[column_left] [/column_left] [column_right] Starting a blog and turning it into a business is no easy feat. It's even harder when you don't have a solid plan to push content out.
The truth is, building content is only half the battle.
There is promotion, partnerships, events, taxes, etc. It really is a business and if you treat it like one your chances of success are so much higher.
In this article, we're going to cover ways in which you can plan your blog like a true #bosslady. [/column_right]
Build an Editorial Calendar
Every single magazine that you've ever read has a content calendar. It's basically an outline for the theme of your content for each month. The theme should be closely associated with what your blog is about. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Vogue has a one page editorial calendar that outlines the theme for each month and the closing date for potential advertisers.
If you're willing to go the extra mile, I would recommend creating a theme and add bullet points of topic themes that you'd like to write about. This will make it easier when you're developing the content you want to create for the month.
Know Your Tax Write-Offs
Whether it's your side hustle or you're going at it full-time, be sure that you keep on top of things you can write off on your taxes. This is anything from work space in your home, internet, cell phone, gas milage, continuing education, events and trade shows. Depending on what your blog is about, you can write things off that are specific to your business. Let's say you run a food blog. You could write off travel and restaurant expenses if you developed a blog piece or video piece about it. Point is - know what you can/can't write off. Even better? Get with a local tax company for advice.
Consistency in Posting
If you want to build a true following, you must develop a consistent posting schedule. This takes the guesswork out for your readers so they know when to return to the site. Grab a weekly/monthly planner or go into Google and block out dates that you'd like to write and post your blogs.
I use Google Calendar to plan out my editorial calendar. I'm able to access my entire schedule from my phone and share important blog pieces and partnerships with others easily. One of the features I love is the ability to create as many calendars you want and color code them. This allows you to see the full month calendar and which topics have more blog pieces lined up.
Distribution of Content
Writing an informative, valuable blog post is fantastic for readers. What most people neglect to do is distribute their content through multiple channels of communication. Write the blog post and try to create an infographic, a video, a downloadable worksheet, etc. Find unique and interesting ways to distribute your content and make the content work for you.
Sales Strategy - We mean you!
Take time to learn what your strengths and weaknesses are so that you can develop a strong elevator pitch and sales strategy. Sales strategy? Why would I need a sales strategy? Yes, you really need one. You sell yourself and your blog in everything that you push online and offline. Remember that your blog is a business and a brand. What does your brand stand for? What are your values? Why is it important for others? Find ways to develop a niche and a unique look and feel.
Some people suggest waiting to collect emails. I'm here to tell you that you should start collecting emails from the get-go. As soon as you setup your blog, don't forget to add an email collection plugin so that you can capture your readers. It's a great way to really define who is truly interested in your blog and who is just lurking.
Affiliates & Network Programs
There are plenty of affiliates and networks that you can join to leverage your blog and open it up to a larger audience. Just be sure that the network or affiliate aligns with your brand. Les Naly is part of AOL's Lifestyle Collective where there is a select group of online influencers and tastemakers who specifically blog about lifestyle. If you're blogging about beauty, technology, money, etc. make the effort to find your group and don't be afraid to reach out to them and make them aware of your site.
Network, Network, Network
If you think developing a blog is all about being online then you're dead wrong. Networking offline and attending events related to your blog is a crucial aspect of turning your blog into a business. Building your business requires real in-person human interaction and networking. It might be hard to find a good event to attend that aligns with your brand but don't lose hope. Remember that going to events and figuring out that they aren't the right fit is still a great step into finding one that is perfect for you.
Turning a blog into a business is doable, but it will require patience, hard work and time - just like any other business.
Don't lose hope and when in doubt, be sure that you're not only developing a solid plan but also executing on it to the best of your abilities.
A last and final tip is to be kind and patient with yourself. It's easy to go online and see other girls who are straight up killing it with the content and photography and feel like there is no way you're ever going to be that great. Remember that it took those girls years to develop their look. Don't compare your beginning to them because their beginning was more than likely just like yours.