She’s become a household name as one of the greatest pop artists in the world. Taylor Swift is a remarkable celebrity for many reasons, but several are terrific examples for radio personalities to follow. Taylor’s most impressive attribute is her amazing work ethic, but she has also been smart enough to bet on herself. And that combination is powerful.
Great performers can’t get away with mediocre work. The more popular she becomes, the more fans expect. But fans don’t expect nearly as much as she expects from herself.
Here are four lessons personalities can learn from her.
Take Some Risks
Nothing special has ever been created without risk. Nobody becomes a fan because of an ordinary performance, even if it’s good. Being good is simply the price of admission. Fans demand excellence. And excellence requires getting out of your comfort zone.
Here are three risks Taylor has taken:
- Transitioned from a country star to a pop superstar. Her first hits (2006) were pop-flavored country songs that took country music by storm. In the following years, she risked alienating a core country fan as she evolved into the pop diva she is today. She didn’t do it all at once. she led her audience in stages, similar to how personalities should evolve as they progress through the Personality Success Path.
- In 2015, Taylor Swift took issue with Apple’s decision to allow free trials of Apple Music. During the trials, artists wouldn’t be paid royalties for songs streamed. She announced that she would not release her album through iTunes. Apple backed down. Other artists didn’t speak out, but Swift’s actions influenced change. Leaders get attention. I’m not suggesting you pick fights and burn bridges. But step up and innovate. Find new ways to bring value to listeners and be willing to take risks.
- More recently, Taylor fought for ownership of her albums in a highly publicized dispute with her record label. She won again, this time by re-recording and re-releasing those albums on another label. Radio personalities tend to follow the leader. They hear shows producing certain types of material, so they go with what seems popular. Great shows innovate and take chances even if criticized.
Using Her Platforms
Taylor Swift is one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. That wouldn’t happen if she wasn’t willing to reinvent herself, but it didn’t happen just because she’s a good writer, singer, and performer.
She has nurtured her audience (Swifties) for years by making deep connections fueled by social media. Using sound fundamentals and principles, Taylor has found the key that unlocks passion by staying in touch with her fans. This takes time. It demands a commitment to being a celebrity.
How active are you on social media? It’s amazing how many air personalities still “do their four and hit the door”. If audience engagement is limited to creating a decent show and prescheduling a couple of generic tweets or posts, opportunities are wasted.
You have to interact with the community of fans and potential fans on and off the air. Create a video presence for your brand. Use social media platforms to lead the audience to the show. Being a star is not a part-time job.
Taylor Swift’s greatest skill is writing and sharing relatable stories from her heart through her music. She makes emotional connections that are memorable and character-defining. Taylor’s stories and songs are personal, connecting through a shared human experience.
Her stories make others feel they are not alone.
That connection demands a willingness to be vulnerable. Personalities must be willing to share their heart and experiences in a personal way that does not become inside or self-absorbed.
She’s mastered the art of earning attention while giving attention and a spotlight to her fans and followers, the Swifties.
Taylor Swift Is In The Moment
Have you ever been to a Taylor Swift concert? A funny thing happens there. She’s not on the phone, surfing the internet, texting her friends, or watching a Tik Tok video. She doesn’t add a picture to Instagram during her show. Her show matters. Social engagement and personal connections have to wait until the performance ends.
On stage, she’s in the moment connecting with the audience.
You owe it to co-hosts, the station, and listeners to do the same. Focus on every detail. Stay in the moment, even during the songs and commercials. There’s plenty of time to make lunch plans after the show. The show is important. Treat every moment as showtime.
Just doing these four things won’t turn a personality into the Taylor Swift of radio. Talent, work ethic, and opportunity are also factors. But applying these lessons can lead to excellence.
And doesn’t your career deserve that?