What Taylor Swift Can Teach You About Blogging + Branding (it’s a lot)

taylor swift and branding

This headline either totally stumps you, or you’re nodding your head in complete agreement. Yes, when it comes to marketing and branding, I really don’t think there’s anyone who does it as well as Taylor Swift, especially with her latest album release, Reputation (total side note: this album is pure listening gold!).

I’ve obviously always thought of Taylor Swift more so as somebody whose music I love, but it’s only been recently that I’ve started to see her in this new light. I now totally see her as somebody I can learn a thing or two from when it comes to blogging. Yes, she obviously has an amazing team behind her, but if you don’t see that she’s just genuinely being herself in everything that she puts out…well, we need to get you some glasses.

But hey, maybe you’re not a Taylor Swift fan. Totally cool. This is not going to be a fan girl post (even though I definitely am that Taylor Swift junkie who has had Reputation on repeat non-stop…). Basically I just want this post to give you another angle to think about marketing yourself. As bloggers, we often look to other bloggers to see how they’re doing it, which obviously makes sense, but wouldn’t it also make sense to look at one of most influential, millennial celebrities out there to see what she’s doing? Yup, I for one think so!

Here are the 6 things you can learn from Taylor Swift about marketing and branding yourself as a blogger:

1) Branding matters, even in your writing

One of the things I love most about Taylor Swift is her song lyrics. They’re relatable, they’re so clearly written by her, and most importantly, they’re branded. You might not hear Taylor Swift lyrics, and think, what beautifully branded lyrics, but you likely can identify a Taylor Swift song. This is primarily because she sticks with her voice, and she has so clearly identified her writing style, but it’s also because she uses key brand words. For everyone who has listened to Reputation, did you notice how many times she made reference to things being golden? Or how many times has she referenced red lips in multiple songs? Plenty! Because that’s her thing, it’s identifiable, and it automatically makes us think of her.

THE TAKEAWAY FOR BLOGGERS

Your writing needs to sound like you. Plain and simple. Every post on your blog should easily be identifiable as your own just from the words you use. How? Well, you likely have words you use in your everyday life that are specific to you. Use those words in your writing. If you’ve read multiple pieces of my writing, you’ll notice I often say, “seriously, legit, totally, definitely.” If you’ve ever talked to me in person, you know those are words I actually use IRL. This is not only useful because the writing actually sounds like me and is genuine, it’s also useful for branding myself. It makes my writing identifiable to me.

In a world of Instagram and pretty fashion posts, we so often get hung up on the visuals of our blog, but remember, it’s just as important to focus on the writing.

We get stuck on visuals for our blog, but it’s just as important to focus on writing. Click To Tweet

2) Be yourself and your brand will come to life

Again, you probably don’t look at Taylor Swift and think, “wow, what a great brand.” But, when you actually think about it, she most definitely is one. Why? Well, because there are certain things we just automatically think of when we hear Taylor Swift. When she was younger, it might have been her signature curly hair, the number 13, or cowboy boots. Today it might be red lips, her cats, or hanging out with Victoria’s Secret models.

She’s taken things that are just naturally her, and she’s made them into a brand. And she does that simply by being real…Well okay, I guess I don’t technically know that Taylor Swift loves her cats, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that she does…

THE TAKEAWAY FOR BLOGGERS

Be yourself. You hear it all the time, but really, it’s probably the most important thing you can do for your blog.

A couple days ago I stumbled across a new blog, and I absolutely loved the content. Almost immediately I found myself comparing that blog to mine. I started questioning my brand colors, my writing style, my pictures…It was pretty ridiculous, and the crazy part? I might have loved the content, but the actual branding was so far away from my actual personality. It was more tough, and bold, and scandalous. Which is so not me.

The point? You’ll find yourself wanting to change your brand based on the things you see coming out from other people, but the more loyal you remain to yourself, your interests, and your taste, the more success you’re going to have. Guaranteed.

taylor swift and branding

3) You are responsible for your own narrative

If you haven’t listened to Reputation yet, the main thing to know is that the album really focuses on her climbing out of the hole that was the Kanye West “I made that bitch famous” fiasco. She specifically talks about her reputation (duh), finding new love, and even actually addresses the incident directly. I’ve heard some people criticize her for writing about a situation that happened so long ago, that nobody cares about now. But here’s the deal: this is her story. Her writing is about her feelings and her experiences, and I don’t know about you, but if I had the whole world thinking I was a liar, I’d probably write about it too.

I’m not here to defend Taylor Swift, though. I’m here to share with you what you can learn about marketing and business from studying Taylor Swift, so here it is…

THE TAKEAWAY FOR BLOGGERS

You need to be real and tune out the noise of what everyone else is doing and/or saying. Your narrative is your own. Your journey is your own. And your blog is your own. I can’t emphasize that enough. If you keep reading other people’s content and trying to emulate what they’re doing, you’re never going to gain the traction that you want. If you’re not writing about the experiences in your life that you’re actually passionate about, you’ll never go anywhere. Taylor Swift writes about the life experiences that matter to her, and impact her, despite what other people might say about that. And hey, she’s one of the most successful artists of our time. If that’s not something to take note of, then I don’t know what is.

4) Do what you do best, and don’t worry what other people say

This sounds like similar advice as the previous point, but hear me out…

How many times have you heard someone complain about the fact that all Taylor Swift writes about is her love life? I’ve heard this argument about a billion times. And to those people I say, how many albums are you selling, huh? Taylor Swift writes relatable songs that people connect to like an absolute pro. If you listen to Delicate, and don’t relate to the feeling of starting a new relationship, then I’m gonna have to question whether you’re human or not…Seriously.

THE TAKEAWAY FOR BLOGGERS

You guys know that I’m not really one for niches when it comes to blogging, but I am someone who believes in being focused with your content. Taylor Swift is the perfect example of this.

What kinds of songs does Taylor Swift write best? Love songs that are relatable from a female perspective. She sticks with these songs because they’re what she knows best, they’re what come naturally to her, and they’re what sell. People can criticize her all they want about primarily writing on this one topic, but if you want to try and tell me that all her songs sound the same, I’m going to strongly debate you on this. She is somebody who has gone from country, to pop, and has experimented with plenty of different sounds in her albums.

And this is exactly what bloggers should be doing too. Stick with what you know best. Stick with what comes naturally for you. Stick with what your audience actually wants to hear. But, at the same time, don’t be afraid to try new things, and to jump into new categories when the timing seems right. This is what Taylor Swift has done, and there’s no denying that it’s paid off for her.

5) Creating hype/publicity always, always, ALWAYS matters (no matter how big you get)

When Reputation came out, I remember I read one article in particular that got me feeling alllllll the angry feels. I can’t remember the headline exactly, but it was something along the lines of “Is Taylor Swift Still Relevant?”

Seriously?

Seriously?!

The fact that somebody actually legitimately posed this question is probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

Essentially the argument of the article was that somebody as big as her shouldn’t have to hype their album up so much *insert eye roll here*

If you don’t know, when Taylor Swift announced her newest album, she wiped her Instagram. She deleted all her posts, unfollowed everyone, and then started releasing these cryptic images of a snake. She’s done a lot of other PR related things for this album, but that’s the main one, and this article actually criticized her for it. To me, that is absolute insanity.  

THE TAKEAWAY FOR BLOGGERS

The takeaway here is simple: no matter how much growth you have, never think you’ve made it. Plain and simple. Don’t assume that just because you have a certain number of followers on Instagram, people will read your blog content. Don’t just assume that because you have a certain number of page views that people will buy your products.

Yes, Taylor Swift probably could have quietly released Reputation, but honestly, where’s the fun it that? Never stop hustling. That’s really the key takeaway here.

6) Taking a step back is sometimes the best move you can make

After the whole Kanye West situation, Taylor Swift basically dropped off the face of the earth. Like actually. She was barely ever spotted out and about, she wasn’t posting on social media, and she kind of just vanished (a pretty big deal when you’re such a major celeb).

So with her reputation dragged through the mud, and people questioning her character, what did she do? She focused on the work. She started writing and producing a new album, and a pretty amazing one if I do say so myself. It really just goes to show that sometimes when you think you’ve hit your low, you can come back from it. You can tune out all the noise, focus on the work, and come back stronger than ever.

THE TAKEAWAY FOR BLOGGERS

I’m not sure that any of us are ever going to be faced with a situation as major as Taylor Swift, but the main thing to take away from her experience is that sometimes a break will be exactly what you need to refocus and get yourself straight. If you’re struggling with your content, take a step back from it. If Instagram is driving you nuts, get off the platform. As creative individuals, our brains are often going a mile a minute, and sometimes it’s very necessary to slow down, break, and get off the road. Oftentimes, when you come back, you’re refreshed, inspired, and better than ever. And yes, Taylor Swift is definitely proof of this.

Alrighty, ladies, there you have it. Call me crazy, but I really do think there’s a lot that can be learned by studying Taylor Swift. I know not everyone is the biggest fan of hers, but like I’ve said, there’s no denying that she’s had major success in her industry. And honestly, I think a large part of that can be credited to her marketing and her branding. And hey, as bloggers, if we can take something away from that, why not? I’m all for being able to chat about blogging and Taylor Swift.

Okay, now somebody get me a cup of hot chocolate and Reputation. I’m ready for my listening party.

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2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Indya | TheSmallAdventurer

    December 5, 2017

    Love, love, LOVE this post!!! Yes, I am a die-hard Taylor Swift fan for over 11 years now, but even with her faults and mistakes, there’s no denying that she’s super smart when it comes to business. She knows exactly what steps to take; she’s unstoppable. I’m still working on branding myself and my work, but we’ve all got to start somewhere! I know I’ll get better with time, and be more confident in how I want the world to see me. Until then, I’ll just keep taking notes from Taylor and hope that one day I’ll be as unapologetically myself as she is.

    Indya || The Small Adventurer

  2. Reply

    Melissa

    December 6, 2017

    This is awesome, and I loved how you tied it in for bloggers! Taylor Swift, along with Beyonce, are MASTERS at branding. I’d say the Kardashians are too, although more Kim than anyone else. They all (TS, Beyonce, and Kim K) carefully curate their images and make sure that nothing gets past them without their approval (or so I’ve heard! I only read gossip mags haha)

    But that’s so cool, because all of these women are mega famous and successful. It doesn’t come by accident. These women worked hard and earned their success – it looks easy to us all now, but it took years of hard work. I remember reading something about TS and there was a picture from when she sang at some small-town festival. It was her, her guitar, some band people… and a teeny, tiny audience. She played like that for a while before she started selling out concerts!

    So hard work doesn’t look easy but certainly pays off. And mind your brand 🙂

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