How To Write A Blog Business Plan (Free Template!)
Planning, strategy, tactics are all great words and even sound sexy. But unfortunately, great words and sexy alone is not enough in business or blogging. You need an actual blog business plan if you want to convert your blog into a successful business.
Why blog business plan?
For bloggers – writing your blog business plan will help you create that vision, direction and strategic transition from blog to successful business.
For people already in a business – Focusing on a blog will help you drive a juicy traffic and get more leads and customers, so it is recommended to plan the right blogging strategy and create a blog a business plan.
For newbie – If you are thinking of a passive income or even to make a living out of it then one of the best ways to that today is to start a blog and that bring you to write a blog business plan .
Wait, I’m not going to dump on you that boring business plan that I learned during my MBA classes or some rubbish and impossible statements and frameworks where you will ask:
“Chintan, How long? Can we do it tomorrow?”
In fact, I am going to share actionable practical steps that you need to involve in your blog business plan. Once you finished writing your business plan for the blog, you will have a clear picture of what you want to do, when you want to do, how you want to do and what will you do if it doesn’t work.
Let’s ring the bell and start the class. So here are the eight main steps to be included into your blog business plan.
First of all, I’ve got a digital blog business plan template for you. It is ready built, all you need to do is to fill the blocks in the blog business plan template and you are done.
And the best thing is, it is free to you. Just click on the image below to grab it.
Step: 1 Executive Summary
The executive summary is your first checkpoint in your blog business plan journey. This is a brief description of your blog and business strategy. You will be writing about all of the below points more in detail later in the blog business plan but this short summary will help anyone reading your plan to understand your blog business strategy. Think of the executive summary as a covering letter for your CV.
So, include these points:
- Brief description of your blog.
- Few sentences about your niche.
- What’s unique about your blog.
- What product or service are you going to sell or monetization methods you are going to use.
As I said you will be writing about your product and monetization strategy in detail later in the business plan, so at this point just use a small synopsis. Few sentences are more than enough.
- Your blog growth
This part is all about your current growth – If you are already selling some product then write revenue figures, if you don’t have any product then write about your social followers, monthly page views, etc.
If you are a newbie and don’t have anything to say about a blog growth then you can write about your skills and experience that you will use to build a profitable blog and successful business. ( read this post and you will learn how to create growth model for your blog to grow your blog faster)
- Your blog and business objective or goals
If you are in my email list for long enough, then you should have heard me shouting this numerous times: ‘decide your goals, work on a single goal at a time, finish and move onto a next one.
I recommend you to split your goals or objective into three phases. Short term goals (1 months), medium term goals (6 months) and long-term goals (1 year). Basically, it is all about what you want to achieve. For example, a certain amount of followers, page views, monthly or yearly revenue etc.
Step: 2 Blog Differentiation Strategy
In this step, you can write why you are different, unique in your nice in detail. The best way to leverage this step is by showing these three things:
- Your industry or niche is worth…
- Gap in your blogging niche or problem with other blogs’ content.
- Market or Audience needs – what your audience is desperately looking for
- Your solution (remember one thing – the world doesn’t need more information, it has plenty. In fact, it needs a right guidance. Your blog should guide normal people like you and me. For example, this post is giving you a right guidance on how to write a blog business plan).
Step: 3 Audience Research
This is a core step and if you get this wrong then your blog is likely to end up used by crickets to play cricket and you there as a referee. In short, you can’t afford to get this step wrong.
I don’t want to keep you hanging by just saying you need to write this or that. This is a core part so I’ll help you to learn the right methods and the way to do your audience research :), so I’ll go in a bit detail.
So, the first points you need to write in this step are: who are your audiences, where will you find them and what audience research methods you are going to use. Let’s go into more detail for each of these three steps.
In order to know who your audiences are
Try to create a persona of your audience. It is like painting a picture of your audience. Use these points to describe your audience persona.
- What is their age?
- What is their gender?
- What is their interest or hobbies? (the easiest way to find anyone’s interest is by asking them what they do on Saturday afternoon or during their free time).
- Where do they live?
- What are their future goals? (example: losing weight, gain weight, make extra income, travelling, learning new language, saving money etc.)
Once you finish this exercise you will be able to describe your audience like this – My ideal audience is both male and female aged between 22 and 36 living in London who are interested in reading blogs, books and want to get six pack abs.
Now it is time to find your audience – read this post and you will learn how to find your perfect audience.
So now to understand them and their requirements
There are many ways to do an audience research but the method I recommend is a survey method.
The survey can be done either online or offline or you can use both ways. There are many websites where you can create free surveys but I recommend SurveyMonkey because it is simple, clean and free.
Now you might have some questions about how to do a survey, where to position and what to ask. I recommend sending surveys through email or blog post.
Questions you can ask in your survey include
“What would you like to learn?”
“What would you like to accomplish in the next six months?”
“What is the biggest problem you are facing in accomplishing this goal?”
If you are a newbie then you might want to use a different method that is checking good and bad reviews of a similar product or some product or book in your niche. For example, if you are planning to launch a fitness blog then you might want to read reviews of some kind of supplements. If you are planning to launch a food blog then you might want to read reviews of some recipe book.
In the worst case, you can find 5 people (your colleagues, friends, family, neighbours, meetup groups, online friends) and simply ask them these questions and you will get an idea of where are you standing.
Step: 4 Audience Building Strategy
You have figured out whom you are going to serve and who is your ideal audience for your blog. It is now time to write about the strategies you are going to use to build your audience and community.
There are many ways to grow your audience and build your community and engagement. However, in the blog business plan, you should write only the core audience building strategies.
Grow your audience using social media
Based on your audience persona, you can decide on your social media strategy. Decide which social media platform is worth investing your time and money in.
That is why audience research is very important. Most people get stuck at this point, after writing some flowery words, because they don’t know who their audience is and cannot figure out the right social media platform which will help them to grow it. Thus, if you are not sure who you are targeting, go back to step three and put more quality time but do it properly.
Grow your audience by building your email list
This one is no brainer. I have been shouting out every day – “Build your email list” (it is good that my local council has not picked me up yet because of all the shouting 🙂 )
Capturing emails and building your email list is a MUST, if you are not doing this then you are doing it wrong.
Grow your audience by branding
Write a guest post. You can start with small and then pitch the bigger boys or girls (authority sites), write and get featured in media publications, get interviewed and get featured on the podcast.
I have recently been featured on Lifehack, The Brand Journalism Advantage Podcast and Product Hunt. Media publication helps you to build a brand and ultimately help you grow your audience.
Step: 5 Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis is a very important analysis in your blog business plan or any other business plan. You want to check and make sure what your neighbours are up to :), of course for your good. Very important, you don’t need to copy what they are doing because blog or business is like an iceberg – you are seeing what you can see but there is a deeply hidden ice peak under the water.
Instead of copying; take a moment to find and analyse why that particular strategy worked for your competitor. There are chances that the same strategy will not work for you because of many reasons, so it is important to find out the root and analyse why it worked for them.
The easiest way to analyse at a ground level is by finding the strengths and weaknesses
There are several direct and indirect competitors’ blogs in the market. Strengths and weaknesses of each of those direct competitors’ blogs should be analysed separately.
Thus, your first step should be to find five direct and five indirect competitors. After that, analyse the strength and weakness of your direct competitors.
Few ways to find the competitor’s blog or business:
- Type your niche keyword into Google search with quotes, for example, “Fitness blogs” or “Fashion blogs” or “Lifestyle blogs” or “healthy food blog”.
- Type your niche keyword into Facebook and search for Facebook groups. Now, join some of those groups and silently watch the show. Watch the people who are commenting, posting and then try to visit their sites to see what they are doing, what is working and what’s not for them. This way you will be able to find some of the right competitors’ blogs and their strategies.
List of things to research after finding the competitors’ blogs:
Once you know who your direct competitors are, it is then time to list their strengths and weaknesses.
The things you should research and look for when writing the strengths and weaknesses –
- Their traffic strategy – find and analyse their major traffic sources.
- Their blogging posts theme – See what type of blog posts are they posting often and try to understand why are they posting that particular type of blog posts.
- Their social media followings.
- Their monetization strategy – see what type of products are they selling, price points of those products.
- Their brand image, have they been featured in/on any publications?
Follow these steps and you will have an amazingly clear understanding of your market and direct competitors.
Step: 6 Monetization Strategy
Bravo, now it is time to write everyone’s favourite monetization strategy. There are so many ways you can monetize a blog and turn it into a profitable online business.
Remember one thing and lock that into your MIND.
The blog is not a business. The blog is a SUCCESSFUL and PROFITABLE medium to drive traffic and revenue/income to your business.
You can call your blog a business when you successfully drive consistent income/revenue on a monthly basis.
So here are some lucrative ways you can use to monetize your blog:
- Affiliate offers or products.
- White label affiliate products.
- Ads or Advertisements (I’m not a big fan and do not recommend this monetization method, it takes a lot of time to generate revenue/income. You need to have hundreds of thousands of visitors to make a good income from this.)
Whatever product or monetization method you decide to use, this is a list of things you must pay attention to when writing and planning your monetization strategy.
- What kind of affiliate products or offers will you offer?
- How will you position your affiliate products or offers?
- If you are thinking of selling an e-products, you then need to think and decide on what type of courses are you going to sell? What would be the price? How many modules? etc.
- If you are thinking of selling white label affiliate products, then you need to see what is the cost to build the white label product? Profit margin? Delivery and payment method?
- If it is an affiliate product, find out more about commission payment frequency and mode of payment?
Step: 7 Blog Marketing And Sales Strategy
This step is crucial if your marketing and sales strategy is not up to the point; It means that whatever you have built or researched so far is just going to be wasted.
In this step, you should include things such as:
What marketing channels are you going to use to promote your blog and product?
You need to find out exactly which social media platform you are going to use to promote your blog and product. It is not just about randomly deciding the social media platform, in fact, you need to understand and make a decision based on where your audience hangs out. It could be that Instagram social media marketing is good for your blog or it could be Pinterest marketing. It really depends on your blog niche and your audience interest.
You also need to decide what type of content you would be designing to serve your audience both on your blog and on social media platforms. You can check more about different blog post ideas here.
Also, you need to decide and include how often are you going to post on social media. How many blog posts are you going to write per week? It is advisable to create a clean promotion calendar.
I believe in automation, of course, you don’t need to automate everything but considering automation in your business will save you plenty of time and will ultimately increase your productivity. You will feel less overwhelmed and you can focus on growth strategy – future growth of your blog and business. In the beginning, you can think of social media post auto scheduling, email autoresponders for your email list etc.
Launch strategy for newbie
If you have a blog up and running then it is great but, if you are a newbie then you have to decide when are you going to launch the blog? Website domain name and server provider? What kind of tools are you going to use such as WordPress site, Google apps – Gmail for the custom domain, Mailchimp for email marketing or ActiveCampaign for email marketing or GetResponse (I recommend GetResponse and ActiveCampaign because I have personally used both tools and I’m still using these in my business)? etc.
*If you want to buy a domain name and server, Bluehost is an ideal option. They have a great backup feature which helps restore your data if anything goes wrong.
*If you want to use Gmail for the custom domain, Google apps is an answer it helps you use Gmail for your custom domain name. E.g. @yourdomainname.com I have a lot of discount vouchers for Google apps, and I’m more than happy to share those vouchers with you. It will give you 20% off your Google apps purchase. Sign up and I’ll send you a voucher.
*If you want to use email marketing tool to build an email list and send the weekly newsletter, I recommend starting with GetResponse and as you grow you can move to sophisticated and automation option such as Active Campaign for email marketing.
(Links with * sign are affiliate links, if you are buying using these links I will get some percent of affiliate commission at no extra cost to you 🙂 )
Growth Strategy for your blog and business
How are you going to grow your blog and business? How are you going to monetize your audience at a bigger level? How are you going to grow you audience? etc.
Maybe, you want to sell high-end price products, maybe you want to launch e-courses multiple times a year, maybe you want to design a new e-course, maybe you want to get featured or be interviewed by Podcast to grow your audience, maybe you want to write for authority sites to grow your audience.
There are a lot of ways to grow your blog and business, so brainstorm and write the growth strategies in your blog business plan.
Step: 8 Exit Strategy
Nothing is easy in life but nothing is impossible to achieve. Business will give you freedom, lifestyle and wealth that everyone dreams of but you have to hustle.
None of the things in life are secured and guaranteed and same applies to business. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but this doesn’t mean that it is not achievable or possible.
Even babies take 18 years to grow and become adults and after which they have an opportunity to monetize. Even then some remain unemployed but others make millions.
So, in this step, write what will you do if your blog or business doesn’t work? What essential steps will you take to exit and stop further losses.
These are certain things you can consider when writing your exit strategy section
- Work on your marketing strategy and product strategy. Optimise and tweak for a better outcome.
- If you are short of funds, then one of the easiest ways to get the funds today is by crowdfunding. There are lots of platforms available with Kickstarter being one of the best known. You can launch a crowdfunding campaign for your product/ business for a small funding. I know some people who have successfully launched crowdfunding campaigns for products such as books and with as small amount requirements as $5,000. Nothing is wrong with trying, you are not going to lose anything here.
- You can speak with some businesses who are interested in taking over your blog or business, again absolutely possible. Anyone will be happy to buy a ready-built audience. I would buy or invest into a blog if it has a good amount of audience and traffic.
- Last option would be to shut down 🙁 and work on some new product, or business idea.
Now you are ready to turn your blog into a profitable online business. I have designed a digital blog business plan template for you, it is ready built, all you need to do is just fill in the blocks in the blog business plan template and you are done.
And the best thing about it, it’s free to you!
Click on the image and sign up to get your free blog business plan template.
Also, in few months time, I am going to launch something amazing which will take your blog, business to a completely new level. No B.S, no gimmicks, just pure pimples free blog and business strategy. Sign up now and you will be the first to be notified.