Ep 159: Ways to Rebrand Yourself as a Writer – Slow Transition
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.