Test your brand name; Own a piece of Substack; The Shift Hot 5
‘What’s in a Name? Gift Cards, more than just a gift’ – a panel session at a industry conference I worked on recently. New research and a whitepaper exploring whether the name ‘gift card’ is still relevant today.
Gift cards are much more than a physical card and being used innovatively to help with the cost-of-living crisis. Employee rewards and incentives, as a tool for budgeting and saving, and self-gifting is on the rise… ‘You Card’ is one suggestion.
Turns out people still like the ‘gift card’ name though – it has a nice ring to it. Simple and obvious.
It got me thinking about my name for this project: The Shift – and whether it still fits. The newsletter has evolved since I started it three years ago. It was ‘WorkLife Shift’, which I shortened to The Shift. It had a broader focus, exploring the future of work and living, remote work trends, and freelancing.
The name was an impulse decision. I looked down at my keyboard and saw the ‘shift’ key. Made me think of freelance shifts and the gig economy. I like the transformation aspect, go solo – #MakeTheShift is my hashtag.
I’ve niched down some more and am now focusing on content entrepreneurship and the booming creator economy. For those interested in creating a lifestyle-first, one-person biz. I’ve set some goals to motivate myself – earning six figures / 10K month / workations – I’m not a nomad, but will travel when I can.
The Shift is too generic – not obvious or specific enough for SEO and discoverability. I mentioned it to a friend and she said, “Well, it doesn’t really tell me what it’s about.” Ugh.
I need a catchier brand name.
I like ‘The Content Entrepreneur’, but that’s registered to The Tilt as Joe has a book coming out on it this year – yay! The Digital Entrepreneur? Or something with Creator in the title. I can’t have ‘The Sunday Solopreneur’ as Justin is rocking that on Saturdays. Six-figure Small is great, but too close to Brian Clark | Unemployables.
Names are important. I realise this is holding me back. Someone asked me to speak at an event the other day, and I hesitated. It’s the name. I can’t imagine being announced as “Nika from The Shift” or writing a book with that in the title. Too many other books using it. I also associate it with the gig economy and grind – not what I want to communicate!
I’ll sit with it for a bit.
Lots to think about – domain names, social handles, trademarks, personal brand Vs brand name. I’ve asked ChatGPT for a few suggestions – pretty good, but nothing I love.
I listened to Jay Clouse talk about his rebrand from Creative Companion to Creator Science. Great name, like the juxtaposition. Excellent episode – well worth a listen.
You can test your brand name here.
Own a piece of Substack
Big news from Substack. They’ve launched a community funding round opportunity asking people to invest (donate) in the platform. Here’s the pitch email. They believe the future of media and the internet’s next chapter is the ‘subscription network.’
I’ve made a reservation. I believe in what Substack is trying to do – change a broken media model. I like the product and community they’ve built over the last five years. It’s an ambitious mission and they want to build with writers.
I like that it’s accessible – the minimum donation is $100. The fundraiser is almost sold out, which is a good sign.
It’s a matter of principle and a loyalty move, really. I don’t expect to get my money back. It’s an interesting opportunity (I’ve never been offered this in the writing biz), and I want to be part of it.
I would like to see the financials (coming in the next couple of weeks they say), and have a few questions. Do we have voting rights? Do they plan to go public or sell at some point? Nothing lasts forever – especially in startup land. I would rather have actual shares in Substack…
It’s easy to be cynical – they didn’t make their funding round last year, and the market is tough. But it’s a simple decision. I like what they’re doing for writers, and I’ve benefited from the platform and community over the last four years.
I’m happy to give back, and I want them to succeed.
I also want more from them. A Substack conference, a magazine for writers, more help with marketing and distribution (Sparkloop style, Beehiiv), local meetups and events, which all require more $$ – maybe even a Substack gift card? 😉
Comment in The Verge (some data they didn’t include) – Oooof. I’ve seen many posts from backers – Emma Gannon, Polina Pompliano and this one by The Honest Broker.
Good luck to the team – and thank you for an excellent product.
The Shift Hot 5 🔥
How I’ve doubled my following on LinkedIn in the last few months – Jay Clouse shares his strategy for how he’s growing on LinkedIn based on current algo research and best practices. I love these solo episodes – practical, actionable advice. Grab a notebook and pen!
Teach Me to Pin – free training w/ Jenna Kutcher. Pinterest is her #1 traffic referral source and a huge part of her marketing strategy. Pinterest is a search engine, not a social media platform, which means people actively search for keywords in your niche. The average post lifespan is 4 mo Vs 18 mins on Twitter!! Worth your time.
Prompt Crafting – become an expert on using generative AI for marketing content creation. A handbook from Writer.com – learn the art of prompt writing, how to personalise your content for audiences, optimise for SEO and more.
A Guide to Writing Well by Julian Shapiro – learn how to write better non-fiction books and blogs. “There’s a science to non-fiction that I believe has been overlooked.”
A ‘Manifesto for Slow Learning’ including a ‘Bill of Rights’ for the slow learner. A project that Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson took part in and shared in his excellent newsletter. A path to a mindful and meaningful future of learning… feels right with the AI insanity.
Listening to this today. Have a great (rest of) Sunday.
Keep moving –
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