If you’re like me, you probably opened a blog to share some ideas and have a bit of a fun. Sure, if there’s anything else ‘coming’ from it, we won’t say no, but for many of us the start was just the need to write and join the community.
As times goes by, though, we start realizing that taking our blog a little more serious takes some time and effort. With few organization tricks we can keep the time we waste to a minimum, post good content on a constant basis and never fall victims to what’s any writer dreads: the writer’s block.
Here are some tricks that I personally use to help me manage my blogging time better, have enough hours to run my business and also post consistently here for your entertainment:
1. Write down ANY ideas you get
For years I used to think my wonderful brain is better than my laptop’s HDD and it can remember anything. I used to dream things and be so happy in the morning to have gotten such an amazing article idea. Sure, I didn’t write it down, I just knew it was a great idea. Even minutes after this I totally forgot about it.
Same thing happens when I read blogs. I do visit almost 200 blogs each day and just by reading some new articles or by looking at the design, I get at least 5 ideas for some useful content here. If I don’t write them down at the moment I’m thinking about them, it’s just good ideas going to waste.
So, make it a habit to write down your article ideas. For some people (self included), even just a title is good: ‘How to blog daily’, ‘What do I love about my freelancing business’, ‘How to potty train my child’ etc. It doesn’t matter what topic you’re writing on, the title, a sentence or a short paragraph will help you get the inspiration, when you’ll need it and not let good inspiration ‘fly’.
2. Save links to good articles
Each day I get to see some nice information in the niches that interest me. For quite a while I’d just pass the article and think that I’ll know tomorrow where to find it. Well, I never do. Now I either keep a list of links, bookmark the pages or any other trick that works for me and allows for the inspirational article to be visited again, when I need it.
Whether you use the bookmarks in your browser, write down the links or use various social bookmarking tools and sites, make sure the resources you can use in your research are saved. It’s easier to just find them in a place, than to waste 30 minutes of your writing time, trying to figure out where to find them, jumping from site to site, in a desperate attempt to get back to your ‘breadcrumbs trail’.
3. Have a posting plan
It helps you decimate that writer’s blog, it keeps your readers entertained and it showcases your full potential when it comes to the topics you write about. Even if you’ll surely skip some days or maybe let the natural flow of your ideas mess with your topic allocation, overall, having a plan will help you be more effective and inspired when it comes to writing. Use the scheduling feature of your WordPress by preparing articles for the next days. Or even weeks.
I used to write whenever I wanted to and it wasn’t such a great idea. I’d either post 4-5 articles from the same topic, driving my readers insane or have no inspiration for weeks. Let’s not forget that, when you’re also running a business, so you have clients to care for, your blog will be left there inactive. Instead of having this happen, you can spend few hours in a more relaxed day and prepare your content for the week to come. Whatever comes your way that week, your readers will still find articles to read and your traffic won’t drop.
4. Batch your tasks
If you’re writing articles, don’t check your social media sites, don’t read other blogs, don’t pet your dog. Just get into the writing ‘zone’ and whip out as many articles as you can. Then start your activity on the social media outlets, share articles, discuss etc. If you’re now ready to read blogs, check your feed reader or open your bookmarks (whatever you choose to find new blog posts in your niche).
5. Use mind mapping or any other system that allows you to get ideas
I love writing about our travels (should actually start posting more about this). We have visited some places in Europe and the US (plus a short stint in Tanger, Morocco). If it was to prepare myself a nice list of possible articles ideas for the blog, I’d clearly make some big categories: US, Croatia, Germany etc., then subcategories (Munich, Budapest, NYC) and then the topics ideas would be so easy to find “best 5 places to see in NYC”, “top tourist attractions in Munich”, “best beaches in Dubrovnik, Croatia” etc.
If you’d ask me now to write something about my travels, I’d need some minutes to get an idea, but, if I have these small lists written down (or at least the categories/subcategories as I see them for my travel topic), I’d just click “Add New” in the posts section of WordPress and get going.
It doesn’t matter what system you use or how you call this, what matters is to take a little time, look closely at the niches your posts are about and start breaking it down in small chunks. Finding ideas for a new article will be a breeze and you’ll clearly have all the inspiration you need.
6. Keep it all simple
Don’t use 10 tools to organize your ideas, don’t subscribe to countless useless sites and make huge plans. Even a .txt document can gather a lot of info and inspiration. Maybe a collection of bookmarks and, if you like to use one, an ‘editorial calendar’ plugin for your WordPress. If not, you can do with even less. You don’t need to run 10 separate apps for the same thing, you really shouldn’t waste time with updating all that junk. What we’re after here is to be effective in our ‘notes’ and have time to actually do the blogging.
These few tricks have helped me personally find more time to blog, be present in the community and also manage a business / family. What else do you usually do to keep yourself better organized and more productive as bloggers?