February 24, 2017

My Brand Journey + 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Rebrand Your Blog or Biz

Note: This post has been updated since it was published. 

I rebranded in December. It's February now, and no, you're not supposed to rebrand every two months. I didn't, though; I changed my domain, and I added a landing page (that I am completely obsessed with and hope you like, too). I like to think of it as two small changes with big implications. Why did I do it? My site was set up as a blog, and my brand is more than a blog. I offer services, which someone might not have known had they visited me at my old domain.

In as few sentences as possible, my brand journey:

In June of last year, I revived an abandoned blog that I'd created in 2014. I called it "The Icing on the Playlist," and I started blogging again because I had a few weeks off between spring semester ending and my summer job beginning and wanted to fill my time with something productive. I'd been an avid blog reader for years, and I wanted to write about baking and music. I didn't intend to promote the blog in any way.

I started writing college-related content because I impulsively created social media accounts and discovered a ton of college-aged bloggers.

I relaunched as Life, Shuffled (RIP) in December because I niched down— from then on, my content would be mostly blogging, creative business, and writing-related. I've since defined my niche even further to cover only these three topics, plus self-improvement on Mondays (and a monthly #MusicMonday) and couldn't be happier with how things have evolved.

I didn't like how my topics were all over the place because I'm a complete control freak, and when I learned that blogging about blogging and business and writing was... a thing, well, I fell in love and jumped right in. I knew that that was what I was supposed to be writing about. I loved LS, and will miss that name, but people who visited my site didn't know what it was that I do. The last thing I wanted was for my name to create confusion or worse, discourage people from clicking around and getting to know me because they had no jumping-off point.

After being a part of the blogging community for some time, I recognized a need that I would never have expected to find in a writing industry. I was reading post after post, and they all sounded the same. Many had basic grammar mistakes, misspellings, and syntactical errors. 

Each creative's personal struggle with writing was masking their uniqueness and stealing their spotlight. 

I love writing, and it hurt to see that people either did not know, or did not care, that they were not using it to tell their best story.

I wanted to change that. I am intimately familiar with the transformative power of a well-written piece with a signature. I wanted to reveal this power to creatives who have not yet discovered it, so they can write the most authentic, unique, and well-written content that they can. So...  in November, I put hours on hours into creating a number of coaching packages and services. I announced the services in December and began branding myself as a writing coach, finally adding a landing page in February as the last nail in my new venture.

I recently came up with five words to describe my brand, and one of them is simply "me." So... enter alexakoch.com. Something I don't have to change, well, ever (except maybe when I get married, as a friend pointed out haha). Maybe I subconsciously knew I'd buy this domain because I changed all of my social handles to my legal name months ago. As for the landing page? Creating one was a hugely impactful change for me because now, when I say that I'm more than a blog, you believe me.

However I choose to evolve, whatever I choose to do... a domain in my name is there. My brand can accommodate whatever falls under that umbrella because my brand is me.

Before you begin rebranding, you need to have a solid rebranding strategy— namely, a list of reasons that you think you should do this in the first place. Rebranding a business or blog is not something that should be done on an impulse.

Ask yourself these five questions before you take the next step and undertake the rebranding process.

+ Is this brand that you've built reflective of you?

I know for a fact that this website, my content, my Instagram feed, my Tweets, my newsletter copy... everything that I've attached to this brand is reflective of me. That's partly why I couldn't give up my hosting platform so easily. My site design looks and feels so "me" that I'm not ready for us to go our separate ways just yet.

+ Is it clear what your objectives are with this brand?

With my old domain and site setup, my brand objectives were not clear. My mission statement was everywhere, but that didn't solve the issue of incoming traffic. What does this domain name mean? Oh, this is a blog. But, as I said, my brand is more than a blog. Your objectives comprise a big chunk of your brand strategy, so make sure they're crystal and connected to your brand.

+ Why do you think you should rebrand now?

If you're only considering a rebrand because it seems that everyone in your circle is doing it, you should reevaluate. If you're bored of your name or design, you should reevaluate. If you've been thinking about rebranding for a while, have a solid business model and strategy, and have been putting off the change because of fear or some other thing holding you back, then you should rebrand, now. See the difference?

Tweet: Before you rebrand your blog or creative biz, you need a sound rebranding strategy. 

Timeliness also depends on the magnitude of your rebrand. Because my rebrand wasn't a "real" rebrand, I felt comfortable making the changes quickly and not hyping it up over the past week. (Fun fact: I actually designed the new logo as part of a project for a class I'm taking, not knowing I'd be using it so soon.)

Changing my domain was a cinch, and reaching out to my template designer about a custom landing page was probably the best thing I could have done for where I am as far as pervasiveness in the community and for what I can afford to invest in my biz/blog.

+ Are people reading/subscribing/buying?

Driving traffic can be difficult, but if you're getting no traffic, and you're doing a lot to drive it (engaging on Facebook, hashtagging on Twitter, pinning to group boards), maybe that's a sign. If you have opt-ins all over your site, or if you offer services, but no one is subscribing or emailing you about working together... maybe that's a sign. A sign you need to step back and evaluate your brand.

  • Who is your ideal reader/subscriber/client?
  • Is it clear how it is that you can help them/what the value you offer them is? 
  • Is your website conducive to that brand clarity?

Consider your answers to those questions. They should reveal some answers. If you perceive that your brand is unclear as to who it targets, maybe you should rebrand. If no one is engaging with you, maybe it's because they don't know who you are or what it is you do.

+ Where do you want your brand to be three months from now?

Six? A year? Can you get there with your existing brand? If your goals don't align with where your brand is at, or where you see it going, you need to look at your brand strategy and determine whether it can be altered to accommodate your goals or if rebranding is your best option. 

Tell me about your brand journey!

Post a Comment

Insta @_alexakoch

© Alexa Koch | Writing Coach. Design by Fearne.