‘Free Britney’ and the power of the media

By Rachel Reva

What the Free Britney movement can teach business owners about the power of the media…

In case you have been living under a rock, pop singer Britney Spears has been the focus of some media coverage last year.

For more than a decade, Britney Spears, one of the best know pop stars of the 2000s, was placed under a conservatorship, which means she doesn’t have control over her own financial or legal affairs. Instead, her father, Jamie Spears, has acted as conservator and had the power to make decision on his daughter’s behalf.

As a publicity strategist, I have followed this story with much interest. Because this one story has kept coming back to the spotlight over 10 years – namely because of one thing: media.

Not just any media.

Media by people.

A hashag #freebritney. A podcast called britneysgram. A fan video pleading for people to ‘leave Britney alone’. Groupies protesting at court appearances holding ‘Free Britney’ signs. Inevitably, the Britney story kept making headlines – because people cared.

As a business owner, this story can teach us 3 things about the power of the media (and how you can use it for your business):

1. The media can still be used for good. In today’s world, there is a lot of negativity towards the media. A lot of fear and general weariness towards media companies, but this story reminds us all of the univeral truth: the media can be used for good. This one story, just by keeping it in the headlines has led to a change in the formal conservatorship. Even if you don’t care about a celebrity sob story, it has brought attention to what can happen when families get involved in conservatorships.

This story isn’t just about Britney. It’s about freedom. It has brought attention to the many issues that convervatorship can have in families. Would this change have happened without the media coverage? Doubt it. Hooray for the media doing some good in the world.

2. Your voice matters. Whether its a hashtag you start on twitter, a video you post on instagram, a blog you write or a podcast you create – you matter. Your message matters. If there is something you care about, that enrages you, upsets you, you feel is wrong, you can absolutely do something about it. The media game has changed. You don’t need to wait for a TV network to cover the story, you can create the network yourself. You can use your smart phone and create a media movement just by sharing your point of view.

3. People get behind a purpose. When you start sharing the purpose behind what you are doing, people get on board. We love stories. As humans, we need stories to feel connected. Share your stories. Not just the pretty ones. When Britney ‘got real’ about what was really going on, and shared her vulnerabilities, the outpouring of public support was enormous. Don’t just showcase the ‘highlight’ reels in your business. Use your own social media channels to share the things you care about as a business owner, the things that make you angry, the reasons behind WHY you do what you do.

In the words of Brene Brown: “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

The media is a powerful medium – that can transform a person’s life, inform the public and help you create the impact you desire to have you in your business. Use it. Your followers are longing for something to care about next.


Rachel Reva is a publicity strategist, published author of ‘Grit, Grace and Hustle: A faith gal’s guide to authentic success’ and founder of the coaching and consulting company Life On Her Terms  Media. You can hear Rachel’s coaching inspiration series Coffee and Faith every Tuesday on Rhema 99.7FM. 

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