A Podcasting Lesson From Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has changed. She used to play it safe. Not anymore.

Here's what I wrote about her a few years ago:

Taylor Swift 2014

If you ask Taylor Swift what she thinks about Obama, this is what she’ll say…

Nothing.

Why? Because Taylor Swift isn’t an idiot. She knows if she says anything, she’s going to piss off half her fans.

And pissing off half her fans would cost her a lot of money.

Nobody Is Immune

Even if you’re known to be "conservative." Even if you’re known to be "Christian."

It doesn’t matter.

Every time you open your mouth about a hot issue, whether it be stem cells, abortion, the Gaza Strip, gay marriage, or climate change, you’re repelling some of your audience.

Is letting your opinion be heard worth the price you’ll pay?

If so, keep talking. But if not, be like Taylor Swift and keep your mouth shut.

Taylor Swift Today

It's a different world now. Things have changed. And one of those those things is that Taylor Swift is sharing how she feels about politics and social issues.

View this post on Instagram

I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

The result, just like what happened when Nike did something similar, is that fans are divided. But according to Kamari Guthrie of Vote.org, more than 65,000 people registered to vote in the 24-hour period following her post.

Maybe she saw the response Nike got and thought it was a safer environment to jump into. Maybe it had something to do with her experience with sexual assault.

Or maybe she wants to be a true artist who does work that matters.

You Have A Big Opportunity

You have a big opportunity to change things via your podcast. You have an opportunity to impact lives, you have an opportunity to make the world better, and you have an opportunity to spread a message that's important to you.

But none of this will happen if you're afraid to speak up.

The Risks Still Apply

I wasn't wrong about what I said in 2014. And everything that could have happened to Taylor Swift for speaking up then can still happen.

People are still going to get mad when you speak your mind, regardless of what you say, and you're going to lose some of your audience.

But maybe it's worth it.

If you want to run your podcast like a kid trying to be popular in his high school's lunchroom, by all means play it safe. If you want to do something significant with your podcast though, you need to speak up.

It's a risk. But you'll find plenty of people waiting to support you when you take the leap.

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