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Editorial
5 Personal Branding Lessons From Taylor Swift
Flickr / Paolo Villanueva
Alex Wilson
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Having won her sexual assault trial last week, pop star Taylor Swift settled the “Bad Blood” between her and the “Mean” DJ who assaulted her. Now that she’s “Out of the Woods,” she can “Shake It Off” and “Begin Again.”

Okay, fine, I’ll stop. But regardless of whether you’re a fan or not, you can’t deny that Swift is incredibly successful. Not just as a world-famous musician, but also as a businesswoman.  We realize that Taylor Swift's interpretation of feminism hasn't always been perfect — but no one can deny what a wiz she is at personal branding. Her iconic looks and quotable song lyrics have translated into some serious cash, and it can do the same for you.

Though you might not be dropping a record any time soon, you can definitely learn from Taylor Swift’s career to better your own.  Here are some personal branding tips that will give you the extra boost you need to get the job of your “Wildest Dreams.” (That’s the last reference, I promise!)

1. Understand your audience. Do you remember T Swift’s iconic “no it’s becky” t-shirt? Someone unfamiliar with Taylor Swift’s online presence might think it’s just a typical shirt. But for fans who get the joke, it’s amazing. When you’re figuring out what your personal brand is, think of your audience. Who are you trying to appeal to, and what content would they respond well to?

“Taylor Swift knows that most of her young audience can be found on social media and that they also cling to celebrities that are relatable and real,” content marketing manager Emily Elliot told The Penny Hoarder. “Not only does she know and listen to them, she’s also in on their quirky inside jokes.” This level of understanding is important in the long-term, as it will become the foundation of your brand.

2. Be organic. Trying to be somebody you’re not will cause stress — and not the motivational kind. Find a balance between your personality and your work persona, and use that as the building blocks of your brand. That’s the kind of blend Swift is known for; when she performs live for her fans, she’s just as likely to talk about her emotional state as she is to bring out a celebrity guest. Her fans know her personality, and they know when she’s being real with them.

3. Toss in some variety. The number of Swift’s social media followers is the envy of brands across the world. One of the ways Swift keeps her followers engaged? Scavenger hunts, surprise announcements and fan giveaways; they’re completely random, but they’ve become an important staple of Swift’s brand. An easy way for you to interpret this is to update your personal brand by creating new kinds of content. Experiment by writing a LinkedIn article, sharing a recent presentation or even recording a podcast.

4. Let your work speak for itself. When Swift felt unfairly criticized for her music, she turned that negativity into a chart-topping song. Swift speaks her mind when she feels it’s important to do so, but she also knows when to let her work speak for itself; she shows her audience her talent instead of telling them about it. Likewise, your personal brand will be stronger if you showcase your talents in a way that let them speak for themselves.

5. Work hard! With five albums, four concert tours, three movie roles and millions of devoted fans — you can’t say that Swift doesn’t know how to work towards her goals. Her career is proof that putting in the effort (and staying passionate) will take you far; don’t hesitate to put in the extra hours to perfect your brand. In the long run, it’s totally worth it.

 

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