Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Taylor Swift is everywhere, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that her success comes from more than her catchy music and winning personality. The young pop star clearly understands what her brand is and how to get her message across.
Of course, as a marketer, I couldn’t help but notice how much attention her personal brand attracts and the ease with which she’s become adored by a diverse group of people. Yes, I’m talking about star-struck teens, but I know plenty of middle aged Brooklynites who love her too.
If I’ve learned anything during my time as a content writer, it is that marketing lessons can be learned in unexpected places, so below are a few lessons a clever content marketer can learn from analyzing the wild success of Taylor Swift.
Style: Be bold and interactive
Something that Taylor Swift has done unequivocally well in her quick ascent to pop music glory is developing a powerful personal style—she’s committed to making bold stylistic choices, from the material consideration of what she wears off-stage to the way that she interacts with her fans.
For example, when a high school student asked her for fashion advice before prom (whether to wear a tie or a bowtie), the pop singer replied right back,
“I like the tie, but honestly both are great. I just feel like you look like a ’50s movie star in the bow tie but more like a modern movie star in the tie. Depends on what vibe you’re wanting to convey, but I’d say the tie. Great suit btw!”
Her response was met with the absolute pleasure of the Internet, of course.
Want to be a better marketer? Take a tip from Taylor and boost your style through tweaking your social media strategy. Make the time to respond to tweets, Facebook posts, and personal messages. Interact. Develop a distinct tone for your company and go to town.
Love Story: Make your customers fall in love with your company
I differentiate style from branding for one very important reason; branding is about more than being stylish. It is about upholding the very important promise of being a certain type of person—hopefully an honest, smart, and personable one.
Swift seems to really understand this. In fact, a story published on Hubspot makes an argument (perhaps even more tenuous than the one you are reading here) that even Hilary Clinton might be taking lessons from the charismatic pop star. And with good reason. Her bold stand against Apple in the name of fair compensation for artists is a great example of how Swift is building her brand even after achieving wide spread acclaim.
The most remarkable thing about the letter she wrote to Apple—which is half fan mail and half chastisement—is that it makes her seem surprisingly human. Yes, the girl who gets up every morning looking like she’s ready for a photo shoot has the same concerns as a fledgling musician, and she isn’t afraid to speak out about them.
Take a lead from Swift, and boost your branding game by showing your clients who you really are. What do you value? What are your goals? You can even post pictures of group trips to the park, afternoon frozen yogurt runs, or lively company meetings to help your customers get to know you and what you stand for. Because the truth is that talented content marketers are not just selling a product—they are selling a way of thinking, a lifestyle, and a culture.
Fearless: Take risks
Swift took a huge risk when she crossed the divide between country and pop music with the 2014 release of her album “1989.” While many were shocked that Swift was leaving behind her persona as a country singer, her career has only continued to grow since then. In fact, it has exploded. So ultimately, her daring decision to branch out with her music expanded her fan base rather than divided it.
Are you taking those sorts of risks with your content?
You should be. After all, taking calculated risks sets you and your business apart in a crowded industry. And even if your boldness doesn’t pay off the first time (or the first ten times), taking risks will give you an opportunity to learn and improve your content marketing method.
The bottom line is that taking risks like Swift did will make you better at what you do. For more detail on how to take the risks with your content marketing, I suggest you read Why Taking Risks Comes with Great Rewards, published on the Huff Post Blog, or Why Ambitious Content is the Only Content that Matters, published by Contently.
Blank Space: Generating quality ideas
As you probably know already, the truth is that every post starts out as a lot of blank space, just like a song does. And let’s face it, the first three items on this list are all helpful once you already have an idea what you’re writing about, but great story ideas have to come before the writing.
Swift has shared her song writing process publicly, and the main emphasis is that the best ideas come from her real life experiences. Hence the variety of songs written about high school, boyfriends, and the process of finding oneself as a young woman.
Surprisingly enough, I’ve found that pulling from your personal life is also one of the best ways to get great ideas for content marketing stories.
Make yourself the type of person who’s always thinking about your industry. Read novels, watch movies, and go out for drinks with your friends, but keep the search for your next story in the back of your mind. Read constantly (I use feedly to get all my news in one place) and ask yourself questions like these. You’ll find that having good ideas to write about during the workday is no longer a problem. Apart from making your content ideation process smooth and easy, using your own life as inspiration for your writing will make your stories genuine and unique.
If you want to add some magic to your idea generation process, consider checking out Oz Content Technologies for an innovative technology solution.