Taylor Swift Knows the Secret to Igniting Your Content (It’s a Love Story)

What can content marketers learn from Taylor Swift? Actually, a lot more than you may think.

Winning over her audience with humility and authenticity, T. Swift then activates her fan base into a personal army of teen brand evangelists. Her secret? She connects with her fans on a personal level by loving them back.

The Taylor Swift Rule of Marketing can work for companies, too. But getting it right requires brands to step out from behind their corporate facades and get in touch with their humanity.

At a Content Hackers event this week, Mark Schaefer, author of five books on digital marketing, shared his perspective on how brands can break through the noise and ensure good content doesn’t fall on deaf ears. Here are a few key points I walked away with:

Your job is only going to get harder.

If you think it’s difficult to ensure good content reaches key audiences today (and it is!), you may be in for a rude awakening. The Internet is projected to grow by 500 percent in the next five years alone. And yet, it seems that people have reached their content consumption limits. We already constantly consume new information from our devices—anyone who has recently lost or misplaced a smart phone can attest that the parallels between a misplaced mobile device and phantom limb are uncanny. Even as communications professionals, it can feel exhausting to keep up with the 24/7 cycle of breaking news, trending hash tags and viral videos.

The reality is that as more and more content enters the World Wide Web, brands will need to compete tirelessly for consumer attention and their great content will become worthless unless people see it and share it.

Today’s keys to success are tomorrow’s table stakes.

Mark says creating great content—emotive, human, useful, engaging, multimedia content—is only the starting line.

Shares are highly personal. What you share can give the world a picture of your identity and what you’re thinking about. Shares can deepen your relationships with those around you, show what you stand for and show what you stand against.

With these high stakes, content has to speak to and resonate with its audience enough to trigger the click of the share button. Shares are a valuable commodity in themselves, because consumers trust content passed along by their friends. In fact, The Content Code, Mark’s most recent book, says 70 percent of consumers attest that they are more likely to make a purchase based on a friend’s social media updates.

Developing an emotional connection to your brand that inspires sharing has become more important than ever.

When someone loves you, love them back.

So, what’s a brand to do once you have great, emotive content that’s shared? Mark says one crucial factor is finding the people who share your content most—your Alpha Audience—and cultivating those relationships.

When someone demonstrates they’re listening, asking the right questions or enjoying your brand—or, as Mark simply puts it, when some says “I love you”—take notice, and don’t play hard to get. Find the people who are sharing your content, and love them like crazy. Your Alpha Audience has the power to help ignite your content regularly.

This brings us back to our friend, country-turned-pop star Taylor Swift. Albeit not subject to the same regulatory hurdles many of our clients face, Swift constantly shows her influential fans the love. She’s known for rewarding her biggest fans by attending their weddings, helping pay off their student debt, sending them hand-wrapped Christmas presents, and offering them a sneak peek at her latest music through “Secret Sessions.”

While Swift-style fan relationships may not translate precisely for financial services, professional services and healthcare companies, Mark’s push for requited love still rings true.

Take a moment to evaluate how you are engaging with your Alpha Audience online and off. Have you shown that you care lately?

Photo Credit: Patrick Buechner, Flickr

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