One year later: How the financial media landscape changed after the 2016 presidential election

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Chances are, you recall exactly where you were when you learned the shocking results of the 2016 presidential election. No matter what side of the aisle you come down on, most people expected Hillary Clinton to defeat Donald Trump.

As we all know now, Trump pulled off a surprising victory on Nov. 8, 2016. Love him or hate him, just one year later he has forever changed the media, the way we consume news and American politics.

As a public relations professional deeply entrenched in the financial ecosystem, it has been fascinating to look back at how we strategized on behalf of our clients prior to Nov. 8, 2016 versus now. Here are the three main ways the Trump presidency has affected the financial industry and how financial firms should adapt – it’s not too late!

1. Tweets are now news: Anyone who once dismissed social media as a fad is now eating their words. As Trump has proved, Twitter is not only here to stay, but it has solidified its place as a publishing platform and a legitimate source of breaking news.

Trump himself prefers to bypass traditional press releases and instead offers opinions and makes announcements directly via Twitter. Members of the financial industry not on Twitter should realize that it’s a way to control their message and reach key audiences en masse.

If you haven’t embraced social media as a means of disseminating news, interacting with your clients and prospects and keeping tabs on your competitors, it’s imperative to change course immediately.

2. The news cycle is not 24/7: We’ve seen reporters’ deadlines shorten dramatically and the focus of TV segments change at the eleventh hour. The news cycle is no longer 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s minute to minute. What made news an hour ago could be bumped by a new development that happened 10 seconds ago (maybe a tweet? See point above). Financial services marketers and their subject matter experts must be flexible and pay extremely close to attention to everything that’s happening in politics, finance and everything in between.

As a financial professional keen to get your name out in the media, you must figure out a way to tie your messages and story to the news of the day. That’s why media training is critical.

A CNBC producer once told me that she looks for someone to email her a few hours before her show airs with the name of a guest who can comment on the news of the day, along with a few bullet points on what he/she would say about that topic. The main takeaway is that producers aren’t planning their shows days in advance, but rather hours, and the way to get booked is to be flexible and offer ideas and talking points upfront.

3. The intersection between politics and finance has never been more pronounced: The so-called Trump Bump started after the election, lasted a month, and then another month, and another…and here we are, a year later, with the market hitting new highs.

Financial news is no longer confined to CNBC and Investor’s Business Daily. It’s gone mainstream given the fact that we have a “Business President” and that markets are extremely sensitive to anything he or Congress does (tax reform, naming a new Fed president, etc.).

That means there is ample opportunity to penetrate mainstream publications in addition to the traditional financial media. However, it takes a skilled PR professional who is fluent in both finance and the media to adeptly work with journalists who might not cover the markets, ETFs, etc. each day.

Certainly, much has happened in 12 months. Imagine what we will remember when we look back on Trump’s first term in office in 2020? As a financial professional keen to earn the media’s attention, will you be satisfied with how your strategy adapted and changed? If the answer to that is no, then let’s talk about how we can fix that.