Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus
We clawed, we chained our hearts in vain
We jumped never asking why
We kissed, I fell under your spell.
A love no one could deny
Don’t you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I can’t live a lie, running for my life
I will always want you
I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me
The above is a snippet of the lyrics from “Wrecking Ball,” a hit song from Miley Cyrus. She and public relations have much in common.
Before she was smoking a cannabis cigarette (joint) on stage in Amsterdam, Miley played the Disney Channel’s cute, sweet and adorable Hannah Montana. But she grew up and became a young adult who’s taken her career to a whole new level.
Miley acted in touching movies such as The Last Song featuring Greg Kinnear and Liam Hemsworth (they’ve since split). But in 2012 she got a makeover from head-to-toe. She cut and dyed her hair and changed the way she dressed. Her outfits can be outrageous and provocative. And in 2013, Miley hired Larry Rudolph as her manager and left Hollywood Records for RCA Records.
What does all of this have to do with public relations?
Parents are stunned that the girl who played Hannah Montana, the character their little girls idolized, now struts across stages around the world in provocative outfits while singing songs that may not be as sweet as the songs she sung on the hit Disney Channel. Miley makes no apologies and continues on her musical path.
Like Miley or not, you can learn much from her and public relations. Below are 10 things they have in common.
Miley Cyrus And Public Relations: 10 Surprising Things They Have In Common
1. Go viral. When Miley appeared on the 2013 MTV Music Awards bumping and grinding next to Robin Thicke in a barely there outfit, the world went nuts. Everyone couldn’t believe that this was the same girl who sings “Party in the USA.” Plus, backup dancers were dressed in teddy bear outfits. Like it or not, Miley’s performance was great a PR moment. Talk show hosts such as the ladies on The View spoke about her performance and newspapers and magazines wrote about it. Miley was on everybody’s mind.
Takeaway: Want this kind of attention for your brand or small business? Write a piece of content that goes viral or post a video that attracts people.
2. Attention getter. If you’re an artist who shows up at a European awards show and smokes a joint (cannabis cigarette) on stages, chances are you’ll get attention. Again. Miley was on everyone’s mind. Parents were outraged and people wondered if Miley needs help. Like it or not, her stunt gained media attention and kept people talking about her for weeks.
Takeaway: Need more attention? Do something wild or controversial like oppose an industry standard. Or do something that makes a difference in the lives of your audience, like donate $25,000.00 to a crowdfund.
3. Response time. Miley’s good about responding to her critics, especially on Twitter. Whenever a celebrity or someone else tweets about her or says something about her, she fires off a response. The quicker Miley responds, the quicker the media and everyone else knows what’s happening.
Takeaway: If you have a brand or business, the quicker you respond the better. Don’t be a jerk. State facts, apologize and do whatever you have to do to protect your company’s image.
4. Know thy audience. Some of Miley’s Hannah Montana audience continues to follow her; she’s gained new fans. Miley’s smart because she stays on top of trends. She dresses in the latest style and girls everywhere want to copy her image. If you’re a parent, you may not like it. But if you’re Miley and the manager, publicist or agent of her, this is music to your ears. Why? Because it means a connection has been made with the audience. They’ll want to know more.
Takeaway: Do you know who your audience is? If you don’t, stop right now and figure it out. You can’t market to everyone. For public relations to work, you need to know who you’re speaking to.
5. Internal communication. Miley has many people on her team from a stylist to an agent. She has to communicate with her peeps if she’s going to continue on the path of success. For example, if Miley didn’t want to do European tour (don’t worry, she is), she’d have to tell her manager. Yes, she calls the shots, but other people have a stake in her empire.
Takeaway: Keep the lines of communication open in your business. Make sure the marketing department knows and understands they need to stick to a budget. Otherwise, the accounting department will call to find out the reason for variances. All stakeholders within a company must work together for a common goal. If not, you can expect hurt feelings and chaos.
6. Get your message across. Last year, Miley was on the Ellen show and stated that she’s evolving as an artist and person. She’s not doing what she’s doing for attention. Miley’s being herself and growing up. That’s right! Miley was not going to stay 15 years old forever. It was inevitable that she’d become a young twenty-something who wants to experience all that life has to offer.
Takeaway: Be clear about your message. For example, if you’re a women’s life coach, specializing in life after divorce, make sure you state this on your website. If you just have “Women’s Life Coach,” you won’t be marketing to a specific audience. Your message will become jumbled and confuse women when they see your press release and website.
7. Be social. Miley has 41 million Facebook fans and over 16 million Twitter followers. On Twitter, she shares information from her personal life (she’s sick of being sick) to her appearance on MTV’s Unplugged. Miley knows how to use social media. It’s a fantastic way to gain PR for her tours, movies, collaborations and more. Plus, fans get a sneak peek into her life.
Takeaway: The point of social media is to be social. Stop trying to always sell to your target market. Get to know them. Posts surveys and ask questions. Upload images and videos. Hold a contest and give something away. Engage your audience and care about them. Be authentic and sincere.
8. Spin it. Polishing or spinning the truth happens. For example, when the story broke that Miley walked on stage with joint (cannabis cigarette), everyone in the U.S. was flabbergasted. But according to reports in Europe, people were more interested in Miley’s performance and how she sounded. Is this truth or fiction? Who knows? But Miley has been quoted as saying she thought her walking on stage with the cigarette would be fun for her fans. Parents would disagree.
Takeaway: Sometimes, you may want to spin a story about your brand or business to make it look good. If executed properly, you can easily diffuse any negative situation. If executed poorly, you can have a PR nightmare on your hands. When in doubt, tell the truth. Of course, you can always choose the perfect time for a story to be released. Why? Because you can take advantage of current headlines in the news that coincide with your business.
9. No negative PR. Artists like Miley Cyrus know that negative PR doesn’t exist. If people are talking about you, that’s a good thing. If they’re not talking about you, you may want to ask, “Why not?” Miley’s had her share of critics, but she keeps plugging away at her craft and doesn’t allow the buzz to keep her down.
Takeaway: Don’t get upset if your brand or company suffers from negative PR. Address the situation ASAP by reaching out to journalists and publishing a post on your website; share it on your social networks.
10. Promotion. When you’re in the music business, you need to promote the heck out your album and tour. You can’t just sit back and hope everything will work out for the best. If Miley didn’t appear on talk and radio shows or take advantage of social media, her album or movie may not do as well. Her audience wants to hear from her. They want to know if she’ll be stopping in their city. They want to know who’s co-starring in her film. Miley needs to promote her work.
Takeaway: Promotion is necessary. If you have a problem with speaking you and/or your business, get over it. You don’t have to be a conceited jerk about what you’re doing, but you have to let people know that you have a new product or service. How will your audience know that you just invented (fill in the blank) that will make their lives easier? You need to promote.
Miley Cyrus Can Teach You about Public Relations
For the record, I like Miley’s songs “Wrecking Ball” and “Adore You.” I also respect her choice to leave Hannah Montana in the past and evolve into a young woman who’s trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be.
I ask you to forget everything you ever heard or read about Miley Cyrus. Look beyond her image and instead, look at what she’s accomplished at a young age. The entertainment business can be tough. Young artists come and go, but Miley has managed to revamp her image and withstand her critics.
Miley Cyrus and public relations are like two peas in a pod. How about your brand or business?
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