Celebrities vs You

The sudden irrelevance of the cult of celebrity, your content marketing just became much more important

I’m showing my age here, but there was a moment in US cultural history where for the first time, fresh-squeezed orange juice became ubiquitous. Late 80s, early 90s. Before then, OJ came frozen in cans and had a flat, metallic taste. (Seriously).

Then 300 million people collectively said, “WTF?”. Another collective change in taste is upon us but this time the consumable in question is the cult of celebrity.

Except the people at the top haven’t quite noticed.

Sidebar: I recently wrote about the messaging blunder the Biden administration will make tonight – avoiding The Big Lie that the presidential election wasn’t fair. Thomm Hartmann describes what’s at stake here:

By not repudiating Trump’s Big Lie that “voter fraud” committed by Black people in America’s big cities stole the election from him, these politicians and media outlets amplify and strengthen his appeal to his white authoritarian followers.

The future of Trump’s modern American fascist movement is now largely in the hands of the Biden Administration, the CEO of Facebook, and the mainstream American news media.

We’ll see whether the Democratic party takes this unusual opportunity to kickstart the long process of setting the record straight. But as I mentioned yesterday, inauguration-day attention is focused on celebrities.

This despite the fact that the trust and appeal of Hollywood is at an all-time low. The Guardian, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times have all remarked on this; the last offers a good summary: “Among the social impacts of the coronavirus is its swift dismantling of the cult of celebrity”.

But most journalists don’t get that while the pandemic accelerated this trend, it’s not the root cause of it. Makers of digital media, content, solutions, products, etc., do get it.

The digital knowledge worker gets that relatively anonymous people on the Internet are now producing more relevant and higher quality content, for their niche, than Hollywood is able to produce. From news, to fashion, to entertainment, to travel, there’s someone thousands of people on the Internet, most with a relatively small audience, making something 10x better than Hollywood can gin up.

The takeaway: in the future/present, every business owner should own at least one of these:

  • newspaper
  • radio station
  • TV station

You know what these look like already – LinkedIn or website blogs, email newsletters, Twitter feeds, YouTube channels, podcasts, Twitch streams. You know what the audiences look like – 100 to 1000 people, who either look like customers/supporters/members or know someone else who is.

The Inverse Correlation of Celebrity to You. As the cult of celebrity and network/cable TV become less relevant, anonymous people can become more relevant.

If they publish.

My best