If you’ve concluded you really need to leave behind who you are and the writer you’ve been, and transition to a completely new look, feel, tone, and type of writing, you’re going to rebrand yourself.
You have options for how to go about it.
Ways to Rebrand: Trial Run
We’ve already discussed starting with a trial run, which often leads to integrating the new brand with the existing brand.
During the trial run, you have time to experiment before fully committing yourself—in fact, you could still back out and return to your existing brand if you don’t like how it sounds and feels, and you can’t imagine this focus for the next few years.
Ways to Rebrand: Integrate
But at some point, let’s say you decide to move forward and follow through. When you decide to keep the old and add in the new, that’s a way to rebrand by integration. Instead of completely changing, you actually absorb and expand.
Ways to Rebrand: Slow Transition
Now we’re diving into total change—the true pivot. When you leave it all behind, you can do it right away—suddenly—or you can transition over time. When you take your time rebranding, I think of that as a slow transition.
If you’re the type to pull a Band-Aid off in millimeter increments, stretching out the process over several minutes of tiny tugs instead of ripping it off all at once, this might be a good fit for you.
It might also be for you if you know your readers hate surprises—and you hate pulling the rug out from under them.
Time to Adjust
The slow transition eases your readers into this new you. And it gives them time to adjust to the idea that you’re changing—that eventually you’ll discontinue their favorite articles, posts, and tweets (or whatever) that you’re known for. They get a taste of what’s coming before the full shift takes place.
With the slow transition, readers have time to prepare, to find other writers offering similar content or styles, to adjust to the idea of life without your signature words and tone. As you slowly shift from the old brand to the new—when it’s clear what’s happening—you might even recommend to your readers other writers and authors who are similar to you and your style.
Personal Rebranding: First, Integrate, Then…
I’ve mentioned before that my website content was much less focused in the past. I wrote random stories about family and faith and eventually food. When I added food, those articles integrated with the existing brand, so readers never really felt a shocking jolt.
I continued with that kind of content for years on my personal website. In addition, I served on the editorial team of two online organizations.
I taught composition and creative writing and coached speech once a week to high school students.
I led writing workshops.
I wrote another book.
I became a writing coach.
A friend and mentor nudged me to focus my website on that and that alone. If I did that, it meant my core me—my core brand—would have to change. It meant I’d have to rebrand.
I was nervous. I hate making people upset. And I definitely hate pulling the rug out from under someone.
Shifting to Slow Transition
So I did it in stages, in a slow transition.
My tagline “Ann Kroeker, Writer” shifted first to “Ann Kroeker: Writing Coach, Editor, Friend.” About a year later, I dropped “Editor” and “Friend,” which my son thought was hysterical because it implied I wasn’t a friend anymore.
My brand became, simply: Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach.
It was a slow process, but I rebranded.
Rebranding Aftermath: Readers Decide to Stay, Linger, or Leave
And all those readers who followed me because I posted recipes on Friday witnessed the slow change.
Instead of waking up one Friday and finding me basically gone—suddenly become a writing coach—wondering what in the world happened, they could see the content shifting. I even said as much at one point—I let them know I was stepping into my role of writing coach not just on the side but online.
It gave them time to adjust. Or leave. Or make whatever decision they felt they needed to given this new me.
Some people stayed because they were food bloggers and thus identified as writers. Perhaps a writing coach could give them helpful input for their blogging efforts?
Some people stayed because they were my friends and apparently didn’t take offense when I dropped the “Friend” designation in my tagline.
Some people stayed for a while, to figure out if this was a permanent thing or if the recipes were ever coming back.
Some people left right away. They knew a writing coach wasn’t what they needed, so they “unsubscribed” from my newsletters. They stopped showing up at my website. They didn’t follow my writing coach Facebook page.
I guess I starved them with my writing posts.
No more recipes, no more interest.
And that’s fine. It really is. I committed to rebranding. I gave them time to find other food bloggers they could follow. I wasn’t writing family updates any longer. Food was no longer my focus. I left behind the old brand and replaced it with the new. I did so in increments, making those tiny little changes over time. I wrote fewer and fewer family posts and added content about writing.
Sometimes I’d find a way to create overlap, like when I wrote about writing in the midst of motherhood I kind of combined writing and parenting. I stopped publishing recipes, but one time I wrote about types of food that can increase brainpower and creative focus.
I slowly transitioned to the point where it was clear I was absolutely done with the old brand. I was ready to serve writers.
Rebranding Benefits: Serving New Readers, Too
Though old readers left, new people showed up.
Readers who didn’t even know I used to write about blueberry muffins and pizza crust joined my email list. Writers would discover my content through a social media share and find a writing coach who offered tips and encouragement. Listeners would tune into my podcast and feel inspired to return to their novel with renewed vision.
I rebranded—slowly, but completely.
My new brand stuck, and here we are.
Rebranding to the New You
Rebranding is a big decision. It’s risky to follow through. But when I finally focused completely on serving writers, it felt right and good and true. I felt like I stepped into not just the new me, but the true me.
If you decide to rebrand, at whatever rate you choose—fast or slow, partially or completely—I hope you step into your truest self.
- Posts about Author Brand
- Write in the Midst of Motherhood
- Ep 136: What Do I Write Next – Enjoy Your Vein of Gold
- Ep 137: What Do I Write Next – Experiment and Expand Your Repertoire
- Ann’s Patreon account
- All podcast episodes
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