I am the stay at home mom of a 2 year old, and part time caregiver of my 8 year old step daughter. I work in the salon 2 days a week, do freelance work, travel out of town for work every 4 weeks. Craft, teach, play, do the household duties like cleaning, grocery shopping and home inventory. I interact on Social Media, update my Facebook page, have friends, spend time with family, cook a meal every night of the week, and still update my blog regularly.
It’s exhausting just writing that out!
Thankfully for me, my blog is just a reflection of my everyday life, so posting about it is actually the easy part.
Once blogging became part of my “job”, I knew I had to keep up with it, or it would die. There’s that word “commit” again. I know myself better than anyone so I knew I had to find a system that worked for me, and kept me motivated.
This is what I do.
I have a notebook that I keep with me at all times. It’s big and huge and bulky, but it works. I can always tell if my purse is too light and I make sure I have it with me. Inside my notebook is all sorts of awesome stuff.
I have a Monthly calendar where I can see every day on one page, and arrange and rearrange my posts.
I have a weekly breakdown so I can put appointments and deadlines and notes and anything else I need to know for each day.
I have an area for ideas that come to me at the craziest times… rush hour traffic, the shower, standing in line at Starbucks, randomly talking to someone, if it’s an idea, I write it down. Sometimes it makes sense and sometimes I have to tweak it to make it work.
It’s just a giant book of ideas. And it works.
When I wake up in the morning, I check my blog email (yes, I have a specific blog email only.) This is the email that I sign up for anything blog related. Any sort of advertising or marketing company. I get all my comments and link backs emailed to me too. I log onto the computer and I approve (or delete spam) comments. I try to always reply, because it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes my mornings get away from me and I don’t always have time to say thank you (but I mean it) but I always try to respond to questions.
Next I check my blog, to make sure everything that was scheduled posted correctly. Then I share it on Social Media. It’s already set to auto post on my BlogLovin’ feed, which then tweets and shares on my personal Facebook account, but then my blog also shares to my Blogs Facebook account as well. Mornings, statistically are the best times to post to Twitter and Facebook, so I know my post will be seen by the most people possible. I share it on Pinterest at night, because statistically that’s when people are on it, once again assuring the most people see it.
After that, I check on link parties and blog hops. I share a few posts, click around and follow and comment on fellow blog posts that I find interesting and catch my eye. Sometimes I’ll share it in a Tweet.
This whole process takes about 30-60 minutes. During this time my daughter is eating breakfast and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
When I do finally get to write a post, it’s usually something that won’t post for a few days, so I can have time to edit it and add photos. I look at my calendar and I see what the next day is without a post and I try to fill any empty spots. I try to blog at least once a day, so for me the next empty day could honestly be tomorrow. If you decide you’ll post everyday, post everyday. If you’d rather post on only Mondays, so be it, but the blogs with the most traffic and the ones that make the most money post at least 3 times a week.
Any ideas I have, I will make a quick Draft and scribble a note on a post it and stick it on the appropriate month. Each color of post it note corresponds with a category on my blog, DIY, Recipes, Everyday Life, Reviews and Beauty. That way I can see if there is too much of something and move it around. Once I do pick the day and write and schedule the post, I throw away the post it note and write it down. Then I highlight it with a matching color. It seems like a lot of work, but you get the hang of it really quickly, and it makes streamlining your post schedule very simplified.
Here’s a look at the month of February, to get an idea.
I also make notes of all my Social Media (and Google Analytics) numbers so I can track how well I am doing compared to days/weeks/months past. Social Media numbers are hugely important. It’s a good idea to track them, so you can have an idea of which outlets get the most traffic and which ones you need to promote more.
I spend about 4-5 hours a day working on blog posts, ideas, editing and photos. Any time I craft or make a recipe, I am thinking “can this be a blog post?” and I am taking photos, even if it ends up a flop and I never share it. Most of my work is done at nap time and at night after Abbey goes to bed, because it’s hard to sit and write uninterpreted while she needs me. I do most of my Social Media stuff during the day when she’s running around because I can leave something up and unattended without breaking concentration if I need to. Also, being so far ahead in the blog means I can afford to take a day off to go to the Zoo, or lunch, without feeling like I’m forgetting something.
My weekly calendar looks like this. I put blog stuff, as well as normal day to day appointments too. I also write myself notes about Twitter and Blog parties so I know what’s going on. Once a blog post is scheduled I also write it here and put a check mark next to it, so I can see on a smaller scale what still needs to be done. Sometimes when I look at the month, I get overwhelmed, so breaking it down into a week and day to day helps tackle bigger issues. If I see that I have an open day with no other appointments on it, I’ll often leave myself a note to work on future blog posts and ideas, so I know that Sunday will be a day to plan the next week, since I have already scheduled the blog post for that day in advance.
When I do decide to start to write a post, I often run over what I would like to say or cover in my head, or make notes about things I don’t want to leave out. I sit down and start a draft and I just write. I don’t try to make points, or make sure it flows, I just write. I save the draft and come back to it later. I edit my photos if the blog needs them, making sure to take the best one, add titles with interesting fonts, and create a “pinnable” image for blog hops, features, Facebook and Pinterest. People don’t want to just see a photo of a slice of cake, they want to also see “Chocolate Cake with Sea Salt Caramel Recipe!” because now they know what to expect, and people who like salted caramel, chocolate, or cake are more likely to click on it.
I then come back to the post later, read it out loud and edit the crap out of it. Cut, paste, move this, erase that, reword this, add commas, links, rich formatting, photos. I then re-save the draft and preview the post as you would normally see it, and I reread it again. If it looks good, I tag it, categorize it, add SEO, schedule it, write it down, highlight it and wait til it posts to start over.
Sometimes I schedule as many as 4 posts a day… putting the finishing touches on drafts that have been in my queue for weeks.
At the end of the month, any left over post it notes get moved to the next month. I usually try to plan my entire month in advance with a wall calendar I have, around the end of the month. I write down in pen things that can’t or won’t change. Blog Hops I’m cohosting, or Holiday’s and upcoming events. That way I won’t post something, or make sure I post something related to it. I am a very visual person, so this helps me out a lot! Again, any posts I schedule get written down in pen, and then highlighted. It’s sort of OCD, I know, but it’s how I do it.
I’ve read a lot of blogs, and it seems that a lot of the higher up there blogs also have very similar ways to scheduling and posting. Consistency is key and if you want people to come back over and over, you have to have new things for them to look at. Having a wide variety of things to read, or being just really great in your niche is another good thing to have. It goes back to the first post in this series, about knowing your style and living your brand. Very important parts of blogging!
Stay tuned for the next post, How to Create Pinnable Images or check out the last post, How to Create a Successful Blog
Was any of the info helpful? Do you have blog OCD like I do? Share and comment!