Last week I talked about how I was able triple my blog’s stats across the board. Today I wanted to write more specifically about the items on the list. A business plan wasn’t the first task on my to-do list, but it definitely should have been. Once I finally completed my plan, I had a complete list of goals and tasks I needed to accomplish to push my blog where I want it to go. I hope you can use this guideline to help you create a business plan for your blog. I promise the time it takes is more than worth it.
Edit: After years of working in a cubicle (as a social media and marketing manager), I’ve broken free and am now writing on a separate site. If you want tips for growing your blog and/or business. Head on over to Winn Creative Co.
When I started my business plan I knew I didn’t want to use a traditional template, so I did a bit of searching for more creative business plans. I would like to say I came across Sarah Von Bargen’s post by accident, but I was spending A LOT of time going through all her old posts. The creative business plan by Michelle of Bombchelle was the perfect model to base my plan off. In the end my plan ended up as more of a collection of goals and tasks to do to complete within specific deadlines.
Where do you want to be in 5 years
Begin by writing down your ultimate goal for your blog. Make it big and make it specific. Don’t just write, “In five years I want to be blogging full-time and making a lot of money.” That is not specific enough. I want to be blogging full-time, making ____ amount of money a year by helping _____ do ________ as well as selling/offering ________.
For example: I want to be blogging full-time and making 50k a year by helping bloggers and small businesses develop their sites by improving their branding, content, and marketing. I will do so through consultations, ecourses, and ebooks. That right there is super specific and leaves no questions about your end game.
Where you want to be in 1 year
Think of this section as your first big step to your super big goal. This is where you really lay the foundation for your success. Think about what skills you need to develop to be able to compete with others in your area. Does your blog need to grow a bigger following? Have you established yourself as an expert so people will trust you to teach an ecourse? Think about the smaller steps that will get yourself to your 5-year goal, which ones need to be accomplished first?
For example: In one year want to be promoting sponsored posts, launched consulting opportunities, and published one eBook. (Also include statistic and social media following goals.)
Top 3 priorities for the year
This is where you want to nail down what you really have to do to reach your one-year goal. This might be to learn a new skill, grow your following, or connect with the right people. There are probably 100+ things you have to do to reach your goal, but I guarantee there are three super important ones that you much accomplish.
For example: 1) I must grow my blog and social media following. 2) I must gain experience doing blog consultations and develop packages/products to offer to clients. I must also continue to cultivate my skills and establish myself as an authority in my area. 3) To publish an eBook, I must determine a topic, create an outline and produce the product.
Specific plan for 3 months
This is where you get down and dirty with what you gotta do. You know what you want to complete within the year and you know the top goals to accomplish. Your plan for 3 months is your first steps to reaching those goals and they need to be super specific. Specific and attainable are what you’re looking for. You aren’t going to reach your 1-year goals in 3 months, you just want to focus on putting yourself on the right path.
For example: Let’s take the goal of growing your blog and social media following. In order to grow a strong following, you need to have a cohesive brand and quality content. You might spend the first month bringing your design and content up to a higher quality. You may spend the next month focusing on updating your social media and creating a strategy. These are some of the things you might include in your 3-month plan. (When I made mine I divided my list 1st month, 2nd month, 3rd month to make it feel less overwhelming and more specific.) These are some of the things you might include in your list.
- Review blog’s branding and focus, evaluate if mission is clear.
- Update all social media sites to represent your brand (changing social media names to be uniform and layouts/designs to reflect blog’s image.)
- Review blogs old and current content and delete posts that are no longer necessary or update images and formats of quality content.
- Create social media plan and content.
A little less specific plan for the next 6 months
These are the tasks you intend to accomplish after you’ve completed all your goals in the 3-month plan. Realize the things on your 3-month list might take longer than 3 months. They could take longer, or you could knock them out in a month. The idea is to have a concrete list of the things you must get done to lead you toward your goals. You plan for the next 6 months is not going to be as concrete. They are going to be the things you need to accomplish after you’ve finished your 3-month list, and are dependent on the success of the three months.
For example: In 6 months I plan on launching consulting services through my blog, as well as have a final draft for my eBook. These are loose goals that depend heavily on your 3 months. If in those three months you didn’t manage to grow your blog or develop the skills or interest in offering consulting services, you need to revisit those goals and reevaluate your methods. If you accomplished your three-month goals are you that much closer to your goals for the 6 months and can begin drafting new goals that will get you closer.
The main purpose of this business plan is to take your big huge crazy goals and break them down into tasks that are manageable and timely. Don’t be afraid to change your goals and tasks. This is a creative business plan and creative people change their mind all the time. Every so often check your plan and see if you are still going in the direction you want to go. If you find that you aren’t, change things as needed.
Does your blog or business have a plan?