by Stephanie Carlin
No. This is not photoshopped. There is a UPS truck with Taylor Swift’s face on it. It is real. I have seen it. Everyday for a month, it has come with me on my way to workout or to pick something up at Starbucks. The first time I saw it I thought to myself two things: one, did my coats come in yet, and two, why would anyone in their right minds want their face on a delivery truck? It seemed so bizarre. Is her album even any good? I wonder what the reviews say. Oh, wait — that’s why.
Weirdly enough, this is not the only place you can find promotion for “Reputation.” In Iowa, the government agreed to put her lyrics on traffic signs on the highway. Yes. TRAFFIC. SIGNS.
Ridiculous is an understatement for her marketing campaign, but I do believe her marketing team knows what they’re doing. Her first single sold 2.5 million copies and, a week after “1989” dropped, she sold more than 1.3 million albums. Still, one can’t help but find this strange means of traction a little interesting. Many students seem to have a grip on promotion but I bet learning from the world’s most capitalistic pop star might help skyrocket you onto the trending page. I have compiled some tips on advanced promotion to do just that.
…Ready For It?
One thing that is key in Taylor Swift’s marketing stradegy is fan-involvement. After the release of her two singles, Taylor Swift announced her partnership with Ticketmaster that is guaranteed to get tickets for fans for the “Reputation” tour. This “scalper-free” system is called “Verified Fan.” How it works is that in order to purchase tickets you have to automatically register with their program and the more “boost activities” you do under the program, the more likely you’re going to have access to the tickets when they go on sale. These “boost activities” include watching “Look What You Made Me Do” five times a day, posting about Swift on social media, and purchasing “Reputation” up to 13 times (also known as paying over $182 to purchase the SAME ALBUM).
Now, there are easier ways to engage fans that are less reminiscent of a pyramid scheme. For example, in promoting their deluxe Christmas album, Pentatonix has been playing a game with their fans where they post emojis and make fans guess the track name in the comments. A little odd, yes, but it’s a cute way to gain traction (it’s also a cheap way). A lot of fans like little hints and teases on social media. It’ll not only keep them on their toes and but it will allow more followers to come, especially if you’re teasing an announcement.
Don’t Have “Bad Blood”
Putting whatever odd rivalries there are aside, Taylor has a reputation of complimenting other artists in interviews and in her early career, she’d often promote friends while promoting her own concerts and songs.
PROMOTE. YOUR. FRIENDS. You know that one guy who’s been sharing all of these playlists on Soundcloud that he does every other week? Yeah. Even him. Be polite. If your friend has an event coming up and you’re going to be there, tell your followers so they can meet up with you and meet your friend. Not only will you get more followers from fans of your friend, but will tease a collaboration. Also, collaborate. It doesn’t hurt, it’s fun, and posting it on each other’s social media with links to your pages will give their fans a reason to check you out.
Take it from Lorde, who shared a photo of her and Taylor on Twitter with excitement for “1989” and went up 30,000 followers in a week.
Get Out of the Woods
Mix it up. Be weird. Be spontaneous. Don’t let your fans make you out to be predictable. One of the most famous moves Taylor ever made was switching from country to pop. The minute people thought that she was just going to be an artist with a couple of radio hits, she switched into a pop star with a new sound. Then, she reinvented herself again with “Reputation.” Now that’s not to say that you need to change your music if you’re comfortable with how you sound; however, there is nothing wrong with a new tone in your tweets, Instagram photos, or website to accommodate for an upcoming album or a concert. Changes to all of those media outlets made artists like Katy Perry, Lorde, as well as Taylor appear unique and talented, even if they’re not (but that’s my opinion).
BONUS TIP: Do you have a demo you just finished? Post it. It’ll be a nice tease and you might even get some feedback in the comments.