Become a Top Blogger By Michael Martine 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.