PR efforts often crash and burn. But do you want to know how to navigate the storms of public opinion? Be authentic.
Consider the reigning likability queen — Taylor Swift. She’s constantly getting positive media attention. She’s the most followed user on Instagram, dispelled breakup rumors and made waves by skipping the AMAs this year.
Here’s how she uses PR tactics to always come out on top.
‘Never go out of style’
Authenticity is the ever-elusive currency of the digital age, and Swift is raking it in. She’s a songwriter and performer, but her appeal extends beyond her “sick beats.”
She’s able to maintain her personal branding directly. Swift is able to present herself as down to earth, friendly and approachable with the help of social media.
Her personal style is central to her brand. She’s often photographed leaving her New York City penthouse poised and in her prime. (Take a look at Lauren Valenti’s collection of Taylor Swift photos in Marie Claire.) She controls every aspect of her image, including her street style.
What does this mean for you? Your brand or client needs to ooze authenticity. People can see right through false fronts, especially in our era.
Define your brand, and then stick to that definition. Maintain an image across all platforms and outlets, including social media accounts. Authenticity is always in style.
‘The best people in life are free’
Get to know your publics, and become ‘BFFs.’ Swift has mastered this trait.
She’s often found virtually stalking her own fans: in the loving kind of way. The Instagram account @taylornoticed chronicles her active online footprint.
Personal contact is invaluable for celebrities as well as companies and brands. Swift practiced this in a recent wedding of a fan and her viral personalized Christmas gift bonanza.
“Swiftmas” was the pinnacle of “Tay-lurking”. The heartwarming Christmas season gift giving was documented in a YouTube video on Swift’s channel. Because of the constant interactions with her fans, she knew her brand champions. It was time to celebrate them.
Be the point of contact. Listen to publics. Be active on social media and have meaningful interactions. Try boosting morale by rewarding the ‘No. 1s.’
‘Loose lips sink ships:’ Know what to say and when
The key to successful public relations is strategic planning, especially when it comes to any kind of announcement. This is another skill Swift has perfected.
“I think people might need a break from me,” Swift announced in an interview with NME.com where she indicated she might be stepping away from the spotlight at the conclusion of her ‘1989 tour’ this December.
By maintaining an overwhelming aura of authenticity, Swift has amassed a loyal following. On the same note, she’s also able to deflect criticism by addressing it head on.
When asked about keeping up her image during the same interview with NME.com, she stated:
“It’s not about trying to be perfect,” she explained. “Not to try and sound like the good witch in The Wizard of Oz or something, but I really do want to do good things with what I have, and that’s it. I don’t think my brain could cook up very shocking things for the sake of being shocking.”
Being genuine is a foolproof strategy.
Out of the woods yet?
It’s safe to say that Taylor Swift is at the top of her game. By maintaining authenticity, becoming BFFs with your publics and knowing what to say and when, you too can be a diva in your own right.
Megan, a public relations major, works as a social media manager by day and shops online clearance sections by night. She’s an advocate for gluten-free treats. You can find her reading the latest Mindy Kaling book or creating a tasteful collage wall.