What does Taylor Swift have to do with blogging? Well, quite a few things. Whether or not you’re a fan of Taylor or her music, there’s no denying her business acumen and marketing skills―two things bloggers need to be successful. She doesn’t just release new tunes, she hijacks the media. She turns social media into a Taylor feeding frenzy. She rewrites the “narrative”.
Why Bloggers Should Be Paying Attention to Taylor Swift
Taylor is a marketing expert, and we can do ourselves a favor by paying attention to how she works, how she thinks, and how she markets herself. So what can we learn from Taylor Swift? How can we become better bloggers from Taylor’s marketing expertise? Here are 5 reasons bloggers should be paying attention to Taylor Swift:
1. Taylor Swift is not afraid to completely reinvent herself. When something good happens, she evolves from it. When something bad happens, she evolves from it. There is no stagnation in her brand or persona. Whether it’s her look, her sound, or her reputation, something is always changing for Taylor, and that does a couple of things for her.
First, it keeps people interested. Good, bad, or ugly, people are always talking about Taylor Swift, and it’s not because she keeps doing the same things over and over. Whether it’s swapping her signature red lip for something darker or leaving the genre of music where her fame and fortune originated, she is not afraid to change things up.
Second, it allows for growth. She took a huge professional risk when she transitioned from country to pop. A lot of people said she would lose her fans and have trouble gaining new ones. But she didn’t lose fans. The majority of her country-music fans embraced her new sound, and she certainly had no trouble picking up millions of pop followers. Because of the move from country to pop, she is now arguably the most successful female musician in the world. At the very least, she is one of the most polarizing musicians of our time.
Takeaway: Embrace change. Whether it’s you, your business, or the blogging industry as a whole that’s doing the changing, don’t run from it. Even outside of the blogosphere, businesses that succeed in the long-term are the ones that are able to adapt to change. If you’ve grown out of the name of your blog, don’t be afraid to consider alternatives. Incorporate content verticals that challenge you. Start a YouTube channel.
2. Taylor Swift uses time as a tool. Whether she’s showcasing her new single’s music video on the same night as the VMAs, releasing her long-absent music to a streaming service the same day her rival is dropping a new album, or teasing new music over a three-day period, Taylor Swift uses time to her advantage. She meticulously calculates when her announcements and releases will make the most impact.
Taylor Swift recently used time to build an extreme amount of anticipation for what would come to be the announcement of her new album, “reputation”. She cleared out her Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and website, on a Friday, August 19, leaving them blank over the entire weekend. This alone got people buzzing about what she was up to. Taylor then teased fans for three days, starting on Monday, August 21, posting a single video at the same time each day. It became clear on the second day, August 22, that the videos worked together to create one cohesive message. What that message was, was TBD.
By the third day, Wednesday, August 23, three videos had been posted across Taylor’s social media platforms and website, leaving fans with an image of a slithering snake (a theme people are theorizing is prominent in her new album). Once the image of the snake was clear, she announced her new single would drop Thursday, August 24, followed by the corresponding music video on Sunday, August 27, the same night as the VMAs. The way she teased fans, leading them along over a three day period, was an ingenious way to get people talking about the possibilities. Every media outlet in the country was talking about Taylor Swift for an entire week.
Because of the way she used time, leading the world along over a weeks time, teasing visuals surrounding her new album, giving people just enough to get excited but not enough to lose interest, she broke iTunes, YouTube, and Vevo records in less than 24 hours of releasing the single and music video. Timing is powerful, and Taylor Swift knows it.
Takeaway: Timing is an important, yet tricky concept to master when it comes to blogging. There are many things to consider regarding timing, including frequency, time of day, topical tie-ins, timely announcements, and beyond. At what point in a season should we start posting about the season to come? What’s the best time to announce a big sale (think Nordstrom and Shopbop)? When is the best time of day to post on social media? There are so many ways we can be smarter about how we use time as a tool in blogging.
3. Taylor Swift cross promotes on all of her platforms. She doesn’t promote her new music on Instagram and leave it there (you know bloggers are guilty of this). Her promotions range from Tumblr to her website, leaving no platform untouched.
Takeaway: Don’t get caught up in the Instagram game. Most of the time, the brands you want to work with are looking at your platform as a whole. Yes, Instagram is important, but neglecting other social media platforms will hurt you in the long run.
4. Taylor Swift collaborates with her friends and celebrities. The phrase “collaboration not competition” has become trendy this year with bloggers, and the way Taylor Swift approaches promotions for herself and her music makes the statement more valid than ever.
For her “Bad Blood” music video, Taylor invited over a dozen of her closest celebrity friends to serve as characters in the video. She was then able to leverage her friends’ massive social media platforms by giving each person in the music video a graphic designed with their character’s name and the title of the song. If Selena Gomez, Gigi Hadid, and Zendaya, three of the women who were guests in the music video, shared their “Bad Blood” graphics today, the potential reach on Instagram alone would be 204 million. There were 17 major celebrities in the music video, resulting in the news of the song’s release reaching over a billion people. Simply by having her friends be a part of the project and creating graphics for them to share on social media, she was able to reach mass audiences and create maximum buzz over her new music video.
Another example: On her 1989 world tour, Taylor Swift invited friends and celebrities from Justin Timberlake to Fifth Harmony to Steven Tyler and beyond to appear as special guests at her concerts all over the world. When Miranda Lambert was a guest at Taylor’s concert in North Carolina, she posted about it on her social media accounts. When Shawn Mendes was a guest at the concert in Washington, he posted about it. When you add up all of the shows and all of the special guests, the reach she achieved was unprecedented. Plus, the media started a guessing game each week to see who the special guest would be at Taylor Swift’s concert, creating more buzz for her tour.
Takeaway: Create mutually beneficial opportunities to work with other bloggers. Collaborate on campaigns, join linkups, participate in follow Fridays, and write guest posts.
5. Taylor Swift embraces that not everyone is going to like her. You don’t have to scroll down too far on your Twitter feed to see that a lot of people don’t like Taylor Swift. But guess what? She is still wildly, wildly successful and has legions of fans who adore her. Not everyone has to like what she’s doing for her to have a burgeoning career, and the same goes for you.
Takeaway: You blog isn’t going to be for everyone, and that’s OK. Figure out what your niche is and own it. Trying to please everyone pleases no one, so figure out what you do well and become the best at it.
What can bloggers learn from this young artist? Many things. Watching Taylor Swift and her team’s strategy for her upcoming album unfold over the past week has been exciting―not just as a fan but also as a marketing professional. She’s captured a global audience, transformed her perception, and broke records―And she’s only released one song from her new album. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see what else Taylor Swift has for us this year.