This weekend I saw Taylor Swift in concert. And if you’ll let me act like a 14-year-old girl for a minute – ohhh my god it was freaking awesome. I’m still kind of in awe of her but I also want to be her best friend. That’s exactly how she wants me to feel. That’s the brand she’s built.
She is nearly universally well liked in Hollywood and her broad range of friends – from Victoria’s Secret models to Beyonce to Mariska Hargitay to Lena Dunham – kind of prove that well, girlfriend must be pretty awesome in real life.
So if you’re a Taylor Swift fan (and even if you aren’t), there is so much that we can learn from how she conducts herself in the public eye that we can directly apply to blogging.
1. Make everyone feel included.
When we walked in to the arena, we were each given a wristband.
I knew it would light up but I had no idea what it would actually do. Turns out, as she played songs the wristbands lit up with different colors at all the right moments. It just made the whole thing such an experience.
And you know what? We all felt more included. We kept our hands in the air and we danced.
She even said at one point during the concert “I can see each and every one of you”. Each LED light represented a real person.
Your stats are real people too. Each and every number on that little bar graph on your dashboard is a person who is at your site to learn, grow, enjoy, or be inspired. How can you make them feel included? Keeping this in mind will only make your blog better.
2. Talk to your readers like they are already your friends.
In between songs, Taylor would talk directly to the audience. It wasn’t just the “how’s everyone doing tonight Philly!?” No. She actually had conversations. She shared pieces of herself. These little stories and anecdotes led directly in to perfect song choices. But honestly, those conversations could have been with just me. That’s how it felt. As she was talking, it was like she was talking to just me, not a crowd of 50,000.
Just because you want to be seen as an authority figure doesn’t mean your writing has to be stuffy. Try to write like you’d talk to a good friend.
Tip: If you’re having trouble finding your voice and writing how you talk, consider talking out a post on your cell phone or using Dragon Dictation. I did this frequently as a beginner blogger and found that it helped my posts be more conversational.
3. Be responsive.
Taylor is known for reaching out directly to fans on social media. For standing up to bullies. For making each and every fan feel important. She is a part of the conversation.
For bloggers, this part is obvious. Respond to emails, comments, social media, etc. This might be hard. It’s hard for me! But building relationships and interacting with people is such an important part of blogging. Try to do your best to respond to every direct email, every tweet, and every comment. Don’t beat yourself up too much if you can’t. The key word is try.
4. Don’t acknowledge or partake in the negative.
Have you ever heard of Taylor Swift getting in Twitter war or directly respond to a hater? Nope. Because aside from the rare “hater” reference in a song or two, she doesn’t.
I think this is a particularly good idea in blog world. There is a lot of chatter out there and it’s definitely not all positive. If it’s about you, don’t read it. Critical comments that are thoughtful should be responded to. But straight up hate? No way.
If you can avoid it, I’d also encourage you to not read negative things about other bloggers either. I’ve found that when I’ve ever read negative things about other blogs, I inevitably wind up feeling more self-conscious about my own blog.
5. Use social media consistently and frequently.
The only reason I know who Taylor’s real life girlfriends are, how much she loves cats, and what her favorite TV shows are is because I follow her on social media. She shares bits of herself and it contributes so much to the authenticity she puts out there.
6. Be selective about what you share.
Taylor’s use of social media and the emotions she shares in songs make her seem like she is an open book. However if you really think about it, Taylor’s songs are often written at the time she’s feeling them and are released to the world months or years later. You know what she was feeling and details of what may have happened “we moved the furniture so we could dance” but it’s not really how she’s feeling right this very second. By the time she’s singing it live, it’s her past.
More recently, Taylor has been nearly silent about her romantic life. She’s so open about many things and very tight-lipped about others.
This is a great strategy for bloggers to pick up on, though she probably has a publicist who helps her with this kind of thing. You have to be your own publicist.
Certain life details may not be yours to share. Others may be too personal to put out there for anyone to read. Think about who could be reading your blog before you write anything. Would you feel comfortable with your employer reading it? The guy you just started dating? Your grandmother? If you can’t say for sure, don’t post it.
Or do that blogger thing where you post about something vague that you’re struggling with but don’t share all the details. We don’t necessarily need every dirty detail to be able to relate.
7. Know what you’re worth.
In late 2014, Taylor Swift removed her music from streaming services.
“I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music,” she told Yahoo. “And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”
Wow. Bold right? Especially in a world that is heading in such a “streamed” direction. But you know what? She still sells tons of albums. I’ve bought every single one. They are probably the only full albums I buy. She’s worth it.
And you know what? You are too. So is your blog. I hate to see bloggers apologizing for doing the occasional (key word: occasional) sponsored post. Blogging takes time. Time that you could be spending elsewhere. Your voice has value to companies. Use it and don’t apologize for it.
8. Pat others on the back and say thank you.
One thing that really stunned us about Taylor during her performance was that she graciously thanked every surprise guest and both of her opening acts. She actually said “how lucky am I to have Vance Joy on this tour?” LIKE WHAT?! I think everyone in the stadium knew that Vance Joy was really the lucky one. But she keeps her ego in check and says thank you. Being humble is a great quality to have. Saying thank you? That’s necessary.
Thanking your fellow bloggers and sharing the great stuff they do is important. It’s good practice and I’m pretty convinced that it brings you good blogging karma. If you love a post, tweet it, pin it, share it, or stumble it.
9. Being authentic is the fastest way to build your brand.
At one point during the concert I looked around the packed stadium and marveled at what this successful young woman had built. She has millions of devoted followers of nearly all ages (although granted, almost exclusively female).
Everything she did during the concert, every piece of the set, every outfit, every hair flip, it was so very Taylor. And then I thought…how do I even know that? It’s because she’s built her brand beautifully. We feel like we know her. Every piece of the concert just fit. The authenticity she puts out there shines through in all that she does and we love her for it.
The best thing you can do for your blog is be as you as possible. That’s the truth.
10. Don’t be afraid of change.
The Taylor Swift I first loved had long, curly hair, wore sundresses, and played country music. The Taylor Swift I saw this weekend played straight up pop music while whipping around her adorable, stick straight lob haircut. I love both and whatever she does next, I’m sure I’ll love that too.
As a person and as a blogger, you’re allowed to change. Hell, you should change! It’s a natural and wonderful part of life. So if your blog is tales of your single gal life, just know that in five years if your blog morphs in to a mommy blog, a lot of your readers will still really get that. You can grow together.
Phew. That was a lot about Taylor Swift but when will I get another chance to blog about Taylor Swift and blogging in the same post? What she’s doing is working and keeping some of her strategies in mind can definitely make you a better blogger.