My mind map is so ugly! This is like the ugly christmas sweater contest and I just won. But this is really how I do it.

Your blog is an income generating machine, but you have to start thinking of it like a funnel. At the top, I brainstorm the blog posts I’ll be doing (I like to break it into buckets so I know I’m doing 1 post of each per week, but your method may differ). Then I look at social media. Where will I post? How often? What kind of content?

The blog posts and social media are all in grey because that’s my traffic sources, how I bring people into my world as a blogger.

Below that I have an ebook… but it could be anything. Insider trick: having a free giveaway will increase your new subscribers by 5-10x. Spend a good amount of time working on this, I usually take several months. You want it to be awesome and timeless. That will help you quickly get 1,000s of new subscribers in the first year or two.

Speaking of subscribers, my mailing list is in green. That’s the engine of my business. Everything I do is around that little detail. I may have half a dozen social media platforms, tons of followers on RSS, thousands of clicks every day, but the main metric you want to focus in on is that mailing list number. It will drive everything.

And finally in pink, you have the income sources. I plan these a year in advance. Products that I will build and create and sell. You can’t make a living from a blog any other way – not through ads (you’ll get paid less than the server costs) nor through affiliates (unless you want a really spammy site) – so the only reasonable option while still maintaining your voice is to choose a product, plan for it, and build it.

Below my main products I’ve also brainstormed ways I can offer additional services. This won’t be a major source of income but if you get big enough you will get asked, so it’s smart to have that factored in.

That’s it. Try it for your site. Questions to ask yourself:

1. What social media platforms do I want to use?
2. What kind of specific content will I share? If it’s Instagram, it’s either photos or videos but be more specific. What kinds of photos? Will it be all recipe posts? Will you have a theme? Will you share from other accounts? Decide on your strategy now.
3. What kind of content will I write about on my blog? I recommend having between 3-10 content buckets – no more and no less – and having an idea of how that will work over the next year or so.
4. What will your mailing list giveaway item be?
5. What products will you sell? I recommend planning to create two per year. That’s about what you can handle, still do well and have enough time to create and market properly.
6. What additional services can you offer to readers who become customers?

Questions about this? Ask Christine in the Hello, Creative Genius Facebook group.