I’m a big fan of ByRegina. She has amazing info, guides and training for bloggers. I bought her Grow your Blog Traffic with Social Media workbook, which is fab. As part of the related Google + community, a few of us are writing posts on some of our blog processes.
Regina started the series with a post on How to create share-worthy blog post.
The main issue for me is productivity: how can I efficiently use the little time I have for blogging (as I work full time) ? I am far from having found the perfect recipe but over time, I am starting to develop some methods and use some tools that help save time. Hopefully this will be of help for some of you.
Time-saving processes for bloggers
1. Plan in advance
Having an editorial calendar is a god-saver! I bought Regina’s Epic Blog Calendar in December and absolutely love it. I had grand plans to plan my whole year in advance but it’s not me. Instead I’m doing it two months at a time and it works well.
This 60 day strategy sheet is also pretty handy to focus my blog for the next two months.
I constantly have thoughts and ideas in my head for blog posts. Planning ahead allows me to empty my brain from them and create more space for more ideas! It also allows me to contact places I want to feature in advance to get their authorisation for their photos.
2. Batch tasks
I am just starting to do this but I found that by grouping similar tasks together, I am really more productive. The tasks I batch are
- Writing – you can dedicate a whole day to just writing your blog posts and getting back to them later for editing
- Photo selection and editing – once you have your posts drafted, it’s easier to list all the related images and work on them in one go. Colleen has a great tutorial on how to do that.
You could also group other tasks such as
- Curating content – see this excellent Buffer post for how to do that
- Social media scheduling – another great post by Buffer about this
3. Schedule your week
By looking at
a) your editorial calendar = what you have planned for the week for your blog,
b) your personal calendar= how much time can you dedicate to your blog
c) the time it takes you to do the batch tasks above
you should be able to plot in your week your various projects and to do’s.
To make this an easy recurring pattern, I am starting to assign days to various tasks. I can then adjust and move things around depending on what happens in my life that week (for instance if we are on holidays etc…). So my schedule would ideally look like this:
- Monday – research
- Tuesday – photos
- Wednesday – writing
- Thursday – editing and scheduling posts publication
- Friday – curating and social media scheduling
- Saturday – maintenance (all the technical bits)
- Sunday – planning and newsletter creation
4. Make the most of your mobile time
I use my commuting time to progress on the blog in two ways
- to curate content : I read a lot of feeds in Reader (more below), buffer them for social media sharing or put them in Evernote as ideas for blog posts or newsletter content
- to get inspiration, think and clear my brain while walking to and from work, I do not listen to music, do not read-walk or talk on the phone. I look around me, observe people, nature, buildings. I have lots of ideas and clarification coming that way!
Invest in some time-saving tools for your blog
There are tons of posts about great tools for blogging. Below are those that I found saved me time and were worth the investment or are free.
Buffer – a tool that allows you to queue your social media updates and have them published at a schedule you choose or based on the optimum time of your Twitter readership.
Reeder – my RSS feeds are automatically updated in the background. I can read them offline in the tube. Then I Buffer those articles that are interesting.
Workflow –a brand new application which is a bit like an IFTTT for your phone. You can create some workflows (for instance, append a note in Evernote with a URL that you found) and trigger them when you need them. I use it to selectively send content to a note called “Post ideas” and another one called “Newsletter content” in my Blog notebook in Evernote.
Lightroom – to batch edit photos. There is also a plugin that I haven’t tried yet which allows you to auto sync your edited photos to your WordPress blog so that they are automatically uploaded in your media library. Sounds pretty genius. Lightroom also has a mobile app so you could also use your commuting time to edit your photos on the go!
Tabify – a cool plugin that allowed me to create tabs in the post editor of WordPress. Now, I have the various stages of preparing the post in a tab (creating, formatting, promoting, SEO). It’s amazing how much time it saved me by not having to scroll up and down, left and right to find the right next step!
Media Library Alt Fields – another plugin that allows you to batch edit your images alt fields. Useful when you know that the alt field is what is pulled as description when someone pins an image from your blog.
Coschedule – a great scheduler plugin that allows you to plan your editorial calendar but also to schedule associated social media posts in advance. You can make them text status updates or image status updates. I also like their integrated task management. I created a “upon publication” template for all the tasks I have to do after a post is published and it sends me reminder if I forget to do them!
Viral woot – a Pinterest pin scheduler. I like their bookmarklet which allows you to pin all the images in one post in one go and then schedule them as intervals you choose.
Latergram – you can schedule your Instagram photos with it. It won’t do it automatically for you but will remind you, at the time you set for your photos to go live, to go to Instagram and push them.
So here you go. Was this helpful? What other processes or tools do you use to save time? Let me know in the comments and remember to check the other blog posts in the series:
- Keira has created an epic post on How to use youtube for your blog and business (how to drive traffic)
- Colleen has the perfect tutorial on How to get your photos web ready.