Okay, I’m going to let you in on a little secret – but you have to promise you won’t tell anyone…it took me three years to finally create a blogging plan. There I said it, phew – I feel so much better now.
So what made me realize I needed a blogging plan? It’s sort of a long story but I’ll give you the shorter version real quick. When I first started blogging I wasn’t sure I needed a blogging plan. My attitude toward it was “I need to grow my blog first then worry about a plan later”. Plus I thought a blogging plan were for bloggers who already reached success with their blog.
Little did I know I needed one all along! I mean, if my plan was to grow my blog that’s exactly why I needed a blogging plan because it will detail what I’m going to do in order to get to that goal.
Just as with a “regular” business, there has to be a plan in place to outline revenue targets and goals. If your blog is your business obviously you want to make money from it. And if you want to make money, you have to have a blogging plan to map out exactly where you’re going and how you plan on making money blogging.
Now, you can write your revenue target on a piece of paper and tape it to your computer and keep your plan up in the ole noggin’ – there’s nothing wrong with that but let me tell you what happened to me when I tried that the first few years of my blogging journey.
After a couple months, I forgot all about my revenue target because the paper I had taped to my computer fell off and got lost in the stack of papers I had around my desk. And the so-called blogging plan I kept in the ole noggin to get me to my revenue target – that got pushed out with everything else I was keeping up there, hehe.
But when you have a visual like a blogging plan, your targets and goals are more concrete. You know what I mean?
What To Include In Your Blogging Plan
I’ve mentioned having a blogging plan in several of my posts but it dawned on me that I never really talked about a blogging plan and what goes in one. So, I thought I’d share what I included in my own blogging plan with you.
Here’s the thing. There is no set rule that says a blogging plan has to be formatted or written a certain way. Put it together however you think is best for you but it should cover the basic who, what, when and how.
I like to keep things simple, short and sweet so I created a template to help me focus on what I feel are the most important things that will help me reach my blogging goals and that’s:
- A mission statement
- Revenue goals
- Marketing strategy
- Blogging strategy
- Social media strategy
- Blogging schedule
Your mission statement is the most important part of a blogging plan. It should address who, what and how.
For example, who is your target audience – who are you blogging for – moms, new bloggers, DIYers.
What kind of content will blog about. Are you going to share your personal tips, great how-to posts or promote products?
Finally, how will your blog posts impact their personal or professional life. Will it help visitors with a common problem or answer a question? Will you introduce them to something new?
The most common mistake a new blogger makes is setting revenue goals that are far out of reach. I’m all for challenging ourselves but when you’re a new blogger chances are you won’t make hundreds of thousands of dollars in your first year. So set the bar high but attainable and not something you’ll be stressed out over throughout the year.
Case in point. I used to set ridiculous goals and every month I stressed over the fact that I wasn’t going to hit my revenue target. That’s what I call unnecessary stress. I found this article posted on Shareaholic called How to Set Blogging Goals You Can Actually Achieve. It helped me set realistic revenue goals and I’m sure you’ll get something out of it too.
Keep it simple by setting monthly goals. A number like $1,000 a month versus $12,000 a year is easier to focus on.
The marketing strategy should outline how you will promote your blog posts in order to drive traffic to your blog.
Outline what you will do to spread your online presence. For example, will you be doing guest posts, posting on social media, create an email list.
Map out what type of content you’re blogging about. One way to keep track of that is by creating an editorial calendar. If you’re a WordPress user, you should try the Editorial Calendar plugin.
The Editorial Calendar plugin gives you an overall view of your blog posts and when they’re scheduled to publish. You can even edit posts, drag and drop and move posts around all within the calendar.
If you’re a multi-niche blogger, the editorial calendar will especially be helpful because you’ll be sure to blog about the different topics within those niches.
Social Media Strategy
Part of your blogging plan should include how you plan on expanding your reach. In order to do that, you have to have a social media strategy in place to outline how you plan on gaining followers on your social media platforms.
For example, you can outline a plan to follow bloggers within your niche on a certain day of the week.
You can join Facebook groups within your niche and participate in social media follow threads. The group I’m in does one quarterly. It’s a great way to increase your followers.
And you can do it the old school way – engage with your fellow bloggers by liking, commenting and sharing their social posts.
Finally, it’s important to map out how often you will be publishing content and stick to that schedule. Sure, things come up and there will be times blogging will have to take a back seat – been there, done that myself – but you should always strive to stick to your blogging schedule.
Here are a couple bonus tips for you.
Like I mentioned earlier in this post, you can include anything in your blogging plan so if increasing your page views and total visits is an important element, you can also include those goals in your plan.
One last thing. The way to know if your blogging plan is working for you is by reviewing your stats. Get in the habit of checking your Google Analytics and social media metrics at least once a week.
Last Words and a Free Printable
I sure hope this post cleared up any questions you had about a blogging plan. If you don’t have a template already, I created a colorful blogging plan template. I’m also including a reading list template to keep track of your blog visits throughout the week. Feel free to use it to create your blogging plan for 2017!
If you know anyone who may find this post helpful, please share it with them. Happy blogging!
Over To You
Do you have a blogging plan in place? What are some of the items you have in yours? Tell us in the comments section below.