I’m interested in taking my personal brand in a new direction. What should I do first, especially if I want to bring my current following with me?

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

1. Understand Why You’re Changing Your Brand

Dig into WHY you want to move away from what you’re doing. After you have your strong why, connect with your current following and talk to them about your why. Let them know about the changes. How will they be affected? Will it be better? Be clear and communicate the change. You will lose some people, and that’s OK since you are moving to a better you. – Jen Brown, The Engaging Educator

2. Hone Your Voice

When you’re developing your personal brand or changing the direction of an existing one, you should start with developing your voice. How do you want to be perceived? What is your brand messaging? Once you know what your voice will be, it will be easier to build your website, social media channels and blogs. – Kristin Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC

3. Expand Your Scope

Take a moment to evaluate why you want to make the change and how your new scope is going to meet the needs of your current followers. For example, if you are Elon Musk, you’ve moved on from PayPal but that doesn’t mean you aren’t using technology to improve the lives of others. Stay engaged with your existing followers as you broaden the scope of your brand to prevent dilution. – Tim Chaves, ZipBooks Accounting Software

4. Go Behind the Scenes of Your Life Changes

Taking your personal brand in a new direction means that you are moving in a new direction, and chances are your followers would love to get a behind-the-scenes look at your transformation. To that end, always be honest and open with your journey so that your followers get to really understand and love who you are. That way, they’ll continue being your fans no matter how much you change. – Peter Kozodoy, GEM Advertising

5. Build an Email List

One of the first things you’ll want to do is build an email list to let your followers know what you’re up to. You can do this by adding opt-in forms to your website and blog posts. Once you have an impressive email list, you’ll want to start segmenting it based on actions taken on your site to increase open rates. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

6. Focus on What Makes You Different

In simple marketing terms, focus on your unique selling proposition. Determine what sets you apart from your competitors because that’s what your current following will remember. Build on what makes you different, and focus on building a strategy that can help you leverage that difference. – Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns

7. Reach Out to Other Entrepreneurs for Advice

Make a slight adjustment to your content strategy so you reach a new audience without leaving your current one behind. Continue to interact with your current following no matter what other efforts you undertake. Reach out to other entrepreneurs in your niche to see what they’ve done as far as rebranding. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

8. Give Your Current Followers a Heads Up

Earlier this year, I changed directions with my brand and I had to let everyone know beforehand. I wanted to ensure they knew I was switching over. Then I wanted to see if they would follow me there before I made the official switch. After I received the consent from my top fans, I made the switch. It was peaceful to know that my fan base was going to come with me. – Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

9. Let Them Learn With You

Becoming a completely different person overnight would not be good for your image (or sanity). The best approach is to begin tiptoeing into the water you want to swim toward. Aggregate third-party articles, express your curiosity and let them watch you learn more about your expertise. This type of process makes the connection even stronger regardless of how drastic your new positioning may be. – Logan Lenz, PartsMarket

10. Make the Transition a Step-by-Step Process

Your fans follow you because of who you are right now, so don’t try to become something else overnight. Gradually introduce your changes. Give your fans a teaser, then an announcement, then content related to your new direction. Lead your followers step by step until a significant number of them are comfortable with where you are going. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors


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