Create The Ultimate Blogging Plan

    blogging plan - page of text

    This is a guest post by Michael Martine of Remarkablogger

    Do you have a plan for your blog? I don’t mean a general sense of what you’ll write or an understanding of your niche, I mean a long-term plan all the way to the end game. If you’re like most bloggers, you don’t have a plan. I’m suggesting you should. It has made a world of difference for me, and I was already reasonably successful. But because of my long-term blogging plan, I know what I’m going to do down the road. Because I know what I need to do down the road, I know what I need to do now.

    My blog is also my business, where I sell one-on-one and group blog coaching via teleseminar. So my blogging plan is also my business and marketing plan. But even if your blog is pure writing content with no advertising, or you earn money via advertising, you still need a plan. Without a plan, you will operate haphazardly, which will never grow your audience very well. Deliberately gathering and keeping momentum is key for audience-building. Planning is necessary for this to happen.

    How I Created My Ultimate Blogging Plan
    I can’t tell you exactly how to create your blogging plan. Everybody’s different, and what makes perfect sense to me may sound like gibberish to you. All I can tell you is how I did it. Maybe that will work for you or inspire you. How I created my plan was by starting at the end. I asked myself: How do I want to exit out of Remarkablogger in the long run? I thought about that for a long time and when I came up with the answer, I saw what steps I had to take to get there. Those steps became milestones. For each of these milestones, I listed a series of goals I needed to accomplish to reach them. In order to reach these goals (thus accomplishing the milestone objectives) I will eventually have to redesign, add writers (it’s just me for now), and I will have to produce and market a lot of specific content. I already have the “bones” or framework in mind.

    Blogging Plans are Like a Young Tree: Flexible
    The web evolves quickly. Storms blow through on the internet. An old, grown tree is stiff and unyeilding. In heavy weather, it can be uprooted from the soft earth. What had seemed so unassailable blows over in a tough storm. This is how most people think plans should be, even though they know better. They know better because inflexible plans fail, yet it’s been ingrained into us as a society that we must stick to the plans we make.

    If your blogging plan is more like a young sapling tree instead, it can bend in the wind without breaking. It can weather the storm. By creating my blogging plan as a loose list of milestones which lead to a known end result, I can change the milestones or the methods in order to get the result I want. I have flexibility to adjust my course on the way to my destination.

    The destination matters just as much as the journey. Process is important, but to what end? Goals are as important as process. Without a destination, you’re not going anywhere, you’re just wandering around aimlessly. That does not inspire people to subscribe to your blog or follow you on Twitter (or, if you’re selling something, buy your stuff). You don’t have to create your blogging plan the same way I did, but based on my own expereince, you stand to be amazed at what will happen. Don’t worry about getting it “right”, just get it out (I like to use mind mapping software). Then you can figure it out, maybe tweak it.

    Until you start following it, though, it remains only an ideal. Just make the very first thing in it happen. If that doesn’t freak you out too much (a little is good), then do the next thing. And the next. And the next. Your confidence will grow with each new success.

    Michael Martine produces tons of free written, audio, and video content at Remarkablogger. On Oct. 18 he is holding a webinar for growing blog traffic. You can follow him on Twitter.

    About the author

      Michael Martine

    • @Gary – Thanks. Your comment should’ve ended after the word “perspective.”

      @Kathleen – Right. It really doesn’t matter what kind of blog you have, but it’s easier to see the connection between a business plan for a business and a blogging plan for a blog. Kinda the same thing. 🙂

    • If your blog is pure writing content with no advertising, or you earn money via advertising, you still need a plan. Without a plan, you will operate haphazardly, which will never grow your audience very well.

    • Gary says:

      Michael, I loved the “exit out” approach to figuring out the end result. I’m just enjoying writing my blogs too much to think about exiting for now, but thinking about when I might want to do something else one day brings a whole new perspective.

      And here’s a resource on creating simple and flexible Christmas Tree Plans readers might find helpful.

    • @Patricia – You’re welcome!

      @Andrew – I wish I’d thought of that “analogy extender”! Good one!

      @Kari – It’s generally not a good idea to mix two unrelated things on a blog if the blog has a stated purpose to be about one thing. If the blog is just a personal blog then anything goes. You can mix two things if you do it in the right way, like for example, movie reviews and knitting (knit something while you watch the movie, right?). If you focused on marketing for the travel industry (and travel bloggers), that would be a very specific niche that could potentially work for you.

      But this kind of meandering doesn’t make for a very strong presence and diminishes revenue opportunities. You keep losing audience members when you shift gears and you never reach the critical mass a successful blog has–unless you have such a strong personal (non-niche) blog that you build a loyal audience who will read whatever you write no matter what (like Writer Dad is starting to do).

      But even doing that requires a plan. 😉

    • Kari says:

      Thanks for the great advice! I just started my blog about a week ago and never put too much thought in to the end plan. I just wanted a log to write about my travels so people could read along. Now I’m having fun writing useful marketing articles so I have a sort of mixed purpose. Do you think that writing about two totally different topics in one blog is a bad idea?

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks Mike, I see your point. Keep focused on the goal and almost no outside force can steer you far off course. To fit it to your analogy, the mature tree that focuses on keeping it’s roots in the ground rather than the storm around it can still weather the storm.

    • Patricia says:

      Wow! Thank you for your reply…it feels solid to me…I love to learn…so here we go – thank you

    • @Patricia – The money is the easy part: you sell something, and people buy it. You spend less than you make. That’s it. The hard part is having something people want and making it as easy as possible for them to want to give you their money. People get in their own way by having personal issues around success or by doing things backwards: coming up with something to sell nobody wants and then struggling like mad against the inevitable. Do your research first: find out what people want and then sell it to them. If you don’t know how to sell, learn. On the web, that means learn copywriting. Good luck!

    • Patricia says:

      Thank you for your good ideas and I always appreciate learning something new.
      I have been using Jack Canfield’s THE SUCCESS PRINCIPLES to design my life and living for the next maybe 25 years of my life and he has charts and graphs for all the plans for your business or endeavors.
      Sometimes I work so hard on the planning I forget about the “writing” part which is my favorite section.
      All my life I have gotten stuck on the earning money part of plans…I am here again and trying to work it through with new vision.
      Canfield suggests whenever you make a new move one should get rid of all the old “stuff” that weighs you down…I am trying to garbage, recycle, and renew each item of my financial plan to get unstuck for goal setting the future. This has been an important step in my process.
      Thank you for your good article and it was timely for me as well.

    • @Miguel – Knowing where you’re going is how you know what to do now. It gives you purpose and focus, and that accelerates every kind of growth (traffic, subscribers, influence).

    • Strange, I’m preparing to discuss this topic at my blog. I’m a big fan of the bend but don’t break approach when it comes to life, chi BEARS defense and much more. 🙂 Right on bro, knowing to what end your blog is going is huge but should also help to keep us as bloggers focused on the task at hand.

    • @Mary – All good business owners plan their exit/succession strategy.

      @James – Thanks, bro.

    • I fully support the ideas you brought forth in your post, Michael, and as you know, I apply them to my own blog wholeheartedly. The payoff is worth it and I encourage readers to take up your ideas and make them a solid long-term plan. Well done.

    • Hi Jim!
      I feel the same discomfort about thinking about the end of my blogging adventure. Right now I want it to last forever!

    • @Jim – Good thing you didn’t fall out! 🙂

    • Jim Bessey says:

      Just when I was getting really comfy sitting in my treehouse, you had to come along and shake the trunk, Michael.

      Seriously, I like your point about thinking of the end-game, rather than next week or next year. I’ve been plugging along, working on content and guest writers and layout and links…and so on. No particular goal in sight, other than “good quality blog.”

      Goals and milestones sound like a wonderful idea. Thanks for shaking the tree, Michael — and thank goodness it’s not an old, gnarled, unyielding tree!


    • @Marelisa – Good for you! Glad to hear it.

      @Blogger Dad – If you don’t feel comfortable planning things out long-term because you’re new to the game, you can plan out a few months ahead and see what that’s like.

    • Great post, Michael. I found you via conversation with Writer Dad. I’m also writing down plans for what I want from my blog before it grows out of control like a weed. My site it still young, just under two months old, so I’m still in the process of blog self discovery and trying to determine what my blog’s strengths and weaknesses are.

    • Marelisa says:

      Hi Michael: I’m actually in the process of creating a business plan for my blog. I have a template I created a while back on creating a business plan (my father and I were thinking of opening a real estate business here in Panama, but then he went into the hotel business instead) but I’m having to make a lot of modifications to it so that it fits blogging. I completely agree with you that a plan is a must.

    • @Eric – I would say that’s a little too broad to be a plan. Sorta like if I opened up a store and I said my plan was to “sell a bunch of stuff”. 🙂 Your plan needs to be detailed enough so that you know when you’re hitting the milestones and the end point. Think numbers: number of subscribers, number of visits/month, amount of money made, etc.

      @Andrew – Heh… you have found the point where the analogy breaks down, as all analogies must do. My poor choice of analogies aside, I think it’s possible to maintain a healthy flexibility indefinitely. But you have a great point. A blog as big as TechCrunch or Boing Boing might find it somewhat difficult to turn on a dime in response to changes in the marketplace.

      The main thing is to know what the “true north” is on your compass, so that when decisions have to made in response to outside forces, we can make these decisions in light of whether they help us forward our plan or not. This makes it possible to constantly move towards our goals and not get caught up in fruitless opportunity chasing.

      @Writer Dad – Thanks, man. Good luck with that! (You know where to find me if you need “pro” level help with that.)

      @Mary – Good idea! Here it is: What’s Your Blogging Plan in Uncertain Times?. This topic has become really important to me because I’ve reaped the benefits of a good plan after only a few months. I’ve got blog planning on the brain!

    • This is a really useful article, Michael.
      Could you maybe put a link to your video on this subject in a comment?

      I know that I made vague 5year blogging plan at the beginning of the year. But I can’t remember much of it. I better dig it out. Now…where did I jot down the darn thing?

      I can see that I need to write a proper blogging plan, know where I’ve put it, and look at it often so that I can check out if I’m near where I’m supposed to be.

    • writer dad says:

      I’m seeing the need for a plan now, far more than I did. At first, I just wanted to exercise my writing muscles, while I kinda hoped people showed up. They did, and so now I know it’s time to step up my game and start thinking a year (or more) toward horizon. Thanks for your always present wisdom Michael.

    • Andrew says:

      I like the idea here, but I have a question. See, the problem is eventually the flexible sapling grows into an unyielding tree. As we accomplish more milestones, we in turn have fewer options as we approach our goals. So how do we keep our plans flexible even as the tree matures?

    • Eric Hamm says:

      My blogging plan has generally been to create the best content possible and try to get as many people to read it that I can find. Not much of an end game tactic. 🙂

      I saw your video on your blog about this subject and it has definitely inspired me to think a little differently about my blog and where I want to see it end up so I can figure out how to get there. Thanks for sharing your great insight!

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