Not only do I love me some Taylor Swift, but her PR strategy pending the release of her newest album, 1989 was simply brilliant. And from her chart topping singles, hundreds of thousands of likes, and the 1.287 million copies of her album sold in the first week, it looks like any PR professional could take some lessons from the TSwift team.
Taylor went beyond the realm of pure publicity and did something more when promoting her album; she spoke directly to her fans. She made it special. Taylor used both teaser and countdown strategies uniquely to warrant great attention. Her posts were subtle and coy, always leaving her fans wondering what the melody was, or maybe even which ex-boyfriend the track could be about, but her PR team isn’t complaining. Using consistent social media blasts ensures that for an extended period of time, your product is what your fans see all over their newsfeed, and not just the same post, something new each day.
Starting a countdown too early or too late may result in either not enough people hearing about your product release, or a steady decrease of hype, neither of which are desirable. Swift set a timeline. 13 days for her 13 tracks on 1989 is very fitting, but it is also an ample amount of time to create buildup. (Not to mention the news that she took all of her music off Spotify, but thats a different story.) However, in every case, make sure your team has a crisis management team set and ready to go, just in case your news is leaked earlier than expected.
The aspect that was my personal favorite of Taylor’s 1989 campaign was that she used visual storytelling. Combining handwritten lyrics with a doodle, an airplane window, and other visual symbols, gives more depth than text on Facebook or Twitter would. It presents the fans with a window into how personal songwriting is for Swift and allows her to convey her lyrics the way she intended people to hear them. Putting a picture with your words is the strongest approach to take.
Of course Taylor’s PR Team are masters at marketing and PR, but what they really mastered here is the art of making the publicity of her 1989 album not at all like marketing or PR. Fans can tell when a product release feels too gimmicky or forced. The best part of Taylor’s countdown is that she took, wrote, or was featured in all of her posts. Although Taylor Swift is a mega-superstar, the way her team manages her Instagram account by putting up pictures of her cats, her drawings, and sometimes downright unflattering photos of Swift makes her feel more like the girl next door. Fans tend to appreciate stars that they can feel like they can relate to, which makes Taylor Swift not only successful in the industry, but also as a role model and a feminist.
Way to go Tay, you keep doin’ you.