In marketing, we create plans for just about everything you can think of – marketing plans, advertising plans, sales plans, new product development plans, you name it, we’ve got a plan for it. As bloggers, we can leverage that planning craze by developing plans for our blogs.
Following are five tips to help you create a blog plan that will make your long-term blogging success more realistic and less overwhelming.
- Keep your goals attainable: One of the most important parts of any business or marketing plan is to make sure your objectives are quantifiable and attainable. The same holds true for a blog plan. Each goal should be quantified, and a timeline should be attached to it (more about timelines in tip #2 below). Some examples include: number of subscribers, number of posts per day, number of page views, number of unique visitors, number of incoming links, Google page rank, ad revenue generated, etc.
- Create a map of how to reach your goals with specific milestones: Creating goals is useless without a clear path defined to reach those goals. Naturally, that path may shift and change over time to adapt to changing markets (or in a blogger’s case, the changing blogosphere), so flexibility is an inherent requirement to a business (or blog) plan. Your road map should include strategies and specific tactics you plan to implement on your way to reaching your end goals. For example, strategies to reach a traffic-related goal might include specific social bookmarking, forum participation or networking tactics. Remember, your map should be specific and realistic in order to be meaninful and actionable.
- Research the market: For a business to be successful, you need to understand where it will add value and how it will attract customers. The same holds true for blogs. You need to understand who will want to read your blog and where to find them, so you can make them aware of your blog, convince them to visit then hopefully, retain them with great content and two-way conversation (i.e., customer loyalty).
- Create a test plan: No one knows the perfect recipe for blogging success, but one thing is certain, you can’t be afraid to take risks. One way to mitigate risk is by creating a test plan where you’ll determine what you’ll test, when and why to move closer to achieving your goals. For example, you might want to test ad types, sources or placement. Alternatively, you could test post frequency, SEO techniques, traffic-building techniques and more. The blogosphere is everchanging, and your test plan should be a moving instrument as well.
- Stick to your plans: While you’ll certainly need to retool your blog plan over time, it’s essential that you stay patient and don’t expect too much too soon. As you hit each milestone in your blog plan, you’ll be able to celebrate a short term success then continue to drive forward to reach your long-term objectives. The most important lesson to keep in mind is this: don’t give up too soon. While a small minority of bloggers find sudden online fame and fortune, the vast majority of bloggers work long and hard to carve their paths to success. Look at yourself as an entrepreneur who is trying to build a new business venture then commit yourself to the long-term success of that business – in this case, your blog.
Do you have any other tips for creating a blog plan that can help bloggers achieve long-term success?