Originally this post was simply going to be a post about setting up a “control journal” or “command center” for ayour blog…but.

  • .. if we are seriously treating our blog as an actual business like a magazine…or
  • …if we are using the blog as a “thinking pad” for a future business…as in my case, a bed and breakfast…then…

Perhaps what we are really doing as we sit here in our pajamas writing and researching and planning should actually be considered “running a small business” in itself…
Perhaps what we are really doing as we put together a centralized blog planner should actually be considered “creating a business plan”…

After all, it is this one set of papers that is going to give us the clear vision about…

  • who we are now
  • where we would like to be
  • how we are going to get there…

  

1.  The Big Idea—Every business plan begins with The Big Idea. 

The “Big Idea” is a topic sentence or mission statement that lays the foundation from this point forward.

First pinpoint what you are offering…is it a particular service or product, whether tangible or intangible. At this point, I am working with three ideas for a business…

  • Intangible Product—Blog
  • Service—Bed and breakfast
  • Tangible Product—Print magazine

Next identify exactly what you hope to accomplish by offering this product or service…

As a blogger, ask yourself if your main objective is to…

  • entertain and make your readers laugh
  • inspire your readers 
  •  offer advice based on your own past experience and expertise
  • teach your readers how to do something or make something

Once you have “nailed” this mission statement, print or write it as a graphic (future post perhaps) and work everything else in your “control binder” around this mission statement…just like you center everything else when brainstorming around one keyword or topic.

Muffins and Mozart is a blog that teaches my readers how to open their own bed and breakfast based on my own experiences  opening a bed and breakfast in Oxford, Mississippi…


 

2.  Branding—Know exactly where you ultimately want to position yourself in your niche’s community. Be as specific as possible.

Take time to create and build a ccomprehensive brand including a logo and motto that can be used to identify all of your tangible assets including business cards, stationery, and signs…as well as your online presence…. 

As a blogger or magazine editor,ask yourself…

  • What kind of blog posts or articles do you want to be recognized as writing the most about?
  •  What kind of reader would be attracted to this content?
  • What other topics are these readers most interested in reading about?
  • What topics do you know the most about, or at least want to seem to know the most about?. 

As an innkeeper, ask yourself…

  • Does my area draw a lot of tourists?
  • How far are specific landmarks, sports venues, and so forth targeted areas your location?
  • How far will they come to stay at your inn? 
  • How many guests will be likely to stay at my inn during a given timeframe?
  • What are anticipated trends in socio-economic status for my region?
  • What are current trends in this industry that I need to take note of?

  3.  Goals—Think about where you ultimately want to take your blog…or magazine…or B&B…or whatever…Decide how much time, money, and effort you are willing to invest in the journey.


Long-Term Goals…Ask yourself what your long-term goals are…

  • Do you hope to turn your blog into a book? 
  •  Do you want to make money from your blog? How much? What will this involve?
  • Do you want to use your blog to launch and market another product or service? 

As far as my Muffins and Magnolias blog, I would eventually like to turn my blog into three books—one a book of biographies of the “Steel Magnolias” from my Steel Magnolia Hall of Fame…another book about establishing a successful bed and breakfast…and perhaps a third book about blogging and freelance writing.

I would like to make as much money as possible from the time invested…(wouldn’t we al, honestly)… but would be perfectly content just to let my blog be nothing more than a creative outlet.

I hope to use my blog as a reference during the actual building process of my B&B and as a resource for recipes and decorating ideas and seasonal projects and so forth…

Short-Term Objectives—Once you have set long-term goals, breaking these long-term goals into short-term objectives can help you stay motivated and measure your progress. Accomplishing these smaller milestones can keep you on track and keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

Progress can be measured in terms of followers, page views, guest post opportunities, and any other similar statistic. My statistical goal right now centers on number of blog followers..

   

 4.  The Four P’s…Any goal or project can basically be broken down into the following four steps…

  1. Prepare
  2. Plan
  3. Perform
  4. Promote

1.  Prepare

  • Budget for start-up costs such as facilities and equipment.
  • Budget for ongoing expenses such as supplies and services.
  • Budget for any additional equipment you may need…such as a good camera.
  • List the tasks the required to accomplish your Big Idea. Know what additional knowledge, skills, and abilities you need to learn or develop…such as writing skills and photography.
  • List tools needed to accomplish this….such as camera and printer.
  • Start keeping track of expenses.
  • Start keeping track of monthly income.

2.  Plan—

  • Annual Editorial Calendar—This is a planner with holidays and events that you will probably write about every single year and any ideas far in the future…
  • Monthly Editorial Calendar – This is perhaps the most important section of your blog planner. Knowing exactly what needs to be done…and exactly when it needs to be completed is crucial to any business. In the context of blogging, having a list of blog post topics to be completed by a specific time is vital.
  • Weekly Planner – This should be a more in-depth version of your annual or monthly editorial calendar…including details of the posts to be written, non-writing tasks to be completed during that week, and so forth.
  • Standard Operating Procedures—Keep track of what does work and doesn’t work. keep fine-tuning this until you find exactly the right system that works for both you and your readers.

3.  Perform—This section should contain any feedback and analysis from any of your past blogs or social media that will help you see where you are gaining the most ground.

4.  Promote—This section should contain anything and everything that will help you promote your blog—such as affiliate programs, sponsors, collaborations, giveaways, purchased ads, link parties, and networking opportunities.

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