Project Planning is often the most difficult thing for Bloggers. We’re creative types! When we have an idea, we want to run with it. But in almost every case, taking the time to really think about your idea and how to make it come alive will give your blog the roots it needs for longevity.
I didn’t come to this conclusion easily. In fact, I have many, many (many, many) blogs in my WordPress graveyard. The demise of each can be boiled down to one essential fact… I ran out of ideas and didn’t know how to move forward. My last attempt was this very blog – http://www.myhouseofzing.ca – and the essential difference was that I took my time to plan it out. Now, over two years later, I’m still excited to create new content.
There are four categories for Project Planning that make the most sense for Bloggers, which I describe below. I like to use the analogy of an umbrella to help conceptualize how they work and why they’re important.
STEP ONE: What is your BIG IDEA?
Setting a goal for your blog seems like an easy enough task but we often skip it. In our heads, we equate an idea with a goal but in reality, they’re not the same thing at all. An idea is really just a wish, the spark of something you want to do. On the other hand, a goal is the object of that wish and what you want to achieve.
If we think of an umbrella, the goal would be the top portion that keeps you dry. Sometimes, it’s the most decorative part, the thing people see and think about when they imagine an umbrella. Setting a goal, much like the top of the umbrella, only requires you to picture it… see what it could look like in your head. For example, a goal might be:
To provide readers with a place to learn more about how to create inexpensive DIY projects for seasonal decor. Recreate my mother's traditional Italian recipes using an Instant Pot. A place for working moms to get advice, tips and tricks that help them balance their busy lifestyle.
Your goal can – and should – be big and bold. But even though it’s the most evident and exciting part of your plan, it wouldn’t work if it didn’t have the other components supporting it, much like the top of the umbrella that is really only a piece of fabric with no backbone.
STEP TWO: Set your SMART Objectives
At a very basic level, an objective is just an action. But a SMART objective is SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, REALISTIC and TIME-BOUND. This is especially important for Bloggers because a SMART objective (sometimes called a SMART goal) will help keep you on track and put structure around your actions. Here’s a cool little video that helps explain how to write SMART objectives.
Let’s think about our umbrella again. If the top is your goal, your objectives are the spokes that hold it up. Without those spokes, the umbrella top would fall flat. In much the same way, SMART objectives will help support your blog goal. For example:
To create two DIY holiday projects for under $20 that will be published within the first three weeks of November. Collaborate with three pasta manufacturers within the first six months of launching the blog that will provide me with product I can use to create six recipes. Rotate content around four topics - food, family, self-care and parenting advice - each month, one per week, for the first year of blogging.
Ultimately, your SMART objectives will make sure the goal of your blog doesn’t fall apart. When is the time you’re most likely to throw out an umbrella? When one of the spokes becomes damaged or breaks. The same risks exist for your blog.
STEP THREE: What is your STRATEGY?
I find that the strategy step is often the most difficult part to remember. And that makes sense because once you have a goal and objectives, we want to jump right to our tactics and get a move forward. But wait!! Strategy always comes before tactics because you need a roadmap to get you there.
On an umbrella, the strategy would be the handle that leads to your goals and objectives. In reality, it’s the most touched part of the umbrella, right? Without the handle, you wouldn’t know in which direction to open your umbrella. Same goes for your strategy because it’s one sentence in your plan that will map your direction. A good strategy statement might sound like this:
Only use supplies for DIY projects that can be purchased from Amazon. All recipes must be gluten free and have a vegetarian option. Provide a quote from a real-world mom to understand her perspective in each post.
Strategies don’t need to be big, complicated things. They just need to give you a “handle” on what you want to do to support your goals and objectives.
STEP FOUR: Develop your TACTICS
Here is where we have all the fun! Tactics are all the “things” you’re going to do to make your blog successful. It’s where you can be creative and try different things to see what works… And sometimes, learn what doesn’t work.
Now that you have an umbrella, I want you to think of the raindrops as those little things that prove your umbrella works. If your umbrella didn’t work, you’d get wet. If your tactics don’t work, you won’t achieve your goal. Each tactic should have one purpose, similar to a checklist or to-do list. For example:
Subscribe to Amazon Prime Affiliate Program Set up a Pinterest Account to showcase recipes Follow and engage with 10 other mom-bloggers on Instagram
Just like rain, the amount of tactics you manage can change from time-to-time. Sometimes you might be managing a huge rainfall of tactics while at other times, you may only have a small shower. Regardless, always keep in mind that a tactic is only worth doing if it will help you achieve your goal. Need some help coming up with ideas? Check out these 120 Marketing Tactics for Blogging Success to get you started.
Becoming a blogger and being a blogger is oftentimes the difference between wanting to write and knowing what to write about. A carefully thought out Project Plan will help you figure that out and create a strong foundation for your blog. Always remember to carry that umbrella!
You may find 5 Things You Need to Know for Social Media Success to be helpful in creating your Project Plan and SWOT Your Blog! My #1 Blogging Tip as a useful tool once you’ve been blogging for about a year.
Still have a question? Feel free to leave a comment below… I’m here to help!