Lady Gaga is a celebrity phenomenon. She rose to stardom on the wings of social media and has achieved so much in little time compared to her predecessors. Consider this:
- she has over 20 million Twitter followers
- almost 50 million people have liked her Facebook page
- she has won 5 Grammy Awards, among many other music awards
- in 2011, Forbes named her the #1 most powerful celebrity and #7 on its list of most powerful women
- she is estimated to have earned over US$90 million as of August 2011
If that’s not enough, the University of South Carolina has created a course, “Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame.”
Clearly, we can learn a thing or two from someone who has accomplished so much. What can Lady Gaga teach us about getting PR in a social media-driven world?
7 PR Tips You Can Learn From Lady Gaga
1. Start with a good product
Lady Gaga is not the greatest singer who ever lived. Her songs are not the best ever composed. But there’s no denying her talent.
She is classically trained in piano, and has played lead roles in school plays throughout childhood. She also writes her own music, designs her clothes, and masterminds her marketing.
It’s much harder for PR to succeed if the product is poor to begin with. But start with a good product, a product that customers would actually pay for and there’s no telling where you can go.
2. Stand out from the competition
From her meat dress to explicit videos, Lady Gaga is not afraid to shock and stir controversy. As we’ve said before, controversy is always newsworthy fuel for PR.
Don’t be afraid to ruffle feathers if it means being true to your brand.
3. Have a message and speak it boldly
Lady Gaga’s music and fashion choices all say the same message: Be yourself, accept who you are, including your weirdest quirks. This consistent message has resonated with her audience and turned them into wildly loyal “monsters”.
Know what you, your brand, and your product stand for, and shout it from the mountaintops.
4. Give up control
Unlike other artists, Lady Gaga allows everyone to post her music all over the Internet without asserting her copyright. As her music earnings show, this wide online piracy hasn’t hurt her earnings at all.
Once you create content and unleash it to the world, you often cannot control who uses that content. This is not always a bad thing – by others spreading your content and your message far and wide – you might reach your sweet spot of paying customers, much faster.
5. Make your own news
Perez Hilton, one of the entertainment media who first took notice of Lady Gaga, says she caught his attention through a video she made herself, independently of her record label.
Don’t rely on traditional media gatekeepers and producers to publish content about you. The tools are available today for anyone to create their own content. Keep your content platforms — blog, YouTube channel, Facebook page, etc — fresh with new updates and relevant content. Time and time again, I see that it can take just one “tastemaker” or “influencer” to make a brand’s marketing content go viral (which can then translate to sales).
6. Reach new audiences through partnerships
Famous as she is, Lady Gaga willingly shares the limelight with the likes of Tony Bennett, Elton John, Cher, and Beyonce. No doubt these collaborations helped Lady Gaga reach new audiences and make new fans out of them.
Reach out to businesses that complement yours, so you can widen your audience reach. While you may be set about who your target customers are, partnerships allow you to tap into audiences you’ve never thought of, who would buy your product or service – if they just knew about you.
We tend to think of success stories as happening overnight, without realizing all the time and hard work it took for the success to happen. Few know, for example, that Lady Gaga started out playing in small lounges in NYC.
Don’t get discouraged if at first you don’t see results from your PR efforts. The seeds you plant now, especially in social media, will bear fruit eventually, and for many years to come. That said, it’s essential to keep track of what does work and keep doing more of it.
What Did I Miss?
These are only some of the PR lessons we can learn from Lady Gaga. I’m sure there are many more.
What other lessons do you think can we learn from Lady Gaga to help us improve our PR? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Image by Domain Barnyard
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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