I built a blog named *Top 25 In the World* by TIME Magazine (out of 300M at the time) with $0 budget and literally only a few dozen hours of work -- this lead to six figures in related income, consulting gigs, changing national policy, and tons of other opportunity.
Now we actually teach a 31 day program for helping people go from nothing to building out there Blog / Book / Audience / Expert Positioning / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / Monetization / Influence -- all elegantly done around a blog.
Here is the basic framework...
1) Get clear on what success means... My guess is "popular" actually is a proxy for something else you want -- influence, money, more sales, status, etc.. You need to get very clear on what that means before you can build a strategy to reach it.
2) Create a Leverage List Identify the high leverage points -- once you know the end result you want, work backwards. Identify the top people in your niche you are going to add value to -- authors, bloggers, journalists, related publications, events, companies, star customers, fb groups, twitter people, etc.
3) Use a hybrid-content creation strategy where you can interview people from the Leverage List to get content ideas for your blog / book while also getting key questions answered. It's a hybrid of customer interviews & content creation all wrapped in one. You also get to build rapport with possible customers, experts, etc. build your credibility and otherwise deepen your connecting within the niche. We often structure this around a how to book that you will be creating in parallel. This may seem overwhelming, but when done right this is actually a super easy way to produce multiple types of content (video blog / audio podcast / book / blog post / fb post / tweets / instagrams / newsletter ) from a single interview and a couple hours.
4) Now that you have some content prepared and ready to go, use insights from that content to craft your branding, etc. I'd recommend word press for the hosting (though Blogger has some possible advantages like being owned by Google and that may enhance rankings). Also be sure to include email newsletter sign up and other social share tools.
5) Begin releasing your content across multiple platforms and be sure to link and interconnect and cross promote. If you've used the Leverage List in the right way, the people you have interviewed will also be promoting your content for you. Also, you will have set up a content partnership -- for example, I write for Huffington Post and Forbes now, for fun, when I want. I can easily write a special post for those sites that points back to the full post / video / etc. on my blog - you can do the same.
6) Syndicate and promote content. This includes sharing it with the forums and other places you identified on your Leverage List as well as using things like Promoted Content placements.
7) Host events -- if you've done this right, you will be positioned as a top expert in your niche and will have influence with your specific audience, you will also know what problems they have. You can immediately provide value by creating content and products to solve their problems, but you can also create value by deepening their position as experts in the niche and their network. You could host online Masterminds, hangouts, or in person retreats and events -- which you can charge thousands of dollars for. I was also the inspiration and founding co-host of The Summit Series, which started out as us hosting a 2 day ski trip for young founders..
When we were named Top 25 Blogs in the World by TIME, we didn't even have a massive audience, but we had the *right* audience, which allowed us to get the attention of TIME and be listed right up there with Huffington Post and Tech Crunch.
This framework is powerful, however the real high leverage comes from how it's applied and having a strategy that is custom crafted based on your goals.
I'd be happy to jump on a call with you and make recommendations about what the next steps are.
Anthony David Adams