This week, I crossed the finish line on a months-long effort to rename my podcast.
My podcast (formerly named Creative Elements) is now named Creator Science.
Let me make that CRYSTAL clear...
- Old name: Creative Elements
- New name: Creator Science
There is no need to speak about, link to, or use the name Creative Elements anymore!!
Rebrands are hard. Really hard.
And, sadly, I'm much more familiar with rebrands than I would like to be. I have a LOT of scar tissue. So it's become a small, personal mission to both help PREVENT rebrands for others as well as help people navigate it smoothly when necessary.
So I want to talk about this change – why I made it, how I made it, and why even after making this move, things will still be challenging.
Why I renamed the podcast
Creative Elements was originally launched in March 2020 (hell of a time to launch something, by the way).
I was creating for creators, but I hadn't really begun to use the word "creator" yet. At the time, I knew I wanted to "help people earn a living from their art and creativity."
Also at the time, I was also writing a newsletter called "Work In Progress" which was serving a creative audience.
I was getting really into podcasting and wanted to serve that audience in audio too.
So...Creative Elements was born.
To be honest, I don't remember the "aha" moment that led to the name. I was reading Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss and thought it was GENIUS how he wrote a huge, valuable book simply by emailing a list of questions to his podcast guests.
"How can I write a book by recording this podcast too?"
That was the inspiration for the "Elements" part of Creative Elements. If I could get creative entrepreneurs to tell me about the "Elements" of their personality, style, or approach that served them, I could draw patterns and stitch that insight together into a book.
Honestly, still a pretty good idea.
But I didn't really execute well on that "elements" portion of the interviews. It was kind of an awkward, structural thing to bring up with the guest, and without good prep, it was easy to get into a rut with themes like "consistency." I eventually just dropped this part of the structure.
Meanwhile, in August of 2022, I rebranded my newsletter to Creator Science.
That rebrand had a night-and-day impact on my overall business.
Seemingly overnight, people took me much more seriously in the creator industry. My work was being shared, recommended, and my name began coming up in conversations about the creator economy.
That started a flywheel – it inspired me to take my work even more seriously and better work just fueled this momentum in the creator space.
I began to refer to my business in general as Creator Science. I filed a trademark, a DBA for my LLC, the whole gamut.
And when we started taking YouTube seriously, we began the channel as a "Creative Elements" but fairly quickly pivoted the channel brand to Creator Science too (so that I could do solo videos).
All of this was great...but I felt a lot of tension growing:
It was so hard to talk about BOTH the Creator Science brand and the Creative Elements brand.
You can hear me complain about this tension in this December 2022 conversation with Arvid Kahl:
At that time, I knew I wanted the podcast to also be named Creator Science. But I thought there was no way I'd actually make the change...
But, 2023 is the year of ripping off Band-Aids and doing the RIGHT things for the business (even when they're annoying, scary, or hard).
Let's talk about why this is the right move for me...
I'm on a mission to simplify my business this year. I've come to really appreciate the value and elegance of simplicity – and every new "name" I introduce into the business creates complexity.
That's true for products, frameworks, and especially for projects.
So almost like a digital spring cleaning, I'm trying to reduce clutter in my digital identity more than I'm adding to it.
I can't tell you how often people have described me as the founder of "Creative Science" or "Creator Elements."
It's an easy mistake to make because it wasn't simple to understand what I was building!
One of the best ways to simplify the business is to consolidate the distinct "brands" into one.
I firmly believe that people struggle to associate multiple things with their concept of YOU. We just don't care about others enough to keep it all straight.
I've also become increasingly enamored with creators who identify with one major project/media company:
- Dan Runcie is the founder of Trapital
- Tori Dunlap is the creator of Her First $100K
- Kat Norton is Miss Excel
- Andrew Huberman and Huberman Lab
I didn't want to be "Jay Clouse, the writer of Creator Science and host of Creative Elements."
I just want to be "Jay Clouse, the founder of Creator Science."
Creator Science has a newsletter, a podcast, and a YouTube channel – it’s one mission, all under the same name.
One of the biggest mistakes I made as a creator early on was misunderstanding how to make my work discoverable.
I was totally bought in on email and audio podcasting – both valuable for engaging with your audience and having a direct line of communication with them. Unfortunately, neither email or audio are very discoverable. Email is getting better (thanks to Substack, Beehiiv, SparkLoop and the new ConvertKit Creator Network) but it still has a ways to go.
Discoverability really comes from social media, YouTube, and search. I call these "Discovery Platforms" and I was investing so little energy into them for most of my creator journey.
But the thing with social media and (to a lesser extent) YouTube is that we want to connect with people on those platforms. Those are social platforms, we are social creatures, and we want to socialize with HUMANS – not brand names.
This is why you see more social media accounts being under someone's personal name (even if they are building a media brand as I am with Creator Science).
All of that means that absent of great website SEO, YOU (as a human) are more discoverable than your brand name.
I talked about this in my presentation at Podcast Movement in 2022. It's challenging to grow a podcast audience, so I decided to instead focus on growing the "Jay Clouse" audience to direct them to the podcast.
I believe you can deflect the attention you receive personally toward your media brand...but I don't think you can deflect it in two directions. It was very challenging to draw attention from @jayclouse on Twitter to BOTH creatorscience.com AND the creativeelements.fm.
So, while I'm investing time and energy in being a public loudmouth on these discovery platforms, I wanted to improve my ability to direct that attention toward one, consolidated direction.
I've come to realize that the name "Creative Elements" didn't clearly align with the most important part of the show – creators.
In the beginning, when I wasn't using the term "creator" as much, I thought "creative" gave me a broader appeal to people who identified as creatives.
What I've come to realize is that people who identify as "creatives" are often not the same people who identify as "creators."
So when the name "Creative Elements" was immediately appealing, the content may have been misaligned. And for those who would enjoy the content, the name wasn't immediately appealing.
Making the name of the show more immediately aligned with creators and the creator economy will help with listener growth.
Moving beyond the word "creator" in the title, the show is also very analytical. I want to get even MORE analytical and data-oriented over time.
So bringing the word "science" into the name also helps align expectations with the content of the show.
Creator Science just more accurately describes the content of the episodes than Creative Elements ever did.
And, whether true or not, I never felt like "Creative Elements" had much space for solo episodes from me. In this new world, I feel very empowered to publish solo episodes under the name Creator Science that are about my own experiments and investigation into what's working for creators.
How I renamed the podcast
When it comes to the operational and logistical work of renaming the podcast, it was pretty tedious. I wasn't quite as organized in this rebrand as I was in my newsletter rebrand but the process was the same.
The work is really just creating a giant, prioritized list of highest-impact changes to lowest-impact changes.
High-impact changes include:
- Creating new show artwork
- Changing the name, description, and artwork in my host (Megaphone) to update the RSS feed
- Coordinating with my podcast network
- Coordinating with my ads team
- Coordinating with my show artist
- Creating redirects for all existing website links to their new homes
- Updating the website assets
None of this is exceptionally difficult, it's just tedious. Timing and sequencing matter a lot – and there are a lot of little details involved.
The first thing I did was create new artwork for the show. While I am interested in creating totally new artwork, I decided the best move was to keep the artwork VERY similar in the beginning so casual listeners don't have to be paying close attention to see the show in their feed.
Next, I reached out to the network. I'm a member of the HubSpot Podcast Network and one of the main benefits of joining is the cross-promotion across the network.
Each month, I cross-promote another show on the network, as do all of the other network hosts. I wanted to ensure that I synced up timelines so that when another show was promoting my podcast, they were using the new name at the appropriate time.
We settled on a two-month lead time – we began the conversation in February and planned for the switch at the beginning of April.
Next, I needed to coordinate with my ads team who is out selling ad inventory on my behalf. I wanted to update their marketing collateral with the new name (and a new ads code – historically my promo code was ELEMENTS and now I'm going to use CREATOR).
The next challenge was my website. Historically, I built creativeelements.fm using this fantastic tool called Podpage. But I couldn't just use a new domain for Podpage because was already using creatorscience.com for my newsletter, blog, etc.
At the same time, I didn't want to abandon Podpage and manually recreate every episode page from scratch on my website (hosted using Ghost).
So I decided to continue to use Podpage as a subdomain on my Ghost website → podcast.creatorscience.com.
Thanks to some generous help from Chris Hufnagel, I found a strategy for setting up redirects for all existing links on the previous creativeelements.fm domain to seamlessly find their new home.
Here's an overview I recorded for a member of The Lab:
So far, this has even had a positive impact on overall SEO for the creatorscience.com domain:
Once that was figured out, it was really just a waiting game. I basically waited until last weekend and started switching things over. I went page-by-page through Podpage, my Ghost website for creatorscience.com, and my personal website at jayclouse.com to ensure I updated mentions of "Creative Elements" to "Creator Science."
One last thing to call out – I created a new trailer for the show too. Intead of publishing the new trailer as a new episode, I replaced the audio from the original trailer (the first "episode" published to the feed).
This gets a fair amount of plays every month, which I suspect is mainly do to being highlighted on the Spotify show page:
Challenges that remain
As I shared with Arvid in that YouTube video at the beginning of this post, I can't actually update or remove all mentions of Creative Elements.
For the first 100+ episodes of the show, the first thing you hearing audio is, "Hello, my friend! Welcome back to another episode of Creative Elements..."
All of the past custom episode artwork has the old name on it:
We even have a custom animation on all the pre-existing video episodes that highlight the same artwork AND the name Creative Elements:
I'm not going to fix all these things. People listening or watching old episodes will hear the previous name.
However, as the show grows and continues to publish, there will be more downloads and plays of new episodes with the aligned name than past episodes.
There are also probably tons of places that I can easily update but haven't yet. They are low-profile, low-stakes places (probably) and it will be a game of whack-a-mole for months to completely clean up all past written mentions – and that's OK.
The BIGGEST challenge will simply be socializing the new name with folks – even frequent listeners of the show.
So if you enjoy the show, please help me in using the correct, NEW name of the show. It's just Creator Science! And if you want to dig in deeper, listen to this week's episode about the change:
Questions? Leave a comment down below and I'll expand further.