Whether your blog is your full-time job or just a hobby, creating a simple business plan can be beneficial to you.
Just like my previous article on creating an Editorial Calendar, there isn’t a wrong or right way to create this document, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need to do is ask yourself a few questions and do your best to find the answers.
If you get stuck, or don’t quite know what the right answer should be, don’t stress about it. The nice thing about a business plan is that you can always revisit it later on and make changes as your business or blog evolves.
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is basically a document that outlines the focus, structure and goals of your business. Bloggers can use a business plan to figure out how to turn their blog into a profitable venture, or just discover ways to grow and improve.
Why Should You Write One?
If you have a registered business, you may need a business plan to secure financing from investors or your bank. But there are other reasons for having a written plan too.
A well-written plan can keep you organized, show you what you need to accomplish and motivate you to turn your plans into reality. Not to mention that the actual writing process can help you look at your blog more critically and help you identify opportunities that you may not have noticed otherwise.
There is no set format for a business plan, so feel free to choose a format or layout that works for you.
I’ve created an outline that contains some common sections that you may want to include in your plan. You can use these questions to help you create your own blogging business plan.
1. Write an Introduction (Products & Services):
- Describe your blog in a few sentences.
- What is it about? Who writes it? Where is it written? When did you start this blog?
- Write down what makes your blog special or different.
- Do you have a niche?
- What are you offering that others are not? Why do your readers follow you? (we've got more here on finding your blog's focus or niche)
- Explain your mission.
- What are you trying to accomplish through your blog?
2. Identify Your Readers (Customers):
- Who is your target audience? Think of their demographics.
- How old are they?
- Are they mostly male or female?
- Where do they live?
- What are they interested in?
- Why are they reading your blog?
- How are you able to provide value to them?
- What needs are you able to meet?
3. Describe Your Team (Owners & Management)
- Name each contributor and give a brief description of his/her background
- Why is he/she writing for this blog? What is their motivation to write?
- What credentials do they have? What are their strengths?
- List any mentors or advisors.
- What are their skills and credentials?
- How can they help you?
4. Identify Trends and Competition (Environment)
- What growing trends are happening in your niche?
- Are there seasonal factors that affect your content?
- Who is at the top of your industry?
- Who do you admire?
5. Choose How You Will You Promote Your Content? (Marketing & Advertising)
- How will you reach your target audience?
- Will you pay for advertising or rely on word-of-mouth?
- Where will you distribute your content?
- How will you convince people that your content is unique?
6. Identify Potential Income and Expenses (Finances)
- What are you willing to spend on advertising?
- Will you pay for this weekly, monthly or annually?
- What other costs will you incur?
- Do you need to pay for business cards, web hosting, or props?
- Do you have any pre-existing income streams?
7. Plan You Path to Success (Goals & Objectives)
- Where are you headed?
- Where do you see your blog in 1 month, 1 year, 5 years
- What do you need to improve on?
- What are your top priorities?
- What does success look like to you?
- How will you know that you’ve succeeded?
- Set a few S.M.A.R.T. goals (we've got more great tips on goal setting to help!)
If my outline looks intimidating, or has sections that don’t apply to you, then go ahead and change it. Remember that you can modify your business plan to suit your needs, and then edit it as your needs change.
If you need more information on business plans, or want to see some examples, be sure to check out these resources:
- Business Planning – Canada Business Network
- Perfect Your Business Plan – RBC Royal Bank
- Create an Effective Business Plan – Business Development Bank of Canada
- Business Plan Writer – Canadian Youth Business Foundation
Creating a Blog Business Plan was written by Shareba Abdul. Shareba is a food blogger and freelance writer from the GTA who regularly contributes to FBC. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Applied Arts in Media Studies, a Diploma in Journalism, and has a passion for writing, photography, and blogging. You can check out her yummy discoveries at InSearchOfYummyness.com or connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Check out more of Shareba's posts on FBC:
- The Blogger's Guide to Writing With Integrity
- Everything Blogger's Need to Know About Nofollow Links
- Seven Ways To Speed Up Your Blog Without Spending a Penny