You guys! It's been a month and a half since Miley Cyrus & Robin Thicke's infamous VMA performance, and people are still.talking.about.it. In the life span of pop culture and social media, that's like 2 years in human time!
The truth is, I'm actually kind of amazed that people are still talking about that performance and Miley. Then I thought, “Well, WHY are people still talking about it? What about it truly made it so much different than any provocative VMA performance?” The truth is… I'm not sure it was any different. But I think what came after WAS.
It's Okay to Do What Others Are Doing.
As bloggers, we get caught up in producing new, innovative, original and compelling content. All of our work needs to be groundbreaking. But if you look at popular music (or literature or film), you'll notice that there isn't a lot of originality out there. There's a helluva lot of creativity, but nothing is really original or unique. Everyone's gotten nude. Everyone's made obscene gestures. Everyone's humped or made out with each other on stage.
And despite outcries… those artists still have an audience, and they still find success.
This isn't to say that you need to get naked or wag your tongue on your site, but that sometimes great ideas and success comes from walking the road well traveled. It comes from learning and understanding what others have done, why it worked, or why it didn't. Maybe you'll succeed in getting people talking, and maybe you won't – but it's okay to try what others have done to see how it fits you.
Strive for Longevity.
This is where we go back to how people are STILL talking about Miley Cyrus. She found a fast way to get people talking about her – the release of “We Can't Stop” followed by it's explosive VMA performance. She used that momentum to KEEP people talking about her: she released “Wrecking Ball” and “23.” She performed on SNL, where she made fun of herself AND Michelle Bachmann. She didn't give audiences the time to stop talking about her – she didn't even let them stop THINKING about her.
As a blogger, what's your takeaway from that?
Pay attention to what you're doing and how people respond to it. If you create a piece that goes viral, what fuel can you feed that fire? Maybe if you write a follow up piece, ask those who shared and promoted it if they'd be interested in reading the new one. Ask them to share it if they like it. Build on your success, no matter how it comes — instead of letting the wave ride out into nothing.
Sometimes You Just Need to Bare It All.
Miley's performance shattered the public's illusion that she was still a little girl – that she was still Hannah Montana. She bared her flesh and her tongue, she thrust her hips. In short, she did everything she could to let the world know that she was a woman in charge and with her own agenda. (Whether she succeeded is up for debate.)
You may not need to get naked on your site, but you can still bare it all to your readers. Use your site to bare your emotional self, your vulnerable self, your intelligent and curious self. Audiences respond- positively and negatively – to vulnerability, honesty, and rawness. Creating something that audiences emotionally react to is an incredibly rewarding experience as a blogger.
Take a cue from Miley: what can you do that makes your readers respond? How can you style an outfit differently or spin a topic in a way that no one has before, that will resonate with readers? When you write, think about the ways that you can bare yourself on the topic to the fullest. Tapping into those emotion will make each of your posts infinitely more successful.
Whether you loved or hated Miley's performance, it brings up a lot of great discussions for bloggers. Every event that catches the public's attention, and holds it, is an educational opportunity IF we take advantage of it. So with that in mind – I'd love to hear what other things Miley's VMA Performance can teach you about blogging!
[Image credit: Terry Richardson]