How to Be an Efficient Blogger
We certainly are not claiming to be the most efficient bloggers out there, and we’re guessing our husbands will attest to the fact that we spend way too many hours hunched over our laptops. Guilty. But we will say that we’ve gotten much better at becoming more efficient with our blog and the technical, not-so-fun, behind the scenes stuff associated with running your own small business.
The truth is with 2 full-time jobs, we’re forced to try to be as efficient as possible with The DIY Playbook. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to devote to both blogging, our jobs, families, husbands, and social lives.
But we must stress that every blogger is different and has her own way of doing things. Some people blog the night before their post goes live, some don’t know what they’re blogging about until they wake up that morning, and others plan content out 6 months in advance. There is no “right way” to blog and you really have to do what is best for you and your lifestyle. We’ve figured out what works for us and wanted to share some of our tried & true methods towards becoming more efficient bloggers.
Draft Email Templates
Our policy for our email account is that we respond to every email we receive within 24 hours of receiving it. We want to be personable in these responses, however we have a limited time to make these responses happen. To combat this time factor, we recently started implementing draft email templates, and we can’t believe how much time this method saves us. Why didn’t we think of this sooner?! We receive countless emails throughout any given day and found that many of these emails have similar topics such as:
1. Companies reaching out with interest teaming up on a sponsored post
2. Companies reaching out seeking our advertising rates
3. Individuals reaching out with interest to write a “guest post” on DIY Playbook.
4. Websites seeking permission to use our photos/blog content
We have drafts already created that address each of these topics (and a few more random things), which allows us to respond to these inquiries appropriately and efficiently. We copy and paste the response into the new email and add a personal touch to both the intro and conclusion of the email. This way, we are answering each email with the necessary information, still being personal, yet not wasting valuable time re-writing the same emails over and over and over again. Simple change that has made a WORLD of a difference!
Truth: We canNOT function without the organization and information that our Google Calendar offers us. The google calendar may not work for everyone, but for us, it’s absolutely essential in operating the DIY Playbook. Like we mentioned before, we typically have our posts planned up to two months in advance and written/scheduled AT LEAST 2 weeks ahead of time. Yes, some bloggers may think this is absolutely nuts (we get it…), yet we also know that we don’t have a lot of time during the week to devote to “real-time blogging” because of our other jobs. Scheduling posts and completing them in advance is really the only option for our lifestyle.
Here’s how our calendar works: We typically write the post topic on the calendar when we brainstorm it and choose a date OR when we make an agreement with a company to write a sponsored post. The post topic will appear on the calendar as a YELLOW event on the Google calendar that we share. Once the post is completely done (photos added, post written, links checked for accuracy, writing edited, etc.) then whoever is “in charge” of that post will change the color of the event to GREEN on the calendar. Once the post is green on the calendar, this indicates to the other one that the post is completely done and ready for the other to read it over and do any last minute edits. Does that make sense?!
We also use the calendar for traditional purposes like scheduling meetings, tracking phone conferences, reminding us to pay our bills, etc. Overall, this system totally keeps us organized and allows us to look at the blog’s content as a whole, meaning we like to keep the content diverse and not schedule too many similar posts near each other.
Google Drive is Our Friend
We were skeptical of Google Drive when we first started blogging, but have quickly learned the Google Drive is the bomb dot com. But just like the calendar, it’s important (for us) to keep it organized and be very methodical when using it. And trust us, this organization and structure did NOT come overnight and has been a labor of serious trial and error…. emphasis on the “error”.
Our Google Drive is home to any important document that we use and need to refer back to. We try to scan all of our contracts into google drive to reference when completing a partnership with a brand. Google Drive is also home to all of our financial records (thanks to FINN’s hard work!). He set up a detailed spreadsheet on the drive that tracks our invoices, payments, expenses, etc. He then takes this data and implements it into Excel using his analytical magic (but that’s a story for a different day) <– maybe this Thursday? The drive is also home to our videos, our blog questionnaire results, and any other projects that we need to keep records on (costs, future plans, ideas, notes, product lists, etc).
We love the drive because we can pull it up on any computer and both of us have “live” access to it at the same time. Heck, if we’re both working on the same document, we will chat right inside of the document via text. Overall, Google Drive is definitely your friend, your very best blogging friend.
Do Things All at Once
No, we’re not talking about multitasking here. Instead, we think it’s best to split up the main tasks of blogging (pictures, photo editing, writing) and tackle each one all at once. Since you’re taking your photo equipment out already, take pictures for the next few blog posts. You might as well make one big mess, instead of having to get your camera out again the next day. Then we’ll typically edit all of our photos at one time. We’ll both just sit and knock out photos for multiple posts and then upload them into WordPress. This usually happens when catching up on TV or doing other mindless tasks. Finally, we’ll knock out a few blog posts. The writing portion usually happens when we’ve carved out a good chunk of time to sit quietly and just get ‘er done. This system works for us and keeps us from continuously jumping from one task to the next.
Like we said, we are definitely not claiming to be the most efficient bloggers ever, but these tricks have helped us make the most of our time blogging. But let’s be real…. there’s always room for improvement and we are always on the hunt for suggestions or new tips! If you have any tips for us… we are all ears!
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.