If you’re planning on turning your blog into a successful business, you’re absolutely going to need a business plan. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it sounds! Creating a blog business plan will help keep you on track for success and motivate you to keep going.
I’ve included a slideshow at the bottom of this post of the same 22 page business plan template that I used when I first got started. Using this post and the template provided, you’ll learn exactly how to build a blog business plan for success. Scroll to the bottom of this post to get right to the template!
But first, you might be wondering why I didn’t create my own blog business plan template.
Well, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! The template I’ll share is used in universities, it worked for me, and it’ll work for you too, if you put in the right work.
I have a B.A., and one of the things they don’t tell you about art school is just how much of the focus is actually on marketing and business. See, it doesn’t matter what kind of content you create if you can’t reach an audience! You’ve heard the phrase starving artist before, right? That only applies to the folks who lack business and marketing skills.
So what do you do when you lack those skills? You seek guidance, of course! Which is exactly why I’m here.
The Basics of a Blog Business Plan
A business plan is like a map: you choose where you want to go and then follow the directions it provides. The only difference is that you have to make the map yourself, and figure out the best way to get where you’re going.
Business plans are made up of a few key elements, which you can think of as stops along the way to your goals.
We’re gonna start by defining your vision and who you are, then we’ll do the same for your target audience. Then we’ll take a look at some blogs similar to yours to see what works for them and what doesn’t. After that, we’ll be able to come up with a plan of action! Finally, we’ll talk a bit about finances.
Where Is Your Blogging Business Going?
Knowing what you want from your blog is crucial if you ever want to turn it into a successful business. It’s not enough to just say “I want to be a blogger.” Define it.
What is your mission?
How about your values?
What products or services do you provide?
Your mission statement describes what you want your blog to do, and defines who you are. Think about what you want to do and why you want to do it.
For example, I’m a blogger, freelance writer, and social media manager who helps people learn to blog, improve their writing skills, and expand their social media reach. I do this with my blog, Freshly Stale, by writing informational articles and tutorials, ebooks, and online courses, and by posting new content every day. Freshly Stale is also a place for me to showcase my own writing portfolio and expand my career as a professional writer by sharing poems, short stories, and entertaining articles.
Your mission statement should focus on what you do well, and the value you provide your audience.
Your vision is what you’re working towards. Think about your dream blog. What does it look like, how does it operate, what’s the perfect version of your business?
Using Freshly Stale as an example again, ideally I would be writing this from Thailand, or maybe Hawaii. My vision for Freshly Stale is to have the freedom to write from anywhere in the world once the pandemic is over. I will write an ebook a month, offer various courses on writing and blogging, create and sell different journaling templates and writing prompts, and will freelance for fun instead of for work.
Your vision is all about your dream. It’s meant to keep you motivated and focused.
This one is so straightforward that it might be insulting if I gave an example. You know what your values are. Write them down anyways!
Products and Services
Chances are, you mentioned some products and services in your mission statement. This is where you’ll get even more specific.
What are you selling, or planning on selling? What services do you provide? Write it all down. All of it.
Here at Freshly Stale, I’ve got ebooks and courses in the works describing how to start blogging, and some poetry books and journals in the works as well. Pretty soon Freshly Stale will also offer editorial calendars and yearly calendars, various cards and postcards, and printable workbooks; all designed by yours truly! Aside from that, I offer writing services such as ghost writing, article writing, social media management, and content creation. And I’m always open to protect proposals, too.
Think about what it is you provide. This is all the stuff that you’ll be able to profit from.
Who Is Your Audience?
Knowing your audience is essential to success. And now that you’ve got a clear idea of what products and services you provide, figuring out who your target audience is will be a breeze!
Try and figure out as much as you can about your target audience.
What age range are they in, do they have kids, what’s their budget, is your audience gender specific, what are their likes and dislikes, what is it that they want and what do they need?
Figure out who needs your products and services, and then optimize those products and services to that demographic.
And don’t forget to consider what social media sites/apps your target audiences use, as well as their values. Folks like to support people who share their values, ya know!
Find Similar Businesses
Once you have a clearer idea of who you are, what you provide, and who you’re selling to, it’s a good idea to see who’s already successful in your field. Look for other blogs in your niche, other people that sell what you sell and provide the services that you provide.
Are there any trends, is there anything that most of the blogs you’ve found have in common? Take note, because there’s a reason for that. Some things just work.
Look for the things that work, and avoid copying others’s sites and content at all costs. Email newsletters work and offering freebies works, but plagiarism doesn’t! Just look for the methods that have brought success to others.
While you’re researching sites that are similar to your own, check out their products, services, and pricing. Figuring out the market is crucial to figuring out your own pricing.
You don’t want to cheapen the whole market by underpricing your products and services, but you also don’t want to overcharge so much that nobody bothers to buy from you!
We’re all in this together, bloggers, and it’s a good idea to learn from others whenever you can. We share our knowledge, stories, and advice because we want you to be successful too, after all.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still be a little critical. What are their strengths and weaknesses? What can you do better than the rest?
Knowing what you can do better than anyone else will help you with marketing your blog.
Creating a Plan of Action
So you know who you are, what you’re selling, who your audience is, and the market. Now what?
Now it’s time for a good old fashioned POA!
Your plan of action will outline exactly how you’re going to go from beginner blogger to running a monetized site. It should include a posting schedule, a marketing plan, and all the information you need for your product launches.
Take Freshly Stale, for example. Each day has a different topic for posts, and each time I post to the blog I make sure to make separate posts optimized for different social medial platforms to increase the viewers for the post. All of the projects in the works have release dates, though they’re still TBA. I have a list of blog post ideas that I add to daily to make sure I never run out of content, and pretty soon an email newsletter will be launched.
Figure out how often you need to post, and how you’re gonna get those posts to your target audience.
This is where knowing the social media that your target audience uses comes in handy. Come up with a schedule for your blog and your social media alike, and then stick to it.
What kind of marketing are you going to utilize? Do you want organic growth, or will you give your marketing a nudge with paid social media campaigns? Will your blog have advertisements? Do you want to supplement your income with affiliate marketing and sponsored posts?
Have an answer for all of these questions.
Now, all that’s left to figure out is finances! No matter what, you’ve got to invest in your business if you want to see any sort of returns.
Figure out how much it’ll cost to set up your website, including the cost needed for any plugins or services. Will you hire ghostwriters, and if so, how much will they cost? If you hire a social media manager, know the budget for that as well. Do you plan on investing in lessons or courses to improve yourself? What expenses, if any, are there in producing the products you’ll be selling?
Once you figure all of that out, you should take some time to consider how much money you want to earn every month, and how much you’ll have to sell to get there.
If you want to make $10k every month, what should you price your product at, and how many sales will you need to reach that goal? What size does your audience need to be to make that possible?
For example, if everyone in my Pinterest audience bought, say, access to exclusive poetry posted daily on Freshly Stale for only $1/mo, I would be making $23k/mo. Not bad, huh?
Figure out your monthly income goal, then figure out how big your audience needs to be for you to sell your products at a fair and reasonable price to reach that goal.
The Free Blog Business Plan For Success
Remember, your business plan can always change. Business is tricky, after all!
Make sure to revisit your business plan often to make sure you’re on the path to success, and make any necessary edits as you continue to learn and grow as a blogger.
Get a Printable Blog Business Plan Template
None of the information in the business plan template was written by me, but it’s the same template that I used to work on Freshly Stale and I want you to have the same resources I’ve had. It’s been so helpful to me, and I just know it’ll help you with your business, too!
Follow Freshly Stale to get a free downloadable, printable version of the Blog Business Plan For Success!
How has making a business plan affected your blog? Let me know in the comments below! Come back tomorrow to learn about the K.I.S.S. method for better writing. Thanks for reading! 🌞💕