Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Why Your Blog Needs a Business Plan to Make More Money
We spend countless hours conceptualizing clever posts, crafting attention grabbing headlines, connecting with our community through comments, and promoting content via social media sites.
But amidst all the madness, few of us take time to determine our direction, or devise a plan that truly allows us to reap a return on our sweat equity.
Yet one of the most common questions on writers’ bulletin boards and popular how-to sites is “How can I make money from my blog?”
Experts will tell you, there are various ways to earn pay for your say--- from selling products, to affiliate programs, to accepting ad placements.
But to optimize your efforts, your blog should ultimately have a business plan.
Here are three of the most important reasons why.
1. A business plan is a decision making tool. It helps you to approach blogging from a professional perspective that forces you to identify your short and long term goals and your ideal “customer”.
By putting it in writing, you break through your “blog fog” and become more focused and forward thinking.
2. A business plan helps to determine your structure. Will you blog as a “sole proprietor” or as part of a blogging team? Will you have multiple sites devoted to different themes, or one site that addresses an array of topics? Self-hosted, or will you blog through a free platform first, then convert? The more questions you can tackle, the easier the battle, and the more strategic you become.
3. A business plan prevents you from blogging blindly, or following gimmicks or trends that may not be in the best interest of your business objectives or belief system. Some examples might be “over-sharing,” sponsoring “comments” contests, give-aways, or embedding videos as blog posts.
Now that you know why, here’s what it should include.
WHO---Who is your target audience? Readers or clients? In other words, will it be businesses or other writers? Beginning bloggers? Stay at home moms? Fiction fanatics? The answer to these questions will determine your “voice“, language, formality, and level of content. It will also influence which blogs to guest post to attract clients and potential followers.
WHAT---What is your marketing plan? Will you promote your blog primarily through guest posts at top-dog sites? Hit people up through Twitter and other social media forums? Engage in ad exchanges with other bloggers? How much money is in your marketing budget? These are all valid issues worth assessing.
WHY---What’s your purpose for being in the blogosphere? This may seem simple, but in essence, it isn’t. For example, social service agencies may blog to increase awareness of an important social cause, while celebrities may blog to increase their fan base. Some writers blog to entertain, while others blog to educate. There are even those who use their platforms to vent. There is no right or wrong reason. However, knowing why you blog shapes your expectations, and helps you to stay committed during challenging times.
HOW---How will advertisers benefit from advertising at your site? What are your subscriber numbers? Your connections? Your influence? Your draw?
When I pitch to other businesses, I make sure to mention the fact that my blog has won various awards/mentions, has had a Google Rank of 4, and is linked to sites with much bigger followings like WritingWorld.com and Pocketchange lifestyle blog. And if applicable, you should share your success stories too.
There are many ways to approach a business plan, depending upon your goals, blogging personality, and personal preferences.
Just remember, that like any other money making “product,” your blog will be much more progressive and profitable if a good business plan is factored into the equation.
Your turn. Thoughts? Agree or disagree?