How the White House is Crushing This Content Marketing Thing

There are certain things you expect the office of the President of the United States to be really good at. Foreign diplomacy and military strategy might be toward the top of that list. But what about marketing?

Though a cynic might suggest that spinning stories and pushing agendas is something the government has excelled at for years, the White House is teaching us all a thing or two when it comes to this content marketing thing. A big social media following and strikingly beautiful visuals are just the tip of the iceberg.

I perused some of the White House’s digital assets and found some pretty compelling examples of how they’re crushing it — and how content marketers can follow their lead.

Make it about them, not you

The White House is the home to the leader of over 300 million people, which means there’s certainly no shortage of human stories to tell. And as content creators know full well, the best angle is the human angle.

Back in May, The White House published a three-part series with the title “Life After Prison” on Medium, outlining the extremely human stories about three benefactors of President Obama and Department of Justice’s Clemency Initiative of 2014.

On the same platform, they published a piece in partnership with actress Kristen Bell and the United State of Women Summit. Entitled “Why Being Girly is a Good Thing,” it addresses the question of why “girly” became such a negative adjective. Though there’s a semi-stingy disclaimer at the bottom, saying “the views and opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the White House…,” it’s a compelling piece of content that bears the White House’s stamp of approval.

Both of these examples speak volumes about how the White House is able to take an issue important to them and their audience and turn it into a compelling, people-driven narrative their audience wants to read and share.

This is some of content marketing at its finest, folks.

Have a sense of humor

Very few things are more endearing and humanizing than a good sense of humor. It puts an audience at ease, provides a sense of inclusion and screams authenticity. The White House went all in with this video of Obama wrestling with life after the Oval Office:

Regardless of what you think of Obama’s politics, there’s no denying that this is objectively hilarious. It’s got something for everybody! DMV jokes, birth certificate jokes and John-Boehner-crying-all-the-time jokes all make a cameo in this masterfully crafted video, and I loved every second of it.

Know your channel

A crucial element to successful content and digital marketing is proper message presentation for the proper channel. Your Twitter feed shouldn’t look like your Facebook page and your Facebook page shouldn’t look like your Pinterest boards. Once again, The White House gets it.

If you look at any of their social media accounts, you’ll find similar messages crafted and presented in ways uniquely suited for each platform.

Take, for example, when President Barack Obama spoke at the interfaith service to honor the five Dallas police officers killed in July. Here’s how it looked on Facebook:

Here’s coverage of the same event strung together on Twitter:






For Facebook, they provided one long quote and a full video of the powerful speech. For Twitter, they broke up the speech into smaller, more digestible (and shareable) chunks. The same message about the same event, optimized for the users on each platform. Two Executive thumbs up.

The future of the White House

Though most (OK, almost all) brands lack the White House’s visibility and prominent spokesperson, these examples still remind us of the most important aspects of content marketing and why they work. No matter who enters the Oval Office next (consider the branding techniques employed by either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump), there will always be stories to tell. Hopefully the White House will continue to find compelling ways to tell them.

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