Michelle Han November 14, 2014 | 11:37:31

PR Lessons From Taylor Swift

There’s no escaping the Taylor Swift PR phenomenon – like it or not, the millennial pop  queen is everywhere! This week she promptly became the only recording artist in history to sell more than 1 million albums in a week, three times in a row. And her decision to pull all her music from the increasingly dominant Spotify only magnified the tidal wave of coverage surrounding the 24-year-old star, making it irresistible not to draw a list of PR do’s and don’ts.

DO speak to your audience.  Taylor Swift does this well. She knows exactly who her fans are and speaks to them like old friends. Heartache, bullying, peer pressure, self esteem? She makes sure teen and preteen girls know she’s right there with them.

DON’T try this at home. The Spotify model of music is here to stay, along with all its distressing implications for how artists are compensated (or not) for their work. Few people could pull off the stance Swift has taken against giving music away nearly for free, but pull it off she has — and that’s only because she has the clout to do it. So if you’ve got the big names and ammunition to take up arms, get in there. Otherwise, don’t try a Swift move unless you’re Taylor Swift.

DO use social media as a natural extension of who you are. Swift is a natural sharer, and the organic quality of her social media feeds appeal to her followers and serve to strengthen her “brand.” Yahoo Music might have the exclusive interview post-historic million album marker, but where else can fans see the “one time” her two cats were cuddling?

DON’T rest on your laurels. Swift was already making history before 1989 sold more than 1 million albums in its first week. But she continued to push herself, saying she wanted to strive for the goal of breaking 1 million if it was possible.

DO make it personal. PR pros know the best messages are ones that are tailor-made toward the recipients, because they stand the best chance of connecting. Swift capitalized on this in the lead up to her album release, flooding her Instagram feed with hand written lyrics to tease tracks in the new album. Connection made, even before the album’s release. Now that’s a communication success.

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