As time goes on, most people find that their tastes change, and their styles or interests evolve. Think of what you were like at 19, 25 and so on; I’m sure you’ll see the different ways you’ve grown over time. Even mainstream artists make major changes, from George Clooney to Lady Gaga — and yes, even the Queen B herself, Beyonce.

As an online content creator, you may reach a point where rebranding is necessary to keep things fresh and produce engaging content. Yet switching things up and creating something new can be challenging, especially when your fans have certain expectations about your content. It’s all about balance — knowing when to stick with the old and when to introduce the new. If you’ve been feeling ready for a rebrand but nervous about taking those initial steps, we’ve got you covered.

Adding new styles and content to your work in small doses is essential so your fans can adjust to the changes.

Be Honest With Your Fans

It’s a lot of work creating content, but it’s even harder if it’s content you no longer enjoy creating. You may have ideas for reinventing yourself, but worry about losing existing fans. One thing to remember is that the fans are there for you, just as much as they are there for your content. Start by showing your audience the “new you” and your unique focus. Being honest with your fans about the changes you’re making to your content is key. After all, they started following you for a reason and won’t appreciate being blindsided.

Creating posts about the changes in advance will help you be open with your audience and give them time to get used to your new direction. In a blog post or video, explain why you are changing and how it will affect the types of content you create. This will ease the transition help you stay on their good side.

Developing a backlog of content in your new style or genre can also be beneficial, since you need a buffer for vacations, illness or other unexpected interruptions, and your older content may no longer be consistent with your rebranded image.

Start With Small Doses

Be gradual. Adding new styles and content to your work in small doses is essential so your fans can adjust to the changes. This will also give you time to reflect, assess feedback on the changes and decide if this is the right approach for you. You may find that you’d rather continue with your old style, and that’s OK! Think of it like trying new food: you might not like your first taste of it at all, but then the flavors start to grow on you and become more palatable and enjoyable.

Start scheduling your new style of content in between installments of your old style of content. Alternate weeks between the old and the new so your fans can adapt to the changes. This will also help keep your content fresh and exciting, and give your fans something new to look forward to —without suddenly yanking away the kind of material that brought them in to begin with.

Keeping your fans engaged and excited about the new content is essential. Remember that your quality isn’t what’s changing, just your content. Continue to maintain your standards of quality and engaging visuals while introducing your newer content. Be open to feedback, since it will help you see where you can improve, what’s working with the fans and whether you should rev up the pace of change or slow it down.

What About Your Old Content?

Rebranding your persona is an exciting process, but there’s no reason to leave the “old you” behind completely. You may be wondering, “What should I do with my old content?”

Look for opportunities to offer older content as a limited or collector’s edition. Let your fans know that this “vintage” content is only available for a limited time before it goes “back into the vault.” You can limit where you are offering it, keeping it only on specific sites. You can also archive old holiday or event-specific content to rerelease only at certain times of year.

Alternatively, you can use the old content to create an upscale feel for your brand, by allowing only VIP fans access to it. If you no longer want this content to be easily available, consider pricing it out of the reach of most fans. Many influencers and artists use this strategy to create exclusive experiences that offer their most loyal fans higher-priced, hard-to-get content and experiences.

Finally, use older artwork, music or videos to tell the story of your journey. Explain what inspired your work and how you got to where you are today. That past version of you may not be who you are today, but it can be fun to look back and acknowledge where you started — and your fans will feel more connected to your brand than ever before.

Evolution Is Inevitable

Rebranding your persona should be an exciting journey of self-exploration and growth. It can be a long process, but the work you put in will be worth it if your rebrand speaks to who you are now and to an ever-evolving audience, and makes you happier as a content creator. Thoughtfully implemented, rebranding can free you to let your personality shine, cultivate a larger audience and develop your brand with clarity and pride.