This Blogger's Guide to Business Planning will assist you – a current blogger – in building a strong foundation, to take your blogging business to the next level. Long gone are the days (like the days when I started blogging back in 2003) when you could bootstrap your way up to hundreds of thousands of visitors a month reading and clicking and converting.
The blogging world has grown up. There is definition. You need a plan and a strategy in order to succeed.
I'll say it again: You need a plan and a strategy in order to succeed.
My goal for this guide to help you cultivate strength and ultimately make money with your blogging by using the right blogging business tools, by influencing your readers, and by curating sticky content that your audience comes back to again and again. I will create new content for you but I will also introduce you to the blogging gurus that you need to follow closely. I am sharing everything I learned in business school, in over 10 years in corporate America, and eight years as a blogger in one comprehensive place because, well, I love you, and I think that is THE missing component with the blogging “industry” today.
Here me now: you are a small business owner, not a blogger. Shift that mindset before taking one more step.
Blogger's Guide to Business Planning – Introduction
This Blogger's Guide to Business Planning will walk you through business planning 101 generally, dig into the specifics of business planning for blogging, and prepare you to take your blogging business to the next level. The updates are on-going and happen in real time. I will add to this page and refine it as we move through each phase of planning. You're coming to this guide as an experienced blogger. Be prepared to step back and hold back the reigns.
What is a Business Plan?
Imagine yourself floating high up into the sky and looking down at your blogging business. You start with the big picture: an overview of your blog. Describe your blog in two paragraphs. Then, move down to describing you and your team. Who are you and what do you bring to the table? Your business plan describes your 1, 3, and 5-year strategy including plans for your brand, how you will make money, and how you will grow.
A business plan guides you and will change over time. Consider it a well laid out plan with a lot of room to make changes within wide parameters. Does that make sense? Once you lay out who you are and where you want to go, you will be able to make effective decisions on how you will get there. Decisions such as business structure, tax considerations, team development, revenue streams, and marketing tools will come to you easier. You won't feel as overwhelmed if you have a good, solid picture of your business today and your business tomorrow.
Why Do I Need a Business Plan?
Yes. That is my short answer. The world of social marketing is fast past. Stopping to take a look at your current state of affairs and where you want to go is a challenging move as you witness everyone else sprint ahead in the game of SEO, content strategy, and brand marketing.
I am going to let you in on a secret.
That pace is not sustainable and a good chunk of the success reaped during these sprints might just be a little lucky.
You want to move forward with a solid understand of your business, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ask yourself the tough questions. Examine your finances and past decisions. Be critical so that that you can be smart going forward.
Brands recognize the power of Bloggers to connect and convert readers into customers. Bloggers know how to engage their audiences, they building community, and enjoy doing it. Unlike any other marketing entity and force, bloggers convert and know how to communicate to audiences. Brands recognize that fact. So, our role as professional bloggers is to meet and to exceed this expectation.
I am creating original content and will point you to those blogging gurus to whom you must pay close attention.
How Do I Start Building My Roadmap?
Your first step is to reflect.
Like with most things in life, moving forward requires taking steps back & looking critically at your current state of affairs.
I am a big believer in reflection. That reflection, however, must always come with action. Without a serious and hard look at your current situation, you can't create a plan that will move your business forward successfully and sustainably.
“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Current State of Your Blogging Business
How do you feel about your business today? How do you want to feel about your business? There are no right or wrong answers. Consider it a brain dump, a vomiting of words and emotion about where you are right now – your current state of mind within the context of your business – and where you want to be, or where you think you should be.
Then get more specific within the context of the various parts of your business including marketing, team, and finances to determine exactly where your business stands.
Your Blogging Business Overview
Understanding your business from a big picture perspective is key to creating a plan for sustainable, scalable growth. At first thought, you might say to yourself, “Yes, of course, I know my business.” You might even roll your eyes at me. No offense taken, I promise, because, I get it.
I have been there.
Listen up. Here is a little tough love. Knowing your business in your brain and taking the time to think through the pieces that make your business tick are two different experiences. If you want to grow and to make money (and by money I mean recurring revenue that you can count on to support your family), you have to move beyond having a vague idea in your head about your business. You have to write it down. You have to work through the details in order to truly garner a sense of the place your business holds in the universe.
Ask yourself: What do you want people to take away from learning about your business?
Key Ingredients of a Business Overview
- Concise statement regarding the purpose your business.
- A brief history of your blogging business.
- A brief overview of your team as it stands now (don't worry, I am going to help you think about building your blogging team).
- Your business's mission (don't worry, we're going to get to making one of these “mission statements”
Your Social Media Strategy is one piece of your overall marketing strategy, which I view as and call a ‘relationship' strategy.
Join me on this business planning journey.