Why Every Blog Should Have a Marketing Plan

Sometime in December of 2009 as everybody started to take a look back at the last year of blogging, I decided to do the same. I was still unemployed after finishing my MBA and realized that I hadn’t used one of the major skills I acquired during my MBA, putting together a marketing plan.

As I read numerous posts about how people monetize blogs and the ongoing theme that “blogs don’t make money businesses do,” I realized businesses have marketing plans, so it seemed to make sense that my blog should have a quarterly marketing plan. In putting together that plan, I came up with several reasons why a blog needs a marketing plan. Let’s look at how a marketing plan can help take your blog up to the next level.

Goal Setting

If you’ve spent time reading any personal development literature then you are familiar with the idea of writing down goals. For some reason, any time we write down our goals, we tend to be much more likely to accomplish those goals. When I set goals for my blog I break them down into the following areas:

1) Traffic
2) Revenue
3) Networking/Relationships

I recommend that you not only set goals, but do a monthly review of your goals in a blog post, which takes me to my next point.

Accountability

When you write down your goals and share them with your readers you become accountable. Every now and then a new blogger will come across my quarterly marketing plan and I’l be reminded to get back on track with that plan. For some reason we tend to feel obligated to follow through on something we have told people we will do, even if we don’t know those people.

New Ideas

A marketing plan is one of the best idea generation tools at your disposal. Many of us sit around wondering how to monetize a blog. It was only after I sat down and did my marketing plan that I figured out how to make my first $700.00 online. You’ll be amazed at how many simple ideas you have that could actually make you money, but because you’ve never sat down and wrote them out, you’ve not followed through.

Feedback

This is something that’s incredibly powerful and useful about putting together your marketing plan. Your readers will often comment on your plan, give you ideas for changes, and enable you to make adjustments based on those comments (or point out your need for free marketing training).By sharing your marketing plan with people and gathering feedback you’re no longer operating in a vacuum which can be a really easy mistake to make.

Commitment and Consistency

In any area of our lives, the key to progress is commitment and consistency. A marketing plan is a great facilitator of commitment and consistency. As an example, I wrote down a goal of 2-4 guest post per week in my marketing plan. What is strange is that I never have been really aware of whether I was actually doing it or not. But when I decided to conduct my first 2 month review I realized I had published 14 guests posts and had several pending. In other words I actually was consistent with what I said I was going to do. The need for commitment and consistency is built into us.

Your Marketing Plan

If you have a business a marketing plan is a must. If you have a blog and you want it to turn into a real business, then a marketing plan will make that happen. What else would incorporate into a marketing plan to take your blog to the next level?

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Comments

  1. says

    I think the main thing for me is to have goals to remain accountable. My wife knows what I am aiming for this month and is constantly checking to see if I am on track to achieve my goals.
    .-= New from Tom@Market Samurai Tutorial Market Samurai Tutorial =-.

  2. says

    Couldn’t agree more, if you stick to something and are consistent, driven and accountable, I don’t see how failure is an option. Running ads on blogs is a given but i think affiliate commissions is a much better way to go. This opens up a whole can of worms regarding ethics. Are you writing to make money or are you writing for the love of it. I don’t see how it can’t be for both reasons.
    .-= New from Josiah@Ads for Blogs Photo Gallery =-.

  3. says

    Yes, you are right! We should have a proper marketing plan for our blog too. I will setup my marketing plan according to the time span. I separate the plan with long term plan which is yearly based and short term plan which is monthly based. I’m quite happy with my plan. Realistic and reachable are important so that we will not give up easily with the irrealistic plan. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= New from KS Chen 3 Criteria of Keyword Research – Google Adsense Tips =-.

  4. says

    Marketing plan is a must for any blog seeking success, and I am actually not doing it so good, but I have went through some good steps!

    I just have once advice to put in mind, it’s about time, which I consider the main challenge, so take care of time while planning, it should be a long term plan!
    .-= New from Hesham @ FamousBloggers How to Put the Kibosh on Content Scrapers & Thieves =-.

  5. says

    I agree with Davina, the plan-setting will vary between one to another, depending on the ultimate goal. It is truly amazing though, seeing that no matter what fields we’re in, gradually ‘networking’ plan is starting to get implemented in the plan book. Back in the old days, people are networking in forums, blog visits, probably a few online conversations with mIRC or ICQ.. now, the trend has totally shifted, thanks to Facebook, Twitter (Buzz? maybe?hmm..)

    As a social media blog, I too am working quite similar when it comes to traffic & networking. Each month I hope to challenge myself to undertake a task, hoping it will create momentum to my existing plans. No doubt, Commitment & Consistency are the biggest motivators. Here’s to a greater success in 2010 to all of us in realizing our marketing plans!

    @wchingya
    Social/Blogging Tracker
    .-= New from Ching Ya@Social Media Blogging 16 Facebook Applications to Boost Popularity of Facebook Fan Page =-.

  6. says

    Having a marketing Plan is a good thing. It is also important to review the Plan on a periodic basis (monthly or quarterly) to measure accomplishments and to adjust your plan as necessary. In evaluating your plan over time you should be sure to be honest in the evaluation of what you did well and what you did not-so-well. Learn and improve.
    .-= New from Mike @ Computer Tips Roku HD-XR Player – Streaming HD Video to Your TV =-.

  7. says

    Wonderful post. I feel guilty now since I haven’t really come up with a plan. I am currently blogging on a part-time basis and just going with the flow. But I suppose that if I really want to go somewhere with it, I should be more diligent.

    That being said, I do have a tendency to write down goals that I actually want to accomplish.
    .-= New from Kidgas HubPages Challenge Off and Running =-.

  8. says

    Thanks for this encouraging post. I’m certain there are tons of simple things I’m overlooking that I need to sit down and plan out. I’m going through a phase right now where I’m just too busy to get organized. Perhaps a retreat is in order.
    Thanks for sharing this! :) Have a great weekend.
    .-= New from Kiesha @ WeBlogBetter Blogger must reads – Weekly Link List (20 links) =-.

  9. says

    Sometimes a blog is just a way to express yourself and enjoy writing and connecting with others. If that is the plan for the blog, why on earth should every blog have a marketing plan? Sounds like a make work project if that is not the intent with the blog!
    .-= New from Mike King Resources February 2010 =-.

    • says

      @Mike: That’s a very fair point. I have a surfing blog where I write about random things and I don’t really have any intention of monetizing that blog. So “every blog” might be a bit overgeneralized. If it’s just a passion project with no intention of ever making money, then a marketing plan might not be necessary.

  10. says

    A marketing plan for my blog and myself have been on my To Do List for months. I must really make it a priority.

    The great thing about websites is that you can actually track your marketing strategies with analytics and click-through rates.

    How is your guest posting strategy working for you?
    .-= New from Dr. Kal Obesity In America =-.

  11. says

    Very nice post. It is an absolute necessity to have a marketing plan for any business and if that business includes a blog the marketing plan should cover the goals of the blog. I have found that focus and consistent effort on the plan are even more important than the plan but the plan must come first. Great job of reminding us.

  12. says

    Very well put, Mr. Rao. I didn’t have this kind of foresight when I got started. I mean I did have a marketing plan, but it wasn’t as properly thought out and put together as it should’ve. Hopefully, others follow your advice and don’t make the same rookie mistakes as me.

    Till then,

    Jean

  13. says

    In marketing site we should have a marketing plan. We need to set our goal, time management, Think something new which useful and more interesting to the public.Keep it up the good works remain to have a positive outlook in life. More power to your site! G_d bless ;-)
    .-= New from Kate The truth behind mobile deals free gifts =-.

  14. says

    @I agree with Mike King. If you’re into blogging as a means of making any amount of income at all then having a business plan is the way to go. If you blog because it’s your passion and you don’t have a monetized blog then developing a social networking strategy makes sense.

    Spending your day bunny hopping from one social media site to another retweeting, stumbling and voting up each and every one of your “followers” and “friends” posts ie. the same damn posts on mulitple sites every day is a colossal time suck that’s best left to those who are into gaming.
    .-= New from timethief YouTube and Google Tips from Matt Cutts =-.

  15. says

    Good thoughts Rao! Thumbs u for you!
    The problem for today’s blogger is that they put Revenue in mind first and then think of traffic and writing posts :D
    So they should follow the pattern as you mentioned. Traffic first and then that Traffic will result in revenue. Thanks for your strategy!
    Farhan just posted SAMAA TV Channel

  16. says

    I think that commitment and consistency part is quite crucial. In fact, I think it’s because most people don’t follow these two most important ingredients when they wnat to start blogs.

  17. says

    Srinivas,
    The message of this post is important for people who are just getting into blogging or new to starting any kinds of businesses whether online or offline, so thank you for writing about this topic.

    We should also remember that marketing plans are not just something you do at the start of the year or before the launch of your business, but it’s something you have to review again and again.

    And with the pace of changes in internet technology and changes in consumer attitudes, it may be something you may need to rethink every week!

    Just a year ago, blogs with good text content and maybe photos were great traffic drivers already, but now consumers are looking for slide presentations, videos, and facebook fan pages!

    Video marketing is even heading to the mobile platform. And more and more sales pages, landing pages, and marketing e-mails contain videos or link to how-to video guides. Even twitter is coming up with technologies to make mobile videos more sharable in real time!

    So in every marketing plan, there must be time and resources allocated for taking advantage of changes in marketing platforms and how your target audience would want to access and consume content.
    Matt White just posted Website Design Basics