2012 is barreling down on us, and many of us are thinking about the plans we have for our blogs this year (I know I am). You might be thinking about the goals you have for the year, or you might just know that you want to “grow” your blog but not know how to do it.
You know what will help? A strategic marketing plan.
One of the best jobs I ever had was an a non-profit art center. Each January we got together as a staff for the week to set our goals for the year, and to update the five-year plan for the agency. As the Marketing Coordinator, I was responsible for the branding issues and making sure that the plans we had stayed on target for our company’s mission. So how did we do it?
The first thing we did was brainstorm, then we talked about how it fit into our mission, then we talked about practical steps to take to make it happen. This formula is perfect for marketing blogs, too. Here are the five top things that can help you establish a Marketing Plan for YOUR blog.
Create A Mission Statement 1 of 5Few of us have a clear goal when we start blogging. One of easiest ways to help focus a strategy is to create a mission statement. A mission statement answers the questions of "Why?" when it comes to your blog. It could be to educate, inform, challenge, or enlighten people. It could be simply a place to share your writing. One of the my favorite blogs, The Extraordinary Ordinary , has her mission statement clear on her blog in her subtitle: "My heart. My gut. My story." You know exactly what her blog is about there, right? So step back from your blog and consider what motivates you to blog, and polish that up into a clear statement that guides you and helps you set up goals.
Hopes and Dreams 2 of 5After you've set up your mission statement it's time to talk about your hopes and dreams. You want a million pageviews a month? You want to be featured in a major magazine or newspaper? You want a guest post from a well-known blogger? Maybe you want to earn five figures in sponsored posts. Whatever it is, allow yourself to dream. Write them down. Don't be embarrassed by your dreams. Go for it. Dream big.
Get Real 3 of 5Okay. So, yes, now you know your hope and dreams. Now it's time to get realistic. How you can turn those big dreams into small goals? It's not likely that you're going to leap up to a million pageviews a month, but... you can certainly increase your readership. What's realistic? Do you want to increase readership by 10%? 25%? If so, make that a goal. What other goals do you want to have? More posts per week? More sponsored posts? Set these goals down on your list, exactly. Make some clear, realistic goals for yourself.
Action Plan 4 of 5This is the nitty gritty. You need to create the plan you will follow to make your goals happen. Want to post more frequently? Make yourself an editorial calendar. Want to do more paid sponsored posts? Decide how many outreach emails you're going to send a week to try to reach that goal. Want more readers? Decide what strategy you're going to use to achieve that, such as comments on other blogs, using SEO tactics, utilizing social networks make a schedule.
Get To Work! 5 of 5Now it's time to do the work. You have your goals, you have your action plan, now you just need to follow through. Be sure to track your success too, so you can tweak your plan as the year goes on. Your action plan shouldn't be written in stone; flexibility is a big part of success too. These good practices will quickly become habits, and you will find yourself growing more confident as the year goes on.