Ladies and gentleman. Boys and girls. Content marketers of all ages.

Step into the big tent and learn from the ringmaster at the center of the circus currently captivating the American attention span. Equal parts magician, high-wire act, clown, strongman, oddity and untamed beast (specifically the matted fur atop his head)—Donald Trump, like the great ringmasters who came before him, thrives in the spotlight.

At the heart of Donald Trump—the man, the brand and now the candidate—is a deft deployment of content marketing. And since the circus doesn’t appear to be packing up and rolling out of town any time soon, we might as well learn from it.

Own your story

Successfully building anything—be it a single family home, a 100-story skyscraper, a successful brand or compelling content marketing—always starts with laying a solid foundation.

For Donald Trump the foundation is his bedrock narrative: how one self-made man built a small, family business into a worldwide empire through hustle, grit and a bold vision—the American dream…on steroids.

Throughout successes, and struggles, Trump remains firmly in command of the storyline, incorporating developments into his larger, strategic narrative. Consistent (and loud), Trump owns every chapter of his story, fighting off attempts to reframe the narrative and ensuring his marketing efforts build his platform ever higher.

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What he thinks of attempts to change his established narrative.

A shameless self-promoter and unapologetic showman, every moment is an opportunity for Trump to strengthen his reputation as a straight talking, no-nonsense business oracle eager to help others unleash their inner, brazen billionaire—and rescue the country as a result. By inviting the audience into his high-flying story, Trump develops invaluable rapport while reinforcing his foundational narrative on his terms.

Plan for growth. Leverage existing channels to build an audience

With the blueprints to a clever, compelling storyline sketched out, Trump built his name, brand and platform (in his case all the same thing) into a household commodity through a strategic, systematic content-marketing approach. Betting big on himself—and his well-engineered marketing plan—Trump reinvested the dividends of any success into strengthening his marketing muscle and expanding his audience.

A brief review of his playbook for leveraging proven platform for growing his audience includes:

  • Combining reputation as a bold visionary with family money to secure financing for big, splashy bets, quickly slingshotting his name and reputation far above his weight
  • Leveraging flashy early bets and playboy reputation into a book deal—establishing himself as a respected business leader and master negotiator.
  • Capitalizing on bestselling book to land partners willing to finance bigger projects
  • Landing his own reality TV show based off his swelling reputation from books and media appearances.
  • Cashing in on skyrocketing celebrity status by licensing name
  • Funneling fans and energy from all properties into a thriving social media following
  • Channeling animosity toward President Obama into street cred with conservatives by hijacking the “birther” movement
  • Flexing recognition, reputation and newfound conservative clout into the basis of his current political success

Trump_the_art_of_the_dealThe early days of Trump’s content marketing strategy

By leveraging concurrent successes into new, larger distribution channels for his signature story Trump has steadily built not only skyscrapers, but a towering, recognizable brand nearly as large as his out-sized ambitions.

“He’s not only a brilliant businessman. He’s a celebrity. He’s a star,” Mark Burnett, the reality-show producer who chose Trump for the Apprentice, said to CNBC.

Tap into the pulse of your audience

Acutely aware of his story, platform and reputation, Trump tapped into the thoughts, desires and fears of his audience (often unspoken) to fuel his content marketing machine for a run at the White House.

Beyond fed up with politics and politicians, Americans have embraced Trump as the antithesis of Washington. Adapting his story, and messaging, Trump rode the swelling tide of anger and angst with the status quo.

By addressing his audience’s biggest fears boldly, and positioning himself as a straightforward solution to their problems, Trump emerged as the “un-candidate.”

Tired of the same old political-correct theater—Bush, Clinton, PACs, etc.—Trump the outsider has energized the electorate by playing a different game.

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“I don’t need anybody’s money,” the billionaire insists, scoring easy points by attacking the political establishment.

Stand up, stand out and fight back

A master marketer, Trump boiled his entire campaign down into a memorable, tried-and-true, maxim—“Make America Great Again!”—and then it plastered it on everything, including his infamous head.

There is something about that head.

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The hair and now the hat. Whatever sits on top of Trump’s “tower” inherits his memorable marketing mystique.

In a crowded field of hopefuls Trump has risen above the all-consuming fray by standing up, standing out and fighting back—staking his claim on a hot-button issue (immigration) and then seizing every opportunity to flex his marketing muscle to enforce his message.

By reframing the Tea Party’s ongoing battle to “take back our country” into a positive, Trump has been using his slogan and independent position to focus on re-energizing his audience.

Conclusion:

Through a long-term, strategic approach to content marketing, Donald Trump built a household brand and now towers atop the polls. As you develop your content marketing strategy remember how our current ringmaster does it:

  • lay a solid foundation & own your story
  • develop a strategic plan & leverage growth
  • tap into your audience’s emotions
  • stand up, stand out and pick fights