Blogging has been a great way for me to make some side money. And for almost two years after graduate school, it was actually my sole source of income. This, however, required taking on a hefty number of articles per month and I quickly found myself in need of a system to keep things in order. Pulling from that experience (and more recent breakthroughs), I’ve decided to take some time today to offer five organization tips for bloggers that’ll help you maximize productivity and allow you to spend more precious time away from your computer.
Tip #1: It Starts With Your Inbox
As your client list increases, you’re going to have to organize your email inbox. Trust me when I say you don’t want to waste time digging around in the archives of your inbox to find the exact specifications for that article you were supposed to turn in a week ago. It’s so much easier to keep things organized as you grow if you put a system in place now.
And, fortunately, putting a system in place shouldn’t take that much time. Of course, we all like to organize differently, so I suggest using whatever method you desire. For me, I simply organize either by client or by the platform through which I found that client. If I choose the latter, I then create a “subfolder” for each client that I found through that platform.
Each time you read and respond to an email from a client, move the email to that client’s folder. When you find yourself needing to go back and find information that a client provided to you at the start of your relationship (such as website passwords, article specifications, etc.) you’ll only have to sort through emails from that client to find what you need.
Tip #2: Folders, Folder, Folders
The manner in which you choose to organize the actual content you’re creating will depend upon the content creation platform that you’re using. If you’re primarily creating content using Google Drive, you’ll find it helpful to create a folder in your Drive for each client. The problem, however, with Google Drive can be that you’ll eventually need to pay for additional storage space.
For longstanding client relationships, you might even want to start organizing content for specific clients into month-by-month folders. That way, if you need to retrieve something three (or more!) months down the line, you can more easily locate what you wrote in August of 2016 rather than sorting through a giant stack of content.
Folders are your friends! Creating a folder system for each client may also prove useful if you ever decide to pass a client on to another writer. In this case, you’d easily be able to transfer any relevant content without first proceeding through an exhaustive search throughout your computer.
Tip #3: Create A Content Calendar
Create a spreadsheet with articles and due dates for all of your clients. You can organize by client, article type, due date, or whatever category you prefer. But having one place to go where you can see what is due when and for whom, is extremely valuable when it comes to staying organized with a boatload of content on your plate.
I’ve found content calendars to also be extremely useful when it comes to my personal blogs as well. I sit down every 3-4 months, do some keyword research, and plan out weekly topics for my blog. Last time, I even went so far as to plan out desired due dates for every article (in an effort to keep myself more accountable).
Even if you’re unable to stick to those aforementioned due dates, however, (life gets in the way sometimes) it’ll be useful for you to be able to go back to that calendar and see where you left off whenever you have free time to post something new to your blog. This way, you only have to brainstorm topics 3 or 4 times per year and the rest of the time can be spent writing and optimizing the actual content.
Tip #4: Set Reminders
Creating a content calendar and syncing it to your phone (or another device) will also allow you to set reminders when due dates are approaching. If you’re in up to your head in client work, these reminders can save you from missing a deadline or spacing an article entirely.
I’ve been there. I’ve had far too much work without having a system for organizing what is due when. Then, when I forgot something I’d get that nervous, pit-of-your-stomach tightness that we all feel when we screw up and let someone (or ourselves) down. You’ll save yourself this feeling if you set a reminder (or two) that helps you stay on track when you’re juggling multiple clients and multiple weekly deadlines.
Tip #5: Back Up Your Work
Anyone who has been in the position of having their laptop croak right before their final term paper or presentation is due can relate to this one. Backup everything early and often. External hard drives really aren’t that expensive these days and you can pay $1.99/month for 100GB of storage on Google Drive.
Backing up your work will save you time, energy, and frustration when (and if) your computer decides to take an extended nap at an inopportune moment. When you go to buy an external hard drive, however, make sure that it’s compatible with the specific model of computer you’re working with. Most drives can be reprogrammed if needed, but it’s easy to buy one that’s right for your computer the first time around, in my opinion.
What Helps You Stay Organized?
If you’re trying to manage content for a number of clients, do you utilize any of the strategies I mentioned above? If so, why do you like them? If not, what strategies do you use to keep things straight? I’m always in search of new (and intelligent) ways to hone my craft and I’d love to connect with you if you’re also creating an online income and manifesting a location-independent lifestyle.
I’d be very grateful if you left a comment below letting me know if you found this article useful or if you’d like to see an article on a different topic entirely. I will respond as soon as possible and I appreciate and welcome any and all comments (although I do reserve the right to remove comments if I find them offensive or inappropriate).
I’d also be thankful if you choose to share these organization tips with others, especially if you found it particularly insightful or helpful. Be sure to tag @ballisterwriting on Facebook or Instagram if you do! The point of social media, after all, is to be SOCIAL! I don’t need followers or likes, but I’d like to contribute to a real conversation about how we continue to improve as a society and as individuals.
Cheers to Keeping Things Organized!