a performance that used to focus exclusively on excellent speech-writing and transformed it into a digital engagement opportunity. He’s raised the bar for future SOTUs and political speeches. Politicians, CEOs, Board Members and others should take note of how each speaking opportunity is so much more than just the speech. Now, they should include a robust digital content strategy, a design strategy and an activation strategy. Without these components, these can become missed opportunities for engagement, lead generation and sales.