But one part is missing in the blog-puzzle:
The overall workflow that keeps you going!
Let us guide you from putting your first idea on paper through planning, scheduling, archiving, advertising, and to finally publishing your blog content.
Ways to keep you and your blog organized
Capture your ideas
Good ideas don’t strike according to a schedule. Everyone has time to think while fidgeting in a never-ending queue or when letting the blurry landscape pass by while daydreaming on a train. To some, ideas even happen in the peaceful enclosure of a bathroom. Keep several journals around you so that you can always capture your bright moments.
A notepad app on your phone or tablet advocates a mobile and environmentally friendly choice. The simplicity of a post-it note may suffice as a substitute where the phone is not to hand. If you’d like to try something quick though, record your ideas on audio using your mobile applications or a cool Dictaphone. A note in discretion: audio recordings are perhaps not the best option if your ideas strike on the toilet.
Don’t be shy, record your silly stuff too. Who knows, it might be useful in the future. Once you’ve captured your thoughts, begin to elaborate on them as soon as possible. Start to build paragraphs from your sentences. Perhaps start to sketch out the content of your blog post structure at this point too.
Programs like Evernote, OneNote, or other alternatives are useful for bringing ideas together, documenting and archiving them. The plus point is that you can also upload other materials, such as images, pdfs, links to sources, and more.
Collecting your ideas and first notes will always provide you with new topics to talk about. This way you never run out of content to publish.
Organizing without timing is as useless as decaffeinated coffee.
The backward method
An editorial calendar to mark your weekly schedule will make you focus on all actions around the blog, now and in the future.
Depending on how often you anticipate bringing out new stories, your timetable needs to adapt. Let’s say you plan to post every week on Thursday afternoon. Going backwards, you are aware your last checks, such as proofreading, must be completed on Thursday morning at the latest. Images preferably are uploaded on Wednesday evenings, leaving you the whole of Wednesday to write and design the layout.
Mondays and Tuesdays consequently can be left free to book meetings with collaborators, interviews, and to do your research. Leave room to advertise your post shortly after or before the posting date. When to advertise for your posts is up to you according to your strategy. You can advertise as a sneak preview before the publication date, on the posting date, or shortly after to remind people about the new content.
Take your time to evaluate your blog posts for several weeks after the publication date. By using Google Analytics and other analytics around your blog post, including newsletters and social media, you will gain deeper insights to help you understand your blog readers.
Incorporate frequent periods into your calendar to compare posts and topics. This can be seasonal, quarterly or yearly statistic reports.
Your visitors’ statistics and reactions on social media help you to see what publication day is best, especially when you’re just starting. Accordingly, you can optimize your scheduling and workflow in the first months.
Google Calendar or other planners will bring you the overview and anchor points to stay on track. Consider using tools for collaboration, especially if you are a group of authors. CoSchedule or Airtable are scheduling and documenting platforms where people can cooperate, comment, and make decisions about a project. Here, they follow an established process with easily distinguishable tasks. It is an effective way to bring contributors together to create content efficiently.
Do you continue to subscribe to a channel that broadcasts new episodes randomly? Your favorite series stops for a few months, and you do not know when it will continue? You might stop too, right?
If you are serious about blogging, try to publish your blog posts regularly on the same day of the week with the same frequency, for example, every 4 weeks on Friday or every week on Thursday. Your continuous presence is everything. After a while your audience expects new stuff to be released. Continuity will bring you long-term followers and will make your blog life more organized.
Admit it, who of you searched for a document or file recently on a device? Conquer the chaos. Establish a folder system. Sounds trivial but simplifies your blogging.
You can create a folder system based on the type of data (images, text, audios) or stages of the blog status (notes, published articles, archive). Ideally it contains both. A suggestion of folders could be, for example: ideas, images, sources, notes, original articles, audio files, archived content, and data analysis.
Suggestion of folder structure to store blog related documents
Why is this old-school folder system useful? Besides providing you an organized informed overview of what you have and what not;
- you can use the documents as a back-up
- archive your content
- access your pool of resources quicker, such as: references, books to read or images
- have your data available offline
- store content that requires a lot of space
It does not matter if you sort your folders on the hard drive or have your entire documentation on Evernote organized in folder tabs. You can structure your data in either form or combine both.
From the idea to the published story
Turn an idea into a story
Create a workflow you can stick to easily and will follow for each blog post you are planning to publish.
The steps can look like this:
- Grab your idea
- Scribble down initial sentences, create mind maps and doodles.
- Collect relevant images and sources
- Do your research and store what you collected.
- Start writing by following your blog article structure, e.g. headline, main text, references, and tips
- Implement SEO
- Publish and promote your new article
Make sure your workflow is realistic and that you can follow this workflow on a weekly basis in your calendar.
For your blog article structure, stick to one that you prefer. Whether your blogs all end with a video link, start with an opening quote, or have an individual headline naming your brand, make sure to be consistent. Note this format down and save it as your blueprint. Follow this blog article structure every time you write your first draft.
The ultimate checklist
With regards to the blog article structure, we have a checklist for you to transform your draft version to a fully published version. It will help you to tick the must-do’s and to organize your blog categories. Furthermore, it will remind you to optimize your content for search engines.
You can also use it:
- as a template to archive your draft versions
- to distribute tasks to your co-authors (e.g., proofreading, advertising)
- as a quick last check to see if you did everything prior to publication
- as a guide creating your own personal checklist
You have a lot of work to do. Now you have guidance to complete it. If you like to take the most important thing away to manage your blog successfully, it is
A regular schedule in your calendar with a workflow to stick to, and soon blogging will become like brewing your favorite cuppa in the morning.
Are you planning to start blogging? Try the step-by-step guide.