Someone who has known me since my early Indy podcaster days said that I'm the one person he knows in the space who keeps rebranding and it’s not hurt me. I think a large part of this is that I view all of this work as an experiment, which means that I know things will change and grow, by keeping my audience in the loop during all changes.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s exhausting to be constantly changing but I’m not about to stop growing because it’s time consuming. Like you, I’m a lifelong learner, in and out of the podcast space.
So in this very personal case study I’d like to share with you some of the things I do to keep my followers, my people!, in the loop when I shift things around. Specifically, when I rebranded the Coffeelike Media Substack with nearly 900 subscribers involved.
This is NOT an extensive list because I’m not organized enough to keep a list while I’m doing all this. Nor do I want to be. Communicating is my top goal: not lists. Although I do have a soft spot for them.
Last year I had 2 newsletters: Global Podcast Editors for podcast service providers and Podcast To Connect (now a part of this newsletter) for small business owners. For a variety of reasons, I stopped both and had a rethink.
What I was doing in my business was not covered enough in either of these two projects.
Some thought I was just a marketer but I wasn’t. I was actually a Podcast Editor who knew how to talk to people online. To make things clearer, I started the Coffeelike Media newsletter.
I never restarted the GPE newsletter up again (which despite being inactive for a year is still getting new subscribers, proof of my long tail organic marketing tactics if I may say so myself!) In fact, I even moved all of the GPE Substack subscribers over to the Coffeelike newsletter. This newsletter that has a VERY different purpose than the GPE one of sharing tips and tricks for podcast editing business and technical tips. And look at this, a lot of the subs stayed after the move (as can be seen from the above open Substack open rate). Yes, there were some unsubscribes but nothing compared to what I thought would happen.
There were about 890 subscribers when I made the shift. There were some unsubscribes and then some new subscriptions. Ultimately, I sunsetted the newsletter in February 2023, not because of the rebranding but because I had achieved all that I needed to with the project.
That's the thing, we do NOT have to do the same thing forever with our content marketing.
Followers will follow us from project to project if we give them the opportunity to do so.
How I handled the newsletter switch. I....:
I went through active and inactive periods on LinkedIn. My favorite platform was Twitter, pre-X. But I’m off there now for many reasons. I’m forever experimenting with Instagram but have never made a genuine connection there. But I have on LinkedIn, so I’ve been channeling my announcements and value driven posts to this platform since I left Twitter/X in early 2023.
These efforts paid off. All my stats increased and more importantly, my DMs and comments on my posts are increased too (not numbers I know how to find on LI. If you know where they are, please let me know.)
So as I was rebranding, I also shared the bumps and successes. Sometimes the posts were long and sometimes they were short. Okay, they were mostly long. But I included coffee images for good measure and asked genuine questions that I wanted answers to. Because I’m talking to other small business owners. Social media is a place for me to connect, so I’m trying to start conversations, you know?
Here's a quick snapshot of my LinkedIn analytics during he rebranding.
Making this focus shift helped me rethink the Coffeelike podcast as well.
The Coffeelike podcast started as Meet Your Podcast Editor in November 2022 during National Podcast Post Month. The 30 episodes in 30 days explains the spike you see over on the left side of this podcast download graph.
It wasn’t long after these 30 days that I realized I wanted a content shift for the podcast. But my move to Denmark happened in early 2023 and, well, life.
I did a LIVE recording of a new episode with David of Beyond The Thesis and decided to keep it monthly for now. Before that it was a chat with KO Meyers of Role Factory and Rebecca L. Weber of The Writing Coach. By focusing on small business owners I was finding a new direction for the podcast itself: I was talking with folks in different niches about their connection wins and struggles.
The thing is, if it were just the podcast alone, I’d have stopped it ages ago.(As of February 2024, these episodes are no longer available online. Another year, another experiment/rebranding).
I’ve made enough podcast episodes in the past 7 years. My portfolio is extensive (I didn’t say amazing, some of the early stuff is rough!). And I’m constantly creating new ones with my client work. So technically, I don’t need to keep going with my own podcast.
But the live recording element, the weekly newsletter, the LinkedIn conversations and the feedback from all of you with all of this: it energizes me. I enjoy making them. It's the least work feeling work of all I do.
It’s not just about reaching more people, although that’s a huge part of this strategy.
It’s about feeling connected.
Like people are processing what you’re doing and interacting with it.
THAT is where the beauty of multiple platforms are!
Things I did while the podcast future was uncertain:
And of course, probably the messiest component of the Coffeelike ecosystem was the YouTube channel because I like to create my own content (especially LIVE recordings) but don't always want to organize them. But this turned out to be a great experimental playground where I learned how to optimize podcast YouTube channels, even static image ones.
There was also a spike during the 30 days of episode in November (not shown below) but then also a slump. But because of the recent episodes and Growth Session teasers I’ve been doing as lives, the channel came back to life until I ended the project. I know that 95 views doesn’t seem like a lot but like you, I’m not on YouTube to become a fulltime YouTuber for a living. I’m there to connect and find my good fit clients. With that in mind, having 95 views in the past month feels great. A good base to start building consistent, helpful content again to help small business owners with their podcast ecosystem.
Future plans to clean up the Coffeelike YouTube channel were:
So there you have it. That's my overview of how I rebrand my projects while keeping the audience along for the ride.
Staying in constant communication with my followers, sharing my missteps and successes, leaning into publishing is better than perfection and staying on track with my main goal: connections. These are the things that I think have helped me keep moving forward even while changing my business over the past year (and actually before that too). I hope this helps you with any rebranding you’re working on.
Ironicaly, it's early 2024 when I'm updating this case study and I'm rebranding the Coffeelike podcast/YouTube/Substack once again. I'll be doing all of the above tasks as I go to keep everyone updated. What will the new focus be? Well, I can't share that until it's live, now can I?
Follow along here: coffeelike.substack.com/