Learning When To Pivot In Your Brand
As you probably already know, I’ve made some big shifts in my brand over the past year.
I stopped focusing so much on my blog and now my main platform is YouTube.
I stopped talking about blogging tips and Pinterest strategies, and again… my main focus is YouTube tips.
Instead of becoming a blogger who focused on creating online courses, I decided to take a different approach to my paid products.
And even more recently, I’ve started to incorporate more lifestyle content into my brand while also sharing information based videos.
If we take it back to the very beginning, there have been a ton of necessary changes that I’ve made.
I really didn’t know what this brand of mine would become.
And I’m happy that I gave myself the flexibility to bend, shift, and completely jump when I needed to.
If I would have stuck to my original vision, I don’t think I would be nearly as happy with my brand.
Nor would I be this successful with it!
So today, I just want to talk about when to pivot.
How I knew to make the changes that I’ve made, why I made them, and the effect it had on my growth.
Let’s get into it!
MY ORIGINAL GOAL
I created my blog back in 2016.
And at the time, I was looking for a way to make my life better.
I was in a dark place, hated just about everything, and wanted to find a way to actually enjoy my everyday life.
Which meant finding a career that I honestly loved!
Or creating a career for myself that I honestly loved.
So I started my blog.
And in the beginning, I just thought that I was going to share digital marketing information with bloggers.
I was working in the digital marketing industry and I felt like I had a lot of knowledge to share with people who wanted to do it themselves.
Most bloggers don’t have the resources to hire a digital marketing agency to do their SEO or design their website.
So I wanted to share the information that I knew and present it in a way that could truly help bloggers to master the online world on their own.
Now in the back of my head, I knew that my main goal with my blog was to create a life that I loved.
Of course, I wanted to help bloggers, but that was just another benefit of the whole thing!
My main focus was myself, improving my life, and making a career out of just creating.
THE FIRST SHIFT
In the beginning, I was really embarrassed about what I was doing and afraid of what people would think.
(If you’re in the same spot and want to hear more about my journey with that, watch this IGTV.)
I didn’t include my face on anything. Not my website or Instagram.
I decided to go by TheContentBug that way no one would know it was me.
Looking back, I wish I would have been confident enough in my idea to just have my brand be named after myself.
But the first big change I made with my brand was including more of me in my content.
I started to share my face.
I changed the header image on my website to be a photo of myself.
And I took my content from just educational, here are the facts, to more so here are my thoughts, what I’ve been able to do for my own blog, and how you can use these strategies to grow yours too!
Why I Made This Change
I was very confused about the identity of my brand from the beginning.
I didn’t take the time to nail down a plan with who my target audience was, what content I wanted to share, what was my messaging going to be, or even the simple brand design things like my logo, colors, etc.
Instead, I jumped right in headfirst.
And that caused a lot of confusion later on.
So for the first few months, I did a lot of research on other successful bloggers.
I looked at their website, read blog posts, attended webinars, signed up for free courses, and really just tried to learn what made them successful.
And one thing that I noticed with every blogger I looked at was that they were upfront with who they were.
None of them tried to hide their face.
They were their brand.
From working in the digital marketing industry, I knew that connection was so so important.
So slowly, I started to share more and more photos of me.
And now, you guys know that I am 100% my brand!
I don’t try to hide anything lol.
The Effect It Had
Honestly, if you’re in the same spot, worried about what people will think and afraid to show your face, my best advice for you is to rip the bandaid off!
People will think whatever they want to think.
But you’re holding yourself back just because you’re worried about others’ opinions.
And honestly, those people that will think negatively about it, you shouldn’t be friends with them anyway!
Find people that lift you up. Not tear you down!
When I made this change, there wasn’t an immediate reaction.
You know it’s not like it spiked my growth like crazy.
But what I will say is that I started to create honest relationships with my audience.
We became friends. And there are many people that have followed me from the beginning that I know by name.
Connection… It’s everything!
Especially if you’re trying to grow an audience online.
I only follow a select few people on Instagram and the ones that I do follow, it’s because I like who they are as a person.
It’s not because they share the most amazing content I’ve ever seen.
It’s about them.
And that’s huge.
THE SECOND SHIFT
Honestly, I’ve made a lot of shifts in my content and brand over the years.
But the second big shift that I distinctly remember is when I decided to include more personal development content into the mix.
For so long I was just talking about how to grow a blog with SEO, Pinterest, you name it.
I only shared tips and tricks, things that worked for me, and honest strategies.
Until one day I had a realization that there is so much more that goes into it then strategies!
You first need to decide that you want to start a blog, overcome your limiting beliefs, and learn to master the art of stepping outside of your comfort zone.
It was because of this change in my content strategy that I started to take my YouTube channel more seriously.
At the time, I think I only had 1 video live on my YouTube channel.
I wasn’t sure what videos I wanted to create.
And I really wasn’t sure if I wanted to take YouTube on as another content platform.
But I decided to launch a series called Create Your Success Online.
And with that series, I committed to launching 1 blog post and 1 YouTube video a week that talked about the personal development side of being successful online.
Why I Made This Change
Really there were 2 big changes here: I started to share more personal development content and I started to take my YouTube channel seriously.
Now I already explained why I wanted to share more personal development information.
So let’s talk about YouTube.
With my blog as my main platform, I felt like I was still missing an opportunity to connect with my audience.
Don’t get me wrong, blogs are great.
But there’s still a barrier there.
It’s like reading a text message thinking it means one thing when really the person that sent it meant something completely different.
There is a lot left up to interpretation.
And with video, I feel like you can create a much stronger connection with someone!
I was already talking on Instagram stories at the time. And I loved that!
So YouTube was just another way to use video content to my advantage.
Little did I know that getting started on YouTube was one of my best ideas yet!
The Effect That It Had
Just like the first shift, getting started on YouTube didn’t have an immediate effect.
But if you’re reading this now, then you probably know just how powerful YouTube has been for my brand.
YouTube started out as an additional creative outlet.
It was a new challenge. And I really loved creating videos even though I was NOT good at it in the beginning lol.
But over time, I learned how to use the YouTube algorithm.
I niched down and stopped talking about personal development stuff.
My main focus was on blogging and Pinterest tips.
And honestly, this did well for me!
I noticed that connection build with my audience again.
I gained a new core audience on YouTube, who again, I still know by name!
Then… the most recent big shift happened.
THE THIRD SHIFT
Again, there were soooo many changes that I made in my brand over the past 3.5 years. But I just want to talk about the big ones.
So in my mind, shift #3 was when I started talking about YouTube on YouTube and I moved my focus from blogging to creating videos.
Here’s why I made this change…
Why I Made This Change
I launched one video on my channel where I shared my experience with getting monetized.
To be completely honest, I thought nothing of it!
I had shared with my YouTube following that it was a goal of mine. And they honestly helped me to reach that goal!
So I wanted to share when it finally happened.
Well, a month later that video started to blow up.
RELATED: My YouTube Channel Went Viral
And I had watched videos from other YouTubers that grew quickly and all of them said the trick was to create similar videos to the one that was doing well.
So… I started to talk more about YouTube!
And the more I grew, the more I wanted to share my experience.
What I had learned, what was happening.
Really, I wanted to keep you guys in the loop with what was going on and how you could possibly do it yourself!
Again, this goes back to infusing my own experience into the tips and strategies I was sharing.
I had proof that what I was doing was making a difference and helping me to grow.
And I wanted to share!
The Effect That It Had
Well, if you found me because of my YouTube channel, then you already know that this change made a huge impact on my brand.
Unlike the first 2 changes, this one had an immediate reaction.
I started to grow like crazy on the platform.
And because of the growth within my YouTube channel, my blog and Instagram started to grow as well.
So, I stopped focusing on my blog and Pinterest.
And all my energy was thrown into my YouTube channel!
Looking back, if I would have stuck to only talking about Pinterest and blogging, I think I really would have held myself back.
Not only on the growth side of things. But also personally!
I’ve learned so much, I’ve pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and truly grown as a person because of this simple shift.
HOW TO KNOW WHEN TO SHIFT
So here’s the thing.
From the very beginning, I knew that if I wanted to grow and create a long-lasting success for myself, then I needed to be willing to make changes.
I think there are a lot of people that hold themselves back because they are so focused on their original vision.
They have a plan in their head and they will do anything to stick to it!
Where in my case, I was willing to go with what was thrown my way.
And even now, I get questions about what the future of my brand looks like.
When I have kids, will my content be focused on them?
Will I be talking about YouTube forever?
And will I ever go back to sharing Pinterest and blogging tips?
To be 100% real with you, I have no idea!
I may be called back into the world of blogging tips.
And when I do have kids, I’m sure they will be a part of my content.
But I can’t say that they will be all of my content!
There isn’t a way to know for sure.
And I really think there is power in just going with the flow, changing when you feel called to change, but always doing what you think is right for you.
WHEN YOU SHOULDN’T SHIFT
Here’s what I will say though… you shouldn’t make a big change if you don’t think it’s right for YOU!
There are many things that I could do that would be great for my brand.
And they may lead to more subscribers or more money.
But for me, I created this brand with the original goal in mind to make myself happy.
I wanted to create a life that I loved.
And if I sold my soul just to make a little more money, then I would be going against that goal.
So when you’re faced with the opportunity to make a change, be sure to evaluate if this change is right for you.
Does it push you in the direction that you want to go?
If it scares you, that’s a good thing! But if it makes you cringe, then walk away.
One thing that I’ve learned through this journey is that my gut knows best.
Trust yourself to make the right decision.
And know that everything happens for a reason.
Cathrin (Cath) creates content that encourages bloggers & online entrepreneurs to be themselves, chase their passion, and create their success online. 1 year after starting her blog (TheContentBug.com), Cath left her full-time position working in the digital marketing industry to pursue her dreams of being her own boss. In weekly YouTube videos, sporadic blog posts, and constant talking on Instagram stories, Cath hopes to spread her story and be an inspiration to others who desperately want to change their lives.