Justin Timberlake PR Lessons

Who would have known that this little face on the right would teach PR professionals a little something about 20 years later?

Justin Timberlake recently came back into the media limelight when his new album The 20/20 Experience was released on March 15, 2013.

10 years ago, Timberlake’s album would have been promoted by his record label, but this year he did some marketing of his own, some that didn’t even exist in his N*Sync days.

What can PR professionals learn from this Mickey Mouse Clubber and N*Syncer?

Timberlake’s “new album The 20/20 Experience sold 980,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan—63% more copies than RCA, Timberlake’s record label, expected, according to Bloomberg Businessweek,” stated Bill Miltenberg.

So, obviously, Timberlake did something right and Miltenberg agrees on 4 lessons:

1) He set up an Instagram account on the 2013 Grammy Awards, the first time he would perform a song from his new album live. He incorporated the hashtag #JTGrammys. According to Miltenberg, “hundreds of thousands of followers within no time” and he only uploads black and white photos to “cement his brand and creates a consistent experience.”

“The PR lesson: Be present and create a consistent feel to your brand’s Instagram presence,” said Miltenberg.

2) Timberlake made a surprise appearance at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

“The PR lesson: Tapping influencers is nothing new for PR pros, but delivering them your news of product or service—especially in a way that makes it feel exclusive to them—can propel your messages to a much greater audience from trusted sources,” said Miltenberg

3) Timberlake uploaded a minute long YouTube video announcing his reappearance in the music world, with the countdown in the video expiring on January 13th at midnight and him breaking the news of his new album.

“The PR lesson: To tease an album, Timberlake used short, sharable Web videos to generate excitement. Teasing your announcements with a video may not be the right fit, but it’s a great way to incorporate video and multimedia content (if nothing else, for SEO purposes),” said Miltenberg.

4) Lastly, Timberlake made an appearance on Twitter promoting his new album, but also tweeting things that showed he was a normal guy.

“The PR lesson: While having influencers and earned media to spread your message is still paramount for many PR pros, brands now need to be able to bring their own messages directly to their audiences via social media. It also helps to personify those behind the brand, and engage with the masses,” said Miltenberg.

Overall lesson: People bought nearly 1,000,000 copies of his new album in the first week it was out. I think he’s on the right track.


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