A Content Masterclass from Taylor Swift

Love her or loathe her, Taylor Swift is a content genius. Then again, anyone who has the balls to take on a billion pound multinational like Apple (and won, might I add) has earned the right to a place in our hearts.

From product launches to social media domination, the strategy behind the 25-year-old reads like a marketing 101 whitepaper. Whilst her label throws money at paid advertising, ‘Swifty’ generates coverage the old fashioned way – she earns it. And because of this, she reaps an unbelievable return on investment through her legion of loyal fans and A-list friends helping spread her messages to others.

Here are five content tips from the global pop artist that can apply to your brand.

1. Continue to reinvent yourself

The very best brands never stand still. Instead they adapt to their environment and retell their story in ways the market will understand.

Swifty’s early hits were rooted in innocent young love to connect with her ‘tween’ audience. But as she grew, she soon dumped the clingy image and reinvented herself as an independent woman so her aging fan base could continue to relate.

As a brand, you should always keep an eye on the public domain to understand in real time what others think about you. As soon as your audience starts to lose interest or feedback turns sour, reset your content and look for new ways to shake it off, so to speak

2. Magnify your messages through branded content

Rather than waiting around for people to discover her, Taylor pushes out a constant stream of unique content to show the world what she’s all about.

It’s crucial that you meet your audiences where they like to hang out and for Swifty, social media is key. You can have the best, most engaging content in the world, but if it doesn’t touch your audience’s buttons, then the impact is minimal.

3. Take control of the conversation

When Taylor drafted an editorial in the Wall Street Journal criticising Spotify for devaluing music, she risked annoying fans of the streaming service. But she didn’t care. She did it anyway and started a worldwide conversation about having to pay for art.

Taylor led the conversation perfectly. Instead of pleading for people’s pity, she made the world understand that good music is something that should be rewarded.

Brands should never be afraid to stand up for what they believe in. Many fear eliminating a minority, when being bold could impress the majority. Just think, any customers lost weren’t true fans to begin with and those that remain will be far more loyal than before.

4. Be relatable

People like people and the very best brands forge a personal connection with their audience.

The fact that Taylor is human isn’t what humanises her brand. She does this by authentically connecting with her fans, from buying them Christmas presents which she wrapped herself, to giving one loyal follower more than $1,000 to help with her student debt.

By creating a close relationship with your desired audience, you’ll be rewarded with their loyalty and understanding.

5. Think outside of the box

Apple’s slogan still rings true today – Different gets you noticed, whereas same is just noise.

As a struggling young artist, Swifty searched for ways to stand tall from the crowd. She cut out the middle man and went straight to the decision makers, from delivering cookies to DJs and performing an impromptu concert in the departure lounge at JFK Airport.

This teaches us to look for content opportunities where your competitors aren’t. Don’t restrict yourself to places where you’re one of many, instead look for chances where there’s only you.

Whether or not Taylor Swift is your cup of tea, you have to admit, she’s an amazing marketer by giving people a reason to follow her and ensuring conversations are a two-way street. Her marketing plan is a beautiful, intricate creation and something that we can all learn from.

July 13, 2015 - This article was written by Jenny Woolley

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