Believe it or not, it’s common for bloggers to contemplate changing their site name at some point during the lifespan of their blog. Often, the names we selected when we first started out no longer represent us or the work we do. But, making the switch can feel so daunting! Blogger and social media consultant Clara Artschwager recently went through the process of changing the name of her blog and going through a complete re-brand. Today, she walks us through the steps she took to manage the process, and why she decided to make such a big change in the first place. Take it away, Clara!
My reasons for starting a blog back in January of 2011 had nothing to do with why I blog today. At the time I was working as an event planner at a company in Washington, D.C. I was relatively uninspired in my day job, but couldn’t leave because I was holding out for a promotion and moving back to New York that summer. So I started a blog called Channeling Contessa, aptly named because I was a passionate eater and at home cook, and loved the Barefoot Contessa.
That first year the site purely served as a creative outlet; a place for me to post what I was cooking and eating. Even though I never anticipated it would amount to much (2011 felt very late to start dabbling in the blogging game), I worked diligently to constantly improve the quality. I invested in a nice camera, taught myself how to take better food photos, networked online like mad, and began to expand the content to other lifestyle areas. In addition, when I moved to NYC in the summer of 2011, I began working for myself, which made it much easier to devote more time to the blog. In many ways 2011 was the seed year, and in 2012 things really took off. I landed some major press, my audience more than tripled in size, and the blog really began to serve as a marketing platform for my work.
Even though I had a dedicated page on my blog which listed my business services, a separate business website, and several blog posts which explained my role as a social and digital marketing and branding strategist, more often than not my entire persona was wrapped up in food. This was financially beneficial in many ways, as it opened doors to sponsored content and allowed me to become a part of several magazine’s blogger networks. But being seen as a food blogger or being mistaken as a food stylist long term, was working against me, not for me. I always saw blogging as simply a component of my brand (not the sole thing), and as a conduit to something else.
Furthermore, my brand was so tied to someone else’s brand! I remember a trusted mentor saying to me back in 2012, “When are you going to get her brand out of your brand?” Her words stopped me dead in my tracks. It was so true. Ina Garten would always own the term “contessa,” the site wasn’t directly reflective of me or my client services, and it wasn’t serving to most effectively grow my business. I knew I needed to make the switch, not only in the name, look, and feel of my brand, but in the overall nature of the site. The blog needed to become somewhat secondary.
My business was already called Clara Persis, so it made sense to bring everything under that brand. Also, after reading various articles, books, and resources on the method of naming a business, I felt it would be best to go with my name (Clara is my first, Persis is my middle). It had the most longevity, and was unique to me. It couldn’t be anyone else’s brand. I teamed up with the wildly talented designer Erika Bretchel in the summer of 2012 to work to bring that brand to life. Five months later we launched clarapersis.com, with the blog simply becoming the Clara Persis blog.
I suppose my biggest regret was not making the transition sooner, because this brand not only feels much more true to me, but has really empowered my business- it’s grown significantly because of it. That said, so much of working for yourself is learning as you go, accepting that you’re going to make mistakes, and recognizing things always take longer than you think. The process of designing and building the site taught me so much about what it means to build a brand, as well as what it means to maintain it. A brand is a living, breathing thing; in a way, it’s never complete. The new site has really opened my eyes to other ways in which I can work to constantly improve the external representation of my brand and best leverage it to grow my work, whether that be in the form of video content, new copy, site features, and so forth. The reality is that will be an ongoing feeling and effort for the rest of my career. But as it should be! A key lesson to be learned for any business owner.
I loved learning about Clara’s journey and actually found her insights so helpful on a very personal level too. Let’s hear from you guys — have you ever contemplated changing the name of your blog and business? What stopped you from doing so? If you did go through with it, was your experience similar to Clara’s? And if you decided to stick with your name, what made you decide to do so?