Today I want to share some advice on a topic which is important to me. How to stay organised when blogging. I’ve been blogging for nearly seven years now and over that time I’ve figured out some ways to help me manage that process and stay organised.
I’ve seen people say that blogging is hard, which I wouldn’t agree with. Certainly at the start blogging can be hard. But what I’ve found is that blogging can become increasingly time-consuming. When I started blogging I could finish a post in a few hours. I’d write a few hundred words, add a photo and that was me done.
Now a single blog post could take me days, from researching a topic to writing and rewriting drafts. Then taking photos, checking SEO, and doing all the advertising on social media. It’s a lot for one person to do and parts can be very time-consuming.
So today I want to share some of the techniques and other methods I use to stay organised when blogging. By using these methods I can speed up certain parts of the blogging process. I’m now at the point where writing a post is probably the most time-consuming part. And when you think about it, my posts average around 2000 words, so 4 hours to write a post isn’t so bad.
Tips For Staying Organised When Blogging
Have A Strategy
The first thing which can help you stay organised when blogging is having a strategy. When I first started my blog I didn’t have a plan of what I was doing. I’d write about things which I found interesting. Which was fine for me, not so much for the readers. It is possible to have a blog about lots of different topics. But mostly your blog should all revolve around the same theme.
This is where having a strategy comes in. If you have a good idea of why you’re blogging and what you’re blogging about, it’s much easier to come up with content that fits that theme. Every new blogger has that moment of panic where they can’t find something to talk about for a post. Knowing your blog’s purpose fixes this problem.
When starting it can be a good idea to stick very closely to your original purpose for your blog. As you begin to grow you can start expanding and bringing in new but similar topics. But to begin with, start with one idea and build on that.
Use A Notebook
It’s always a good idea to have a notebook or something where you can write down ideas. It doesn’t need to be a physical notebook, you could just use an app on your phone. The important bit is that you have somewhere that you can quickly write down ideas. Ideas are tricky things, they can come to you at the weirdest of moments. I’d highly recommend writing them down because chances are, by the time you sit down to work on your blog you will have forgotten that amazing idea.
In the past, I’ve written about how you can use a bullet journal to help you stay organised when blogging. If you’ve never tried bullet journaling before I’d highly recommend you give it a shot. My bullet journal is a very important part of my process when blogging. It’s somewhere that I can write down ideas, take notes and remind myself of blogging related tasks.
But there is another important thing you have to remember. Writing down ideas and other blogging related notes aren’t good enough. You have to turn these into actionable tasks. So if you have an idea for a post you can’t just leave it in a notebook to be forgotten. It’s not good enough to just write down a task you want to do and then forget about it. You need to set up a system where you do these tasks.
I use my notebook in combination with a spreadsheet. On this spreadsheet, I will take all my ideas for posts and organise them into specific categories for my blog. These categories come from my strategy and the purpose of my blog. From there I can start doing more research into the topic, find keywords and begin writing the post.
It can be a good idea when figuring out your strategy to do lots of research into your specific niche. From this, you will be able to figure out what your ideal reader is like, what social media sites they use and what they are interested in.
You will start to get an idea of what times during the year your niche is more popular. Or when readers are more interested in that kind of content. For example, if I was writing a back-to-school type post. I would share that some time in August or September because that’s when most people are going back to school. Planner reviews work better in November or December time because that’s when most people buy planners.
After you have figured out what type of content works best at certain times of year you can start to plan for this. I’ll mention content calendars more later in this post but by using a content calendar you can start adding these time-specific posts. It can be a good idea to share time-specific content just before people start looking for it. This way your post has time to get indexed on google. This is why planning ahead is so important, you can’t wait till December to share Christmas wish list type posts. You need to share content before people start looking for it.
Get A Content Calendar
One thing which can help you stay organised when blogging is using a content calendar. A content calendar is a schedule of everything you plan to publish and when. Typically it also includes status updates and any other notes. I use Google Sheets for my content calendar, though I also have a very similar set up in my bullet journal.
If you want to get organised when blogging you really should be using a content calendar. Of course, you don’t have to have one depending on how much you use your blog. The content calendar is useful because you can see all the blog-related tasks which need doing. For example, on my calendar, I have a section which shows all the steps I need to do when creating a post.
Like I said above, the content calendar is also extremely helpful because it allows you to plan. You can add in posts which work best at specific times of the year. But also, it allows you to schedule posts far in advance. I’ve found this to be extremely helpful over the last two years. I now schedule posts quite far in advance which allows me to be more consistent in sharing posts.
I’ve mentioned this in more detail in another post. But scheduling posts allows me to write more during the summer when I have more time to focus on my blog. Which allows me to ignore my blog during semester time and it will still run. As of writing this, I have one post scheduled, but in September 2019 I had 4 months of blog posts scheduled. The content calendar was an essential part of me staying organised when doing this.
Batch Write Blog Posts
Like I said at the start of this post, blogging is time-consuming. If you want to speed up the time it takes to create one blog post, it can help to do multiple at the same time. This is especially useful when scheduling posts out far in advance. I’ve been batching blog post for a year now and I find it much faster. With a week of work, I can do 7 weeks of blog posts.
Batch writing posts is much faster because of all the different things you have to do when making a blog post. You need to research, write, edit, take photos and assemble the post. Some of these tasks are very time consuming, especially something like taking and editing photos. It can be faster to take photos for multiple posts in one go, rather than doing each post separately. However, this is where being organised is important.
Taking photos is easy, but you need to have everything there and ready to do. And you need to know what you’re taking photos of. But if you’ve done all that, you could finish 6 or 7 blog posts worth of photos in a single morning. Rather than doing each post individually.
I’ve found the content calendar to be an essential tool when batch writing posts. Sometimes I will have a topic for a post, but not be able to take the photos at the same time as writing the post. Or I have something that I want to review but need to wait for an item to be delivered before writing the review. This was especially tricky when writing my review of stationery subscription boxes. I worked on that post over two months as each box arrived.
Deadlines are a love them or hate them type of deal. Deadlines can be extremely useful when blogging. Having a consistent posting schedule can help you when building an audience because they know to turn up at a certain time for new content. However, it can be hard figuring out that schedule.
I know I have a deadline each week. I need to have a post out on Saturday each week. Recently I haven’t been so great at meeting a specific time for posting each Saturday. But a pandemic sort of got in the way.
What I’m trying to say is knowing I have that deadline each week helps because I have to have something to share. As I mentioned above, I don’t write a post each week to meet that deadline because that doesn’t work for me. You may not be the same. Knowing you have a deadline might give you the motivation to work on your blog each week.
But having a deadline isn’t enough. You need to have a manageable deadline. So maybe you post every two weeks or every month rather than each week. It can also be helpful to set out specific times or days where you work on your blog. This will help you meet that deadline.
One of the things I’ve found most useful for helping me stay organised when blogging is using lists. And no I’m not just saying this because I blog about bullet journals. I have two different types of list and both are extremely useful while blogging.
The first is my lists which stay the same for every post. I have three different lists which contain tasks I do for every blog post. My first list has been integrated into my content calendar, this contains the big things like writing, editing and taking photos. You know, all the basic elements of a blog post. The next list is on Yoast, that contains all the SEO things which I need to do on a post.
Then I have a list of all the things I want to do after a post has been published. If I can do a task before a post goes live I will always try to do that. But there are a few things I can’t do before, like scheduling pins to Pinterest and adding links from other posts. Because this last list stays the same each time its not something I write in my bullet journal. But it’s still a list I refer to each week
The other type of list I use is specifically for taking photos. I think some would call it a shot list. While I’m writing a post I will note down the photos I want to take for a blog post. This can be helpful if I don’t have the item I want to photograph yet. It is especially helpful for my longer posts which could have 6 or 7 posts. This list also stops me from wasting time later trying to figure out what photos I need for a post.
Automate When You Can
My last and probably most useful tip for staying organised when blogging is to automate what you can. Scheduling a post is much preferable because you can do it in advance. But there are several other tools which can help you automate parts of your process. I should point out however that most of these tools cost money and some can be expensive.
I’ve already mentioned Yoast in this post. Yoast is a widget I use on every blog post. This will check the SEO of your post and tell you what changes need to be made. Yoast is much preferable over having a separate SEO checklist because it’s integrated into the post editor and can see exactly what you have written.
Another widget I use is Tasty Pins. This widget allows me to add the Pinterest title and description to an image directly from the post editor. This means if I go to pin an image later I don’t have to write that information because I’ve already done it. This is also useful if other people are pinning images from your blog.
The last tool I use to automate parts of my blog is CoSchedule. This is an amazing tool and can do far more than what I use it for. CoSchedule manages all the social media stuff which goes along with blogging. Rather than having to remember to create posts on Twitter and Facebook advertising a new post. I use CoSchedule to create a social media campaign for each post. In the campaign, I create posts which will be regularly shared over the space of 4 weeks after going live.
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Some of those social media messages are what you would call ‘evergreen’ in that they will always be relevant. I can easily save those messages to another tool in CoSchedule and they will be regularly sent out based on another calendar I have set up. I’ve found CoSchedule to be especially useful when managing my Instagram account. I like sharing images from blog posts on Instagram, but also like to stick to a regular schedule. Using CoSchedule means I have around 3 months worth of Instagram posts scheduled at any one time.
I know there are other social media management tools which do similar things. Like Buffer and Tailwind, I’ve used both and they do work well. But I prefer CoSchedule because of how it integrates with my blog. On the CoSchedule calendar, I can see each blog post I have scheduled, along with social posts. I can also pull images directly from the post to use in my social posts. Its definitely an investment, like most social media tools these days. But it does make my life easier.
And there we go, 8 tips on how to stay organised when blogging. I hope from this you can see how certain tips begin to build on each other. A content calendar is good for helping you to stay organised when blogging. But it helps even more when used in combination with planning ahead and bulk writing posts.
I can’t claim to know all of the things when it comes to blogging. But all these tips are based on the process I use for my blog. Hopefully, you will learn something new from it and use on your blog.