My promise as a blogger is to be transparent about any subject matter, and my recent rebrand is no exception. Many readers see the before and after look of rebrands, but rarely get to see what goes on behind-the-scenes in order to prepare themselves for the same process. Well, no more!
As a sequel to my blog post last week on how to rock your rebrand, I decided to ask some of my awesome followers on Twitter what they wish they knew about the rebranding process. Totally honest questions with totally honest answers. Let's start.
@kayla_hollatz How can a blogger strategically re-brand and not lose initial audience?
— Briea Curington (@BriCurington) July 9, 2014
This was something I was initially nervous about. Okay, let's be honest, really nervous about. No blogger or business owner wants to think about losing the audience they've worked so hard to build. Although this was naturally a worry of mine, it shouldn't have been as big of one.
What helped me was that prior to my rebrand, I focused on making authentic connections with my readers through social media channels. My readers stayed with me not necessarily because of my content, but because they felt connected to me. I took the time to build a community that supported me, regardless of the direction I was headed in. This made it a lot easier for me to rebrand because I knew my readers just wanted to see me passionate about what I was writing about, and now I am again.
Here are a few things you can do during your rebrand that can help you not only keep your initial audience, but help you grow your readership further.
- Keep your readers in the loop about your brand. Post important updates on your social media channels. It will create some healthy suspense and get your audience really excited about what's to come.
- Let your readers feel like they are a part of the process. I'm a huge believer in this. Wondering about what categories your readers want to read blog posts about or what services they would be interested in? Who better to ask than your readers? Reach out to those you admire through social media, email, any way that works best for you.
- Offer incentives for readers who stick around. It's human nature to respond to incentives. Offer a giveaway of your services or feature readers in a blog post to give them exposure.
Don't let the fear of losing your initial audience keep you from rebranding. When you share how passionate you are about your rebrand and ensure your readers how excited you are about it, they are sure to stay with you in your online journey.
@kayla_hollatz How to keep the 'random' (not always consistant) followers following after a rebrand!!
— Rachel (@rgord) July 9, 2014
This can be tricky, but there are a few hacks that might help you with these more random followers.
- If you have random followers on just one or a few of your social media channels that you don't want to lose, be sure to let them know what your new username is. Also, you can go through your old list of followers and follow them on your new account if you wish to start over. Communication is key!
- One place where I have random followers is on Bloglovin and this is pretty common. I was originally worried about losing those followers I had under exPRessionPR because my domain name was changing, but I was able to transfer all of them over easily and quickly. You can learn more about this process here.
I would suggest you focus more on keeping the consistent followers because they keep coming back and will bring you consistent blog traffic.
@kayla_hollatz I'm in the process of rebranding... so what I want to know is, what does it feel like to know you discovered your brand?
— emily vontom (@emilyvontom) July 10, 2014
This is a big question. My first instinct is to say "Who ever really knows if they've truly discovered their brand?" I think we are all constantly rediscovering our brands. As we grow, our brand will naturally grow as well.
I think a lot of brand discovery has to do with trial and error. What feels right? I always follow my gut and listen to what my instincts are telling me. Follow where your passions are taking you.
I think the best brands welcome evolution. Your audience will continue to look for different things from you, so growing with your audience's needs will determine your success. Good luck with discovering your own! I think it's a lifetime process, but at least it's an exciting one that keeps us on our toes!
@kayla_hollatz what inspired you to rebrand? how long was your rebranding journey?
— Lauren (@PRGirlLO) July 10, 2014
I shared a part of my rebrand story previously, but long story short, I was feeling uninspired with exPRessionPR for two months. I kept getting ideas for blog posts, but quickly was deflated when I realized they didn't fit my current brand at all.
Along with graduating next semester (WEE!), I've started to think about what life will look like when I enter post-grad life. Since I will likely try to secure a job in the PR or marketing field, to blog about it when I come home after work every day about the same subject meant one thing for me - burnout.
I fall into the life of a workaholic a bit too easily, so I knew my blog needed to change to support the work-life balance I want to create. It gives me an excuse to blog about all the creative things I'm passionate about but still keep the community of both professionals in my field and beyond. To me, it's the best of both worlds. I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner. It just feels like the perfect fit.
It took me two months of uncertainty to commit to rebranding. I then started the brainstorming process for about two weeks before I hired my blog designer, Mo. We spent about a month in the design making small tweaks here and there to be sure everything was right by the time we launched.
The big takeaway is that every blogger's timeline is different. Follow what feels natural to you.
@kayla_hollatz How do you find balance between consistency for your reader & wanting to rebrand your site?I.e. how important is consistency?
— Paige Vaughn (@PRGirlPaige) July 10, 2014
@kayla_hollatz If your content is changing would you keep a similar aesthetic? Is keeping some familiarity a good idea?
— Hannah I Lewis (@alittlevoice) July 10, 2014
Since these two questions from Paige and Hannah above are very similar, I'm going to answer them both together. Consistency is big, but shouldn't take over your entire process. There are certain things you can keep consistent without sacrificing your new vision for your rebrand. For me, I kept the same two fonts, my post signature created by the lovely Gera, my accent color, and a similar aesthetic. What you keep consistent is completely up to you.
One of the greatest (but more overlooked) places for consistency is showcasing what hasn't changed - the person behind the brand, aka YOU! Use headshots your readers recognize from your previous brand. Faces are powerful branding tools. Once your readers see you're behind the new name, they will put the pieces together.
@kayla_hollatz For someone who gets tired of things fast, how often is too often to add subtle facelifts?
— Megan Newton (@_megannewton) July 10, 2014
You are speaking my language. I am known for growing tired of things quickly. I think it comes with the creative territory. First, know that you are not alone.
I think it's better to focus your energy on improving some of the smaller things. Rather than feeling bored with your website and feeling you need a new design every month, revamp other parts of your brand. Give a facelift to your email newsletter or start a new column. Add a new about page graphic and tweak your sidebar copy. The possibilities are endless.
Becoming passionate about another area of your brand will shift your focus without raising confusion. See what sticks and what doesn't. There's always more to optimize, so just have fun with it!
Do you have any questions on rebranding or have anything to add to the questions above? I would love to answer your questions and hear your insight in the comment section below!