Taylor Swift is one of the most successful female country artists of the last 10 years – the renowned site The Boot even named her (along with Carrie Underwood) The Country Royalty, after they were the only country artists listed in Rolling Stone‘s “Queens of Pop” list. Whether you like her music or not, you can definitely learn some marketing and business lessons from Taylor Swift.
Swift wrote her first song at age 10. She started playing guitar not long before venturing into songwriting (and she’d already won awards for poetry she’d written before she gave songwriting a go). Subsequently, she released her first single at 16, and her self titled debut album followed… which was then certified multi-platinum by the RIAA.
What’s the lesson here? Start early. Practice a lot. Don’t worry about being perfect on your first go.
Too many people put off creating their first product or service, or putting advertising on their site, because they’re new. They figure they’ll wait until later. Bad idea! The sooner you start putting up paid offerings on your website, and start bringing in some money with it, the sooner you’ll make the subconscious shift to actually treating your website as a business. Your first product doesn’t have to be something huge – it can be a $15 e-book, for example. Just get something finished and out there, and don’t worry about perfection. As you progress along your internet marketing journey, you’ll create better and more high quality products, but you won’t ever start improving if you don’t just start.
Swift’s songs are famous for being very personal and diary-like. She’s even said:
If you listen to my albums, it’s like reading my diary.
Surprisingly, her very personal songs make her stand out in the music industry; she’s also said:
I thought people might find them hard to relate to, but it turned out that the more personal my songs were, the more closely people could relate to them.
You can use this in your business by being more authentic. It’s true that authenticity is an overused buzzword; it’s also true that it’s overused for a reason. People can relate to authenticity and it makes them trust you more, and when people trust you more, they’re more likely to buy from you.
You don’t have to start talking about incredibly personal things in every blog post, but you might do one out of five blog posts that tie some element of your personal life to your business, and relate a lesson to the reader. As a bonus, these types of blog posts are very likely to go viral when done well – so sprinkling a few of them into your blog every now and then is a solid traffic strategy as well.
Handle Conflict With Grace
You probably heard about the 2009 MTV VMA fiasco. Swift was presented an award for Best Female Video, and while she was accepting the award on stage, Kanye West (another musician) walked up, took the microphone, and interrupted her speech, saying that a different video (“Single Ladies“, by Beyonce) was “one of the best videos of all time“. Swift didn’t finish her acceptance speech after that (until later, when Beyonce won an award and called her on stage to finish it).
Whether it was manufactured drama (a popular theory) or genuine drama, Swift is a case-study for handling the conflict well. She kept her composure relatively well on stage, not losing her temper, and when she did talk about the incident in public, she didn’t rant or say anything vicious – she simply said that at first she was excited to see Kanye, and then disappointed after he said what he did. This made people love and respect her even more than they already did.
The lesson here is simple: it’s always better to be the bigger person. You get more respect, trust, and fans that way. Next time you encounter a conflict where it’d be all to easy to lose your cool, bite your tongue, count to ten, and handle the conflict with grace instead – your business will thank you for it.