Fact: If you plan on monetizing your blog or want to make a full-time living out of blogging, you need a business plan for your blog.
You might not be seeking investors or plan on selling your blog any time soon, but a business plan will help keep you on track – especially when it comes to your blogging-related goals. And if you want to earn a full-time living by blogging, you need to keep your eyes on the prize.
Here’s a little secret: nearly all businesses started out as a business plans. Sitting down and hammering out a business plan for your blog forces you to write down all of the specifics, do research and create strategies that will help your blog become a success. As Melyssa Griffin says on her blog, “It is essentially a roadmap of your blog business, written with your audience in mind.”
But don't be intimidated. We know a lot of aspects can go into writing a business plan, but you can pick and choose (and modify) most templates. Just like creating a Media Kit, it can seem quite daunting starting out but you'll be glad you did it once you're done.
So, if your 2018 New Year's Resolution is to up your blogging game consider starting out by typing up a solid business plan.
Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we’ll help you out along the way. Here’s how to create a business plan for your blog…
How To Create a Business Plan for Your Blog
Start With An Executive Summary
If you were to compare your blog’s business plan to an essay, the Executive Summary would be the “introduction paragraph” of your business plan.
It’s often written last (i.e. once you’re finished writing the other parts of your blog’s business plan), and should include a few key components like a mission statement, highlights of your blog’s growth (if you’ve been around for a little while), your products and/or services, and your blogging-related goals.
New to blogging? That’s okay. While you might not be able to complete some of the sections mentioned above, you shouldn’t stress. Focus on using the executive summary portion of your blog’s business plan as a place for you to jot down your experience.
How are you capable of turning your blog into a full-time business? You might have prior experience in a similar industry as your blog’s niche topic (i.e. retail/fashion, food/hospitality, etc.), so be sure to include all of this in your Executive Summary.
Describe Your Blog As A Business
Up next is your Blog Business Description.
What sets you apart from other blogs in your niche market? Who do you serve? Who is your target demographic? What is your blog’s “personality”? These are all questions your should be answering, when writing up your blog's business description.
You need to have a very clear idea of who your readers and community members will be – think like a marketer and map out their age, gender, occupation, etc. Just like designers create their idea “man” or “woman” that would wear their clothing, you should do the same with your blog. Who is your ideal reader or follower? Questions like these should be answered in your blog's business description.
Analyze Your Competition (And Your Niche Market)
Competitive Analysis and Market Research is your chance to spend hours creeping other blogs in your niche market. You can choose to split this one up into two different sections, but if you're new to blogging you might want to combine them into one.
Analyzing your competition and conducting market research doesn't have to come from a competitive place. It's chance for your to learn from your competitors (i.e not copy) and gather more information about your potential market. Keep in mind, your blog's area of interest and target market might change in the first few months (or even a year), but it's still important to start somewhere, with some kind of an “ideal” target market.
Approach Competitive Analysis and Market Research as a learning exercise for your blog as a business. Soak up as much information from the “experts” (i.e. established bloggers in your niche market), but make sure you stick to original ideas.
Find Out How Your Plan to Build A Community
Building a community plays a vital role in creating a successful blog, both as a brand and business.
You can have the most amazing blog on the planet, but if no one is reading it then… what's the point? Therefore, you need to outline ways you plan on cultivating a community in your blog's business plan.
It can be through a killer Instagram account (and other social media platforms) or via email list, but it's important you have a clear idea how you're going to keep readers engaged with your blog's content. Make sure you make a note of this in your blog's business plan.
How are you planning on (eventually) earning money from your blog? This is where your Monetization Strategy comes into play.
Sponsored posts, ad revenues, selling courses or ebooks, blog coaching, selling merchandise – these are all ways you can make money off your blog and your blog's brand. In the Monetization Strategy of your blog's business plan, you should clearly outline how you plan to make your earnings.
Again, this might evolve with your blog but it's important that you have a clear idea when you start out.
Know How to Market and Sell Your Blog
Lastly, write up a Marketing and Sales strategy for your blog.
This can include anything from budgeting a small amount of money to spend on Facebook ads to considering a Pinterest strategy. Either way, you need to think hard about how your plan to get your blog (and any products you intend to sell) out there, for people to see.
One Thing to Keep In Mind…
Don't feel like you have to have everything figure out in your blog's business plan.
You can always go back and edit your plan as your blog develops. This is fairly normal for almost all businesses – many business owners go back and revise their plans after a period of time has passed. Make a note in your planner and periodically edit your blog's business plan.
The bottom line is it's important your outline what your goals when it comes to blogging.