So, it’s confession time – I listen to Taylor Swift. Yes, I’m a bit embarrassed because, well, I’m an adult. And, truth be told, when I listen to her music I feel one hop, skip and a bad Friday night away from a posse of cats, but the fact remains that T-Swift is my guilty pleasure. And – to keep the honesty train rolling – I like her style and what she stands for.
I suppose youre wondering why I’ve decided to share my admittedly uncool music tastes with you all? Well, the other day, as ‘I knew you were trouble’ came on my ‘Gym Playlist’, I started thinking what a good content marketer T-Swift would make.
Perhaps it was the exhaustion from all the gymming. Maybe I was slightly delirious, but if you stop to think about it, Taylor Swift has content marketing mastered. After all, how else has she – a 25-year old sugar-sweet multi-millionaire – got me – a 27-year old, cynical content marketer – to buy into her brand?
Whether downloading her music, watching her videos on YouTube, following her on Twitter and Instagram, reading about her in the press, or posting a BuzzFeed article about her – Taylor Swift has managed to get us to seek out, interact and share her content. She has done it in such a way that her brand has embedded itself in our lives, she is part of our jokes, we reference her style and we worriedly compare our love lives to hers without even realising we’re doing it.
It’s no accident that this has happened either; it’s down to a clever bit of content mastery and a series of principles that you can easily inject into your content to make your brand one people want to follow.
Put yourself in your content
Customers want brands they can relate to and effective strategies are those designed to give insight into a business’ history, values, products and services.
Taylor Swift is a pro at putting herself into her content. Her songs are famous for their true-to-life nature, with entire websites dedicated to which ex-boyfriend each tune is about. While my mother would say this is ‘airing your dirty laundry in public’, I say it’s a genius way to get people to identify with you.
By making sure that your content talks about your beliefs and real life experiences (What events have you been to? What projects are you taking part in? What issues have really got your goat lately?), you are letting customers know who you are, what you do and what matters to you. This allows them to see their own values/experiences in yours.
However, lots of people fail to put who they are in their content and are losing out on valuable relationships because of it. In a world where social media dominates, we’re all just looking to make connections and if you deny people the opportunity to do that, you alienate them from your business.
Effective content strategies are starting to go beyond an emotional tie too, and are creating experiences for their consumers. People that buy products from these innovative companies do so to link themselves to a certain way of life and ethos.
Taylor Swift is not unaware of the power of the consumer experience and cultivates it through her tours and – on a day-to-day basis – through her social media presence, posting images with a certain pop-come-hipster vintage style that people buy into.
Embrace multiple platforms
T-Swift is all over multiform content. On Facebook the songstress has 74,691,756 likes and 1,786,175 people talking about her. On Twitter she boasts 53.6 million followers and on Instagram she has 23 million followers. She’s hitting it out of the park on YouTube too, with 1,275,118 subscribers to her official channel – this doesn’t even take into account the people who just casually view her videos.
So how does she do all this in between writing songs that speak to our souls? After all, Adele by comparison has just 64,448,554 Facebook likes and 22.1 million Twitter followers. So it can’t all just be about the music.
Unlike many other stars, T-Swift has created a brand/experience using social media and it’s one people have responded to. She uses the different platforms to keep people updated with her work and she shares images of her activities and style. Her statuses give followers insight into her life in a way that has previously never been possible, making her brand more accessible and more addictive.
What’s more, T-Swift embraces different forms of content and part of her appeal is visual, with images making up a key part of her cross-platform strategy. Brands need to think along the same lines and while you might not want to take a moody snap of your CEO in skinny jeans holding a vintage record player (unless you sell vintage record players), you need to think about how you’re representing yourself through graphics and how these are being disseminated on social platforms.
Visuals are a big deal. Picture-based posts have over 600 per cent more social engagement than posts without images.
Video is also important and T-Swift often posts interviews and announcements on her YouTube channel. Video is growing significantly in content marketing, with 52 per cent of content marketers naming video as the channel with the best ROI.
Interact with your fans
No matter how solid your content strategy, unless you properly cultivate it you are unlikely to reap its benefits.
By this, I’m talking about replying to comments and emails. If you don’t take the time to share your content and engage in discussions about it, how can you expect other people to?
What’s more, interacting with consumers gives your brand a face – something T-Swift is a genius at. The media constantly writes about how Taylor spends time with her fans, whether it’s on a hospital visit with sick children, giving winners of competitions more than they bargained for, or simply signing autographs.
Why give content the Taylor touch?
Ok, so obviously T-Swift isn’t about to give it all up to become a content marketer and yes, she has a team behind her to help build her brand, but with her online presence beating her contemporaries, businesses can’t go far wrong if they sit up and take notice of Taylor.
The principles of sharing a bit of yourself, embracing multiple platforms and talking to consumers are easy to apply and – in my experience – will make your brand much stronger. So, consider this your permission to listen to as much Taylor Swift as you want.