Guide to An Effective Blog Marketing Plan, Part 1

March 30, 2015
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Written by Heather Buen

This is Part 1 of a Two-Part Series. Click here for Part 2 about determining your goals and creating a social media content calendar!

Do you have a marketing plan for your blog? Do you schedule out your social media posts in advance?

When I started blogging over at Dallas Single Mom, it was 2010 and I primarily blogged for fun. It was a great outlet. As a single parent, I juggled a lot of things and writing or blogging was my outlet. As I started making the blogging rounds, I realized that I could combine my education, my sales and marketing experience along with my love of writing and really use this platform as a way to not only market my skills but to provide real advice and expertise to other single parents. It was then that I decided to take my blog to another level and to monetize it. Monetizing your blog is only as effective as the traffic you bring in and the engagement of your readers. Even if you think your blog is small, you can still use a marketing plan so that you are using your time efficiently when it comes to marketing and social media.

With all growth, there are always going to be growing pains. While I still like to write spontaneous posts every once in a while, trying to reach my audience via social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram is proving to be more and more difficult as our society gets more Internet savvy. I like to call it Internet normal. Social media is now a part of our daily routine like checking email is and planning and creating a content calendar is key. It can be frustrating to miss deadlines for a paid client (I’m guilty) or to send out a Tweet and get little to no response to it. I use a lot of analytics in my marketing so that I can learn about my audience and what they respond to and don’t respond to. This means I’m providing information about my blog that my readers want to read about and it helps me provide concrete analytics to brands that I work with. It’s a win-win.

How to create your own effective online marketing plan

Your online marketing plan can be very simple. You don’t need elaborate tools to come up with an effective plan. I use this same methodology with my students in my Integrated Web Marketing and Analytics class at the University of Texas at Arlington. Without a systematic method, there will be no way for them to measure their goals and, more than likely, many of my students are guessing as to how well their site is performing. Here are a few things that you’ll need for your plan:

  1. Use a Calendar – You can easily use any kind of calendar you want. Use the one in Gmail, Evernote or any other popular software. Use a paper calendar if you want just use one.
  2. Time Management – Be realistic with your time. If it takes two hours to do a blog post while you also have to pick up kids from school or drop off files at work you could find yourself in a time crunch. I have managed my time by creating post templates so that it’s easy to begin writing right away.
  3. Commitment to your marketing plan – If you are not going to commit or use the plan, why create it?
  4. Strategy Building – This is a very important part of the plan that ties into goals. What is your ultimate goal for your blog? Are you trying to grow your audience? Do you want to monetize? Do you want to share your passion with others? Get straight on what you want to accomplish in the overall picture of your blog and compare your current activities with your future activities.
  5. Setting reachable goals – This is the hard part. Create realistic goals. I like to create 30 day and 90 day plans. In the strategy building phase, I may have 12 month goals but the day-to-day activities and habits are done in 30 and 90 day increments because they are easier to handle. Longer term goals can be broken up this way as well. If I want to grow my Instagram following, I may give myself 30 days. I will read up on everything I need to know about Instagram, follow fantastic Instagram accounts with lots of followers and apply the same principles and techniques. If the goal is to grow my followers by 20% or by 30 followers, I would say those are reachable goals and doable on a 30 day plan. You can change the numbers but it’s a way to set reachable goals and then tackle the next item. After you increase Instagram followers, you may want to leverage that following in a brand pitch etc.

How do the top marketers create their online marketing plans?

There is “no one size fits all” solution for your social media marketing plans. Some are great at Facebook while others are great at Twitter. Some are great at Vlogging and Vine while others want to stick to blogging. It all depends on what your strengths are. If you have a weakness, you may want to consider improving upon that.

When you are marketing, always keep in mind that you are engaging with your reader by being helpful and not promotional. There is a fine balance for bloggers when it comes to both. While it’s great to work with brands to promote their products, your commitment and relevance are to your readers. Work with brands that will help your reader.

Your social media efforts should support your blog’s image and drive traffic. You can do this in a number of ways. I’ve already mentioned Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram as great sites that act like community and mini-blogging sites. You can also use LinkedIn, Tumblr, commenting on other blogs, message boards, forums, content aggregators, media sharing, groups and many others. Content aggregators like StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit help people find content according to keywords and subject. Media sharing sites like YouTube, Flickr and Vine help you share media.

About the Author: Heather Buen is a Dallas based “Creative Online Innovator” and a local Dallas celebrity blogger at her blog, Dallas Single Mom and a host of other lifestyle blog brands. Heather provides marketing consulting to small businesses and teaches web marketing and analytics at the University of Texas at Arlington. This mom of three is also a freelance journalist and web content developer.

Photo by Maria Reyes-McDavis

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