Taylor Swift is taking over the world. In 2014, she released the world’s top-selling album. In 2015, she convinced Apple to change how they compensate artists. She also completely shifted her personal brand from country singer to pop star.
I’ll admit it—I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan.
Of course, I love her catchy melodies and heart-wrenching lyrics, but I also admire how she’s been able to build an audience, and ultimately an empire.
Content marketers can learn a lot from Taylor Swift. Here’s some career advice Swift can teach us all.
Fearlessness Leads to Rewards
After Apple announced their new music streaming service, Taylor Swift wrote a public letter,explaining why she did not want her newest album on the service. She admonished the company for their decision to offer a trial of the service without compensating artists.
Going up against Apple as a musician was a fearless thing to do, and Swift used her power to stand up for what she believed in.
The story could’ve ended there, but Apple responded by granting Taylor’s wish. Eddy Cue, Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, tweeted, “#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period,” and then followed up with, “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”
I’m certainly not famous, but Taylor’s story inspired me to be fearless in my work. Content marketers should see this incident as inspiration to do things differently, dare to innovate, and put fear aside in the name of content marketing progress.
Supportive Posse = Success
Taylor Swift has done more than encourage fans like me to buy her albums. She’s also convinced various celebrities to appear in her music videos, most notably “Bad Blood,” which allegedly details a falling out between Swift and Katie Perry.
By rallying Jessica Alba, Lily Aldridge, Cindy Crawford, Lena Dunham, and many, many others to appear in her music video, Swift showed that she’s a powerful force to be reckoned with. She proved that there’s power in a posse, which is something we need to remember as marketers, too.
Sure, we need people to read our content, but we also need to collaborate with the people we work with to be able to generate great content, whether they are our editors, our technical support team, our clients, or otherwise. We can’t create great content alone—just like Taylor, we need support on the path to success.
Flexibility Is a Must
Taylor Swift burst onto the scene as a country star, but today, she is a pop princess.
Flexibility is the name of the game, and Swift has embraced it in her journey. She was unwilling to pigeonhole herself as a certain kind of artist.
As marketers, it’s tempting to build a personal brand as solid as a statue, but this is actually a disservice to ourselves. We shouldn’t strictly define ourselves as particular kinds of marketers, writers, content creators, or freelancers.
Personal brand is something that can grow and change as our industry changes and as we gain more experience. We should always embrace new opportunities and face the future with flexibility.
Storytelling Conquers All
We can’t talk about Taylor Swift without mentioning why she got famous in the first place—her stories. Swift didn’t get famous for being beautiful or having celebrity friends. She rose to the top because she can describe heartbreak so perfectly it hurts. Her stories speak to the experience of being human, and they make us want to turn to her music over and over again.
Storytelling is about more than crafting a tale in a blog post. At its core, storytelling is about getting people to listen, care, and want to share. That’s why it’s is all the rage in content marketing right now, and we can all learn from Taylor. As content marketers, we need to ask ourselves if we’re creating blog posts, emails, landing pages, and other marketing assets that make people excited, speak to their pain points, and ultimately get them to love us.