So now you know the why, let’s get into the how. Here are all of the things you need to prepare:
The Executive Summary
This should always be the first section of your business plan. It’ll lay out exactly what your business — in this case your blog — is all about.
Your executive summary should be broken down into several sections:
What purpose does your blog serve and what is it about? Do you fit into a particular niche?
Really dig in and consider why you started your blog in the first place. This is your opportunity to evaluate your ethos and core values.
Who are you? What’s your background? Why should you be considered an authority on your topic?
- Who is your ideal target audience?
What kind of person is your perfect reader? What is their demographic?
- Any relevant blog growth highlights
If you’ve already been running your blog for some time, this is your opportunity to boast about your achievements thus far!
Have your followers increased? Were you able to monetize through affiliate partnerships, or otherwise? Have your unique views increased?
Don’t worry if you don’t have anything to put in this section yet — remember, your business plan can (and should) be updated!
- Any services or products you offer
You don’t need to go into excessive depth here, as you’ll be able to expand on this later in your business plan. However, you should mention in brief what you’re doing, or planning on doing, in order to monetize.
- What goals are you hoping to achieve?
The most exciting bit! Here’s where you get to lay out your dream goals and vision statement for the future.
Don’t scare yourself off, really think hard about what it is you want to achieve and put it down. Not only is it motivating, but once you’ve written it down, you can start to consider how to make those goals reality.
The backbone of any business is the brand identity. This is what hooks customers, inspires brand loyalty, and brings a touch of humanity to a service.
For a blog, this is even more important, because what you’re selling is, well — you! As a blogger you’re putting yourself out there as the authority on your subject or topic, bringing value to your audience.
While it can be tempting to create a brand persona for your blog, what readers really love is authenticity and trustworthiness. Plus, how exhausting would it be to have to keep up a double life?!
Maybe your brand identity is a little more extra than you are in person, but at the core it’s still you. Lean into this and build off it in order to find what works for you, your blog, and your audience.
Ask yourself the following:
- Why does your blog exist?
- How do you want your audience to feel when they interact with your blog or you?
- What keywords would you use to describe your blog?
It’s also important to know what your “definitely wouldn’t do”s as well as your “would love to do”s are. That way you can refine the core values and ethos of your blog.
In this section you should note:
What’s your blog called? What kind of vibe are you aiming for?
Here you’ll want to explain what topics and categories you cover on your blog, i.e. what’s your niche? Include what hashtags you use on your social media channels, too, as this will be relevant for your marketing strategy.
- What are your posting processes or practices?
Do you have a specific format or style guide to stick to? How about images? This is important to know not just for you but for any guest bloggers you may invite to your blog.
- How would you like to expand on your blog later down the line?
How could your blog and brand expand in the future? What opportunities exist?
Here you could think about publishing books, starting a video channel, doing live demonstrations and events — anything you can think of that you’d like to do!
Overall Business Strategy
Here’s where you’re going to talk about how you plan on executing your goals. You’ll want to include:
Consistency is key! Blogging regularly not only helps you, but it lets your audience know when to expect content. Create a schedule and stay the course!
What methods are you planning on using for marketing yourself and your blog? Social media and email mailing lists are commonly used, but there are other forms of marketing out there, too.
What about using guest bloggers, or link exchanges? Known as outreach marketing, this can also be an extremely effective form of marketing for blogs.
- How you’ll monetize and what you offer
What techniques will you use to bring money in, while also offering value to your audience? Check back over your goals and future expansion ideas for help with this if you’re stuck.
Remember: There are lots of different ways to monetize your blog, but don’t stray too far from your mission statement, blog ethos, and brand identity.
Being able to analyze your blog performance and track unique views, keywords, and more, is essential to the success of your blog. While Google Analytics is an excellent choice here, it isn’t the only one.
Identify which analytics service(s) or tools you’ll use and how they can help drive your blog forward.
Market and Audience Analysis
As with any business, one of the most important steps is identifying who your audience are, the current market, and any competition.
Knowing who you’re trying to reach with your blog and how you can stand out from the crowd is essential to success.
In this section you should lay out:
- Who are your target readers?
How old are they? What demographic are you trying to reach?
It could be helpful to imagine your ideal reader here, as this can help you when writing your blog posts if you imagine that you are writing for that specific person.
Who are the successful bloggers in your niche? What sets them apart and what tools or marketing strategies are they using?
It’s a good idea to profile your competition and include not just your main rivals but also smaller blogs. What are they doing right? How could you improve on what they’re doing?
- What networking opportunities exist?
No man is an island and blogging is all about community. That’s not just the community that you’re building, but the community that already exists around you.
There are plenty of opportunities to collaborate and work with others in your field. Identify these and use them to your advantage.
Of course, you can run a blog for free. However, in order to really level up, you’re going to want to spend a bit of money.
Even if you’re running your blog for free right now, it’s a good idea to be clear about what expenses you may need in the future.
- Branding or logo design costs
- Any subscriptions you may need for themes, plugins, tools, or software
- Photography costs, whether that’s your own or licenses required
- Any promotional materials, eg, business cards and Facebook ads
- Any fees associated with starting a business (not necessarily required).
How Blogs Can Turn into a Business
As soon as you monetize your blog, it’s no longer a hobby but a business! On your blogging journey, somewhere along the line you may decide that doing it for no return isn’t worth the effort any more.
After all, you’re putting time into creating a resource for others– so why shouldn’t you be compensated?
When you decide that your blog should be a business, you’ll want to make sure that you:
- Market and promote your content in order to grow your audience
- Communicate with your followers though email mailing lists, social media, and more
- Find different ways to monetize your blog
You may find that what works for other blogs doesn’t for yours. That’s okay! Just keep hustling, and you’ll eventually find a winning formula.