Ever since I started out as an influencer coach, one of the main questions that I typically get asked is ‘What is the one thing that you found essential to creating a successful full-time business?’ And my answer every time has been that I created a blog business plan that has helped me to stay on track with goals, revenue tracking, and promoted my business to a full-time business that generates six-figures each year. At the end of it all, it’s all about intention.
Many of the individuals who have taken my influencer course or have entered into a creator coaching program have indicated that they needed that extra help to go full-time as a blogger or influencer, or that they began the journey, but just didn’t know where to go from there to make it fully lucrative. I’ve helped many take that step and move forward with their full-time creator business with high success.
Even with bloggers who are already full time, I discovered that over 85% of them weren’t making the full time income that they wanted to make and began thinking about going back to getting another job. It wasn’t that they were specifically failing, but they weren’t reaching the level that they wanted or needed to sustain.
So you may we wondering, of those who didn’t fully make it….where did it go wrong? And it all came down to that if you’re looking to go full time to turn your blog or social media side hustle into a full time business, you need to have a full proof and strategic business plan, which is exactly what I’m here to share with you. I’m going to show you exactly how to create a Blog Business Plan that will work for you no matter which stage of growing your business that you are in. Even if you don’t have a blog, this business plan can be tweaked to make it work for you.
RUNNING YOUR SUCCESSFUL BLOG BUSINESS
A BASELINE FOR YOUR BLOG BUSINESS
When it comes to running a blog business, you want to first want to understand what it is like to be a small business owner who is focusing on running a blogging business. Even if you are not planning on running a blog and instead want to create a business around your social media accounts, still keep in mind that many of these business tactics work for any type of creator who wants to start making money as a full-time creator.
The main tactic that I’ll be explaining in this blog post is focused around creating a baseline for your business. A blog business plan is essential for all types of business owners because it is the essential need for long-term success. It’ll align with your goals, provide you a strategic way to generate smart passive income, and it’ll give you what you need to start growing towards the future. But let’s first quickly start by talking about how to create a blog since we will be discussing creating a business plan for.
STARTING A SUCCESSFUL BLOG
As you are starting out your blog business, you’ll need to create a new blog. If you’re a creator who only operates on social media, I highly recommend starting a blog because it’s something that you’ll be in control of. To start off a blog you’ll need first start by creating a blog on a content management system or CMS like WordPress – which I highly recommend. Then make sure that you purchase a domain and hosting provider as many bloggers who work full time have a web hosting provider.
It’s essential to be self-hosted because many affiliate platforms and brands solely work with bloggers who have a self-hosted blog. If you’re putting in the effort to create blog posts and various other types of blog content, you’ll want to make sure that you can make money in your blog business through sponsored partnerships and affiliate revenue.
To discover more about which platform to pick, you can read the related post that details the Best Blogging Platforms to Make Money.
BUILDING YOUR BLOG BUSINESS PLAN
In case that you didn’t know, you absolutely can earn a full time income from your blog and/or influencer business. There are plenty of creators and blogger out there who started out working a 9 to 5 job under someone else’s direction who then decided to take the leap and go into business themselves. Many of these creators have gone on to become big names, other’s went into creating products and businesses outside of blogging for themselves, and some of them are still getting a lucrative income running their blog full time and loving each day of it.
The one thing that I know that each of these people had was a business plan. Business plans are the foundation of any successful business, no matter the type. Creating a business plan allows you to plan out what your idea of success is, provides you with specifics on your goals, keeps you accountable for any things that you plan to do, and provides you specific strategies that will help you grow.
I can attest that if I had never created a blog business plan for myself, I probably would not be where I am today – running a full-time blog business with a team while traveling the world, building a custom home, getting myself out of debt, and loving the work that I do every day. But let’s not go too deep into my story, you’re reading this to find out what you need to do, so let’s get into it.
But before we get started, you’re going to need something to get some of this down. So I’ve created a free mini business plan workbook that you can download, print out, or keep online to get you started.
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE BLOG BUSINESS PLAN WORKBOOK:
PART 1: YOUR BRAND
As a business, you need to have a brand and you need to detail what that brand is. In this section, you’ll be showcasing how your business is different from others and how you are unique. It’ll also give you an establishment of what your brand is so that as you grow, you keep aligned with your branding for cohesiveness.
Your brand identity is the visual aspects of your brand. The name, colors, tagline, etc. This part of your blog business plan should be detailed and include some visual elements that you can attach. If you already have a brand board, connect it to your business plan and save it for external sharing when the time comes. If you don’t have a brand board or branding guidelines to share, it’s highly recommended that you create one so that as you grow and either bring in contractors for specific jobs or begin hiring employees, you can send it out externally for any content creation.
Related: How to Build Your Brand
In a business, you need to understand who your target market is because that is who you are creating content for. Without knowing who you target market is can lead you to creating content that isn’t speaking to anyone which will then lead to no attention, traffic, or revenue. It becomes virtually impossible to grow an engaged community without knowing who you working to serve.
To outline your target market you need to ask yourself:
– What is their age?
– What is their socioeconomic status? Income range?
– What are their interests?
– What do they do for a living?
– What are they looking for?
– What are their goals, wants, and needs?
Knowing these things will help to to create content that speaks to them, and within that content, if you’re looking to generate revenue from selling products, affiliate links, sponsored content, etc. you will know what exactly will resonate with your community so that you aren’t blinding throwing out content with the hope that someone will read it, you’ll create content that you know will be read by the community that you are creating.
One thing that many people often miss when creating their business plan is doing research on their competitors. To grow a successful business you need to know who you are coming up against. It’s similar to how athletes get ready for their next game, they watch the previous games of other teams to identify any weaknesses and strengths, and then use that information to begin deciding how they can be better to win the game. And though your business is not a game, it’s still the same type of methodology.
DO A COMPETITOR ANALYSIS
For a competitor analysis, you’ll want to first research who your competitors are. If you already have an existing blog with content that you’ve already created, a strong search engine optimization (SEO) tool will tell you who your top competitors are. Once you find out this information, you can begin by going to their sites and social media channels and discovering what content is working for them, what their strongest platforms are, what they are using, and where they are getting the most engagement.
Not only do you want to look into the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, you’ll also want to look into their products and services and their price points. The price points not only are something that you’ll want to look into for the products and services that they are offering themselves, but the ones that they are sharing in their content that is actually gaining them revenue through affiliate marketing.
PART 2: YOUR MISSION
When running any business, you need to have a purpose for what you are doing. While many call this section an executive summary, it typically all includes this element of what you want to do with your business and where you want to go with it. Here are some aspects to include in your mission:
This statement details out what your business is about and what your purpose it. If someone where to pick up your business plan, this statement should be a high-level, brief statement of exactly what your business is. Think of it as a two-floor elevator pitch.
Your vision statement goes further to detail where you see your business going. What’s your vision of what your business will do and how it will serve your community? You have a reason as to why you created this business and you know exactly what you want to do with it. This is where you write it down.
MID & LONG TERM GOALS
With an overall business plan, you want to set your mid-term goals and your long-term goals. Of course, you are sitting there thinking: “Well, where is the midpoint?” The answer to that question depends on how long you want this business plan to set before you “renew” it. For example, for my first business plan, I set my long term goal with a deadline of four years. Meaning, that my initial business plan was only meant to serve for four years total, and my mid-point was in two years. So I based my goals off of that. Just make sure that for your goals, that you are setting goals that are within reason and are goals that can be tracked.
STEP 3: BLOG BUSINESS GOALS
With your overarching mid-term and long-term goals, you want to set specific broken down business goals that you can break down annually, quarterly, and or monthly. Additionally, those goals should be segmented based on the types of the goals (i.e. whether they are financial, business growth, personal goals, etc.).
BLOG BUSINESS EXPANSION PLAN
In this section, you want to detail what your goal is in expanding your business and how you see yourself doing so. The expansion of your business can be anything from growing your team to adding on additional services to expanding onto additional platforms. With many bloggers who are just starting out, this goal is typically around the expansion of the platforms such as if you started your blog but you want to also start a YouTube channel and begin cross promoting content.
Every business should have financial goals written down. These goals will not only keep you on budget, but will also allow you to detail what things need to be done to achieve those financial goals. You’ll want to review any previous financial measurements that you may have from previous years, but if you’re just starting out, you can start from scratch. Write down both your business (revenue generated in business) and personal (paying off personal debt) financial goals, but make sure not to cross them over. Writing both of them down just help to segment one from the other.
As you are creating your financial goals in your business plan, also outline what your revenue streams are and the amount of revenue that you would like to generate from that stream. Fore example, you can specifically note out that you want to make $20,000 from content marketing for the year, and then for affiliate revenue you want generate another $10,000. But specifically detailing your revenue goals in this manner will help you at the end of the year to see where your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to what income streams are generating money. And then as you move into the following years, you’re able to create strategies to focus on improving revenue streams that did not meet the goals that were created. Just make sure to have an accounting software to monitor your revenue.
Also note, that your financial goals don’t have to only tie to revenue generation and paying off any debt. You can also set goals to decrease certain spend in the year. Maybe you’re overall target it to generate $125,000 by the end of the year with a net income of $80,000, you can create a strategy that also decreases your expenses for certain departments of spend.
STEP 4: PLATFORM GROWTH STRATEGY / BUILDING A COMMUNITY
Running a blog business means that you’ll need to go deeper into building your community and growing your platforms. If you have launched a blog, you may be thinking about growing it further and developing it with further functionality, or if you are starting out, you may want to know how to start and where to go from there. Either way, planning for platform growth and community building will help you in various aspects especially as you launch additional products and services related to your business.
Depending on where you are in your journey, your strategy for growing your blog is going to be integral to your blog business in many aspects. If you’re just launching a blog, you’ll want to first map out what you want your website to look for and how you would want it organized. Your site should be created based on your knowledge of your target market and how they consume content. If your site isn’t designed with them in mind, you may end up losing visitors who may come to your site based on one piece of content but they may not return or visit other places around the site because it’s not a site that is resonating with them.
If you already have a website, this section will detail how you are planning to grow your site in relation to improvements on existing pages or building out additional pages. With an already existing site, my recommendation is to first do a website audit by having a collective of your ideal reader review your site and give feedback and also have it audited from an SEO level. Gather that feedback and make any updates and changes to get your site to a strong foundation before you begin building out additional pages, if needed.
As a blogger, it’s essential to keep trying to determine the best way to grow you blog. I’m not specifically saying that each year you should be creating new pages, but you should be developing new content that is resonating with your readers and constantly looking at places where improvement is needed. With industries constantly shifting, you’ll need to make sure that you are staying up to date on what is going on in the market so that you can provide the best content and information to your community. Without doing that, you may become stagnant in your blog business growth and start to decline in your passive revenue.
It’s no secret that social media is a powerful tool. With many creators now running influencer businesses solely through social media, it’s grown the industry to be quite vast with a variety of different types of creators in various niches. With a blog business, it’s essential to harness the power of social media and with your business plan, it’s essential to outline how you are planning to harness it’s power and grow on social media platforms. Again, this is where it comes to knowing your target market. If you are starting off with a blog and then now looking to push towards social media platforms, you need to know what platforms your target market is on. There would be no point in focusing on creating content on TikTok if your audience is on Instagram or Pinterest.
Furthermore, there are various ways to make money on social media without a blog, but again, I highly recommend having one. Once you get to a point where you have established a strong blog and are just growing through slight improvements to keep up with the market shift, you may want to look into strategies on how to not only grow other social media platforms, but also how to make money from them without the need to depend on your blog. Other than sponsored posts on social media platforms, there are other ways to monetize on social media including rewards programs and ads. Various platforms such as YouTube and Pinterest have great ways to monetize with the creation of additional content as well as using already existing content.
Related post: How to Make Money on Pinterest Without a Blog
In recent years, many people have put their email list on the backburner and have ignored it’s power. But it must be said that an email newsletter is an essential tool to have to not only grow your community but maintain a connection to them to keep them coming back. In many cases, you may have a visitor come to your site from a piece of content and then never come back again if you don’t have a newsletter. A newsletter allows for those visiting your site to stay connected and return back.
For your business plan, write out what strategies you will use to grow your email list, how often you’ll send out those newsletters, how you’ll keep them engaged, and what things you’ll be sharing in those newsletters. You’ll also want to detail how you plan to use your newsletter to bring in revenue, if that is an avenue that you’ll want to explore.
STEP 4: YOUR SERVICES & PRODUCTS
If you’re at the point in your blog business that you have an already established blog and social media channels, you may be ready to begin selling services and products. Even if you aren’t already established, you may still want to include this section in your business plan so that you can create a strategy to work with when you have created your foundation and need to know what next steps to create.
WHAT WILL YOU SELL?
You first need to ask yourself, what exactly are you selling and how will it help your community. You need to know what you are adding to the current industry and detail out what exactly this product or service will do. Go into as much detail as you can with examples and/or sketches so that you can fully visualize what you are selling.
When detailing your product or service, don’t feel as if you need to name it right away. In some cases, the name may be something that you can derive through it’s development or through market research. In my business plan, when I am developing a new product or service, I start with detailing the description. What is this product doing and if I had to explain it to someone what would I say? Writing down each detail of how you would share this product will also give you information to further develop the pieces, and if you ever are at the point where you are looking for investors, gives you a starting point to create an investor pitch.
All small business owners typically are detailing their product for some time before ever actually putting it into development and this is exactly what you want to do as a blogger who may be creating a digital or physical product.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
At the end of the day, in order to make any type of revenue from your service or product, you need to create a product or service that serves your community. You need to strategically list out how this product or service is going to benefit your community. As you are considering the benefits, also write down how those benefits may change over time and how they will meet an ever changing market.
In your blog business plan, you want to make sure that you are planning for the future so that your revenue doesn’t go into depletion, but keeps growing. So creating a product and/or service that can be updated depending on any changes to technology or the overall market, gives you the ability to create a long-standing and consistent revenue generating stream.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS?
When creating a product or service, it needs to be unique from others. Creating another type of service or product that is exactly like someone else’s may not be ideal as you may end up just having to drop your prices to compete in the industry which may not benefit you at all. So before you begin fully developing your product or service, review your competitor research and take a look at what they are already doing. If they are selling anything similar to what you are looking to create, you need to plan on how to make this product or service different to make it stand out and become worth someone spending their money on.
STEP 5: SALES STRATEGY
Once you’ve gotten through the steps of planning out your product or service, you now need to get create a marketing strategy that will allow you to generate sales so that you don’t feel as if you created a product or service that you won’t receive return on investment on. Having a successful go to market strategy is integral for launching any thing in your business.
HOW WILL YOU MARKET YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE AS WELL AS OVERALL BRAND?
For any go-to-market strategy, you need to create a detailed strategy on how you are going to market to your brand. Where are you planning to do pre-promotion? How are you going to build anticipation? How will you further promote after you’ve launched the product or service? Building a plan ahead of time will allow you to make sure that when your product or service is launched that there is no revenue generated within the first quarter of it launching.
Many creators begin building how their marketing plan while their product is still in development. Once you have finalized what your produce and service is and begin building, start creating a pre-promotion marketing plan so that you can create content that serves as teasers. You’ll need to build out multiple phases of your blog business marketing plan for any product or service and align it with your timelines for product or service launch.
If you are not at the point where you are ready to market a product or service, create a marketing strategy for marketing your overall brand. By increasing your brand awareness prior to actually marketing and selling any product or service is super beneficial since you’ll have a community to eagerly await anything that you may end up releasing. Consider strategies that are both virtual as well as in-person to market your brand.
WHAT IS YOUR MARKETING BUDGET?
Another integral part of building out a marketing strategy is also having a budget. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘It Takes Money to Make Money‘ and that is true in all businesses. You need to invest in yourself and with a launch of a product or service, you’ll not only be investing to create the product or service, you’ll also be investing to market it. Review your overall marketing plan and attach a budget as it aligns with any ad spend that you may put it, external creation of any marketing materials, etc.
Make sure that your marketing budget also aligns with your financial goals. You won’t want to be spending a lot on marketing which then inhibits your goals and prevents you from reaching them.
I know that this is a lot, but at the end of it all, knowing your business inside and out and having a plan takes a lot of work but it grants an even bigger reward. Keep in mind that this business plan isn’t something that you need to build all in one day. As a rule of thumb, take a month to build out a blog business plan and keep in mind that not all part of your business plan are needed. If you aren’t ready to launch a service or product within the next five years, don’t include that section. And if at some point in those five years, you actually get the point that you are able to launch a product, then tackle that section then.
If you’re sitting here thinking, I am not sure whether I can do this on my own, or that you’ve tried and it’s just a lot, know that you’re not alone and you can find support. In both my influencer course and coaching options, I offer more detailed and extensive support for not only building out a blog business plan but also building out a business in various aspects.
Discover what you’ll learn in:
The Influencer Biz Course
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