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Last Saturday I spoke at Blog Camp about how to save time as a blogger and I had lots of requests for my talk to be put online, so here it is. It’s worth bearing in mind that I have a content schedule which means I publish between 2 and 4 times a day. This is due to the amount of brand work I do and my desire to keep a good balance of personal and third party content. Just because I do all of these things to help save me time, doesn’t mean you have to, or even need to, if you are posting once a day or less frequently. If you take one thing away from this that you weren’t doing before I will be happy! So on with the talk.
What do I know about saving time?
- I started the blog when on maternity leave, with PND and looking after my 5 month old daughter full time.
- I earned my first pennies from my blog after 4 months of blogging & was a professional blogger earning more than I did in my previous job after 18 months.
- I also have a collaborative blog Live. Love. Blog.
- I put any success down to working really hard, being obsessed and saving time wherever I can!
Why you need to save time?
- As bloggers, we are always doing multiple things; working and blogging, running a house and blogging, looking after children and blogging. We have so many things demanding our time and so we need to take back any time we can.
- Even a few seconds here and there all adds up to give us more precious time.
How we can save time?
- Batching – Same type of task at the same time.
- Automation – Any repeated task automate them!
- Scheduling – Time and content.
- Using the time you have wisely.
- nb. being busy and being productive is not the same thing.
- Chunk the same tasks to be done at the same time.
- For example; spend a couple of hours on a Saturday morning taking all the pictures you need for outstanding posts. This would mean less time setting up the camera and you might catch some good light too.
- Have an afternoon or even a couple of hours just doing social media commenting
- WE ARE LESS PRODUCTIVE IF WE MULTI TASK!
- Deep and narrow is the way to get things done.
- If you repeat any task over and over again, find a way to automate it.
- Example tasks might be; typing the same response to an initial PR enquiry. Responding about a guest post. typing out your social media handles, your blog address, your postal address!
- There are various ways in which you can automate/semi automate these repetitive tasks.
- IF THIS THEN THAT (ITTT) – enables you to use recipes (or create your own!) to automate tasks.
- How I use ITTT
- IG to Twitter as a picture not just a link.
- WordPress to Pinterest board. This is my favourite thing, as if I forget to pin I know my content is still being automatically pinned.
- Youtube upload to Google drive doc. This gives me a handy record of all my YT uploads and their links.
- Canned email responses – set up auto responses/rules/filters for your email.
Scheduling – Content
- You can’t do everything. Scheduling allows you more time to be present & effective in parts of your blog life that need you most. Think about how you can help others more, so you could respond to a comment they left on your blog or you could go and retweet or share one of their posts. They would benefit so much more from the share to your audience and it is quicker too.
- Schedule posts on social media
- Twitter: I use social oomph* as it requires the least amount of time from me for biggest payoff. You can pop in a tweet, set the schedule, i.e, once every 10 hours; then set the frequency or even just pop a ‘0’ in and it will run forever! Buffer, coschedule, twuffer, hootsuite, edgar, etc etc.
- Schedule FaceBook in Facebook itself for better reach.
- Instagram: depends on the type of feed you have. schedule through buffergram is most time efficient as it actually pushes through to Instagram for you, unlike other schedulers. Later (formerly latergramme is also a good option).
- Pinterest: Tailwind is pretty epic. Board booster is another popular option.
- Youtube: schedule videos as you upload them (make them public as uploading, add play lists, then change to schedule).
Scheduling – Time = More Focused
- Take time to schedule/plan your work. Even a 5 minute brain storm can get your thoughts in order so you can hit the ground running when you have your work time.
- Use a timer – 10 minutes on social media/30 mins to write a post etc. Being your own boss/in charge of your own time means there is no-one kicking you out of the office at 5.30pm, so you need to impose time pressures on yourself to keep your work rate and productivity up.
- Use a diary management system – bullet journal, diary, trello. I use a Bullet Journal for my daily to do lists and various other lists, but Trello for projects, as a space to store weblinks, ideas, information especially the info with links attached which won’t be stored easily in a bullet journal. Trello is definitely worth a look, as it’s so flexible and you can set it up exactly how you want it. Great for collaborations too.
- Use an editorial calendar for your blog – editorial calendar plugin for WP or excel spreadsheet.
- Have a list of topic ideas ready to write. Even just the title in a draft post.
Working Speed Hacks
- Keyboard shortcuts – Once set up (Mac users – system preferences – keyboard+/- auto text) a couple of key presses and text magically appears!
Examples of mine – 13C = my address pops up/ KR = Kind Regards/ Prinitial = Paragraph of text with fees and information about working with me / YBMMKlout / YBMMig / youbaby = my email / yweb = Web address – handy for responding quickly to ops on fb! These save me SOOOO much time.
- Shortcuts for tasks – i.e. cmd + w = close window
- Boomerang for Email – send your links to PRs when you are scheduling the post. Boomerang will send later, meaning you can write, schedule the post and the email. So you don’t have to go back into everything when the post is live.
- Feedly – A fabulous way to keep on top of blog commenting – different lists keep me organised, like my ‘Daily Must Reads’.
- Close windows/distraction free writing in WP – to increase focus
- Copy to draft plug in – A WP plug in that enables you to duplicate a post and then change some details and publish it as a new post. Very handy if you run a linky or you join in regularly with some, saves you entering all the badge codes each week.
- Use Lightroom – Catalogues your images so you can type in; Sarah, garden, bubbles and all of the images you have tagged with those categories will appear! Also replicates one edit on countless images in a few clicks. Serious time saver and your pictures will look gorgeous too!
- Shortcode excel doc – I have a document with Date/Title/Shortcode/Emailed/FB/Twitter and I complete this for each post I write. It makes it very quick to find a url of a certain post. I use highlighters to remind me when something is scheduled and if it still needs to be scheduled, emailed to PRs or scheduled on social media. If my row is all grey, it’s all good to go!
- SEO – Save time use Yoast WP plugin.
- Coschedule Headline Analyser /Hubspot topic generator. Great tools to help you improve your headlines and find topic ideas.
- Write the post you have time to write.
- Think about when you are most productive and try to organise your work accordingly.
- Think before you write. When you are waiting outside school or waiting for the kettle to boil. Plan the post in your head.
- Save content you see on Facebook, so you always have great stuff to share on your page.
- Printable to do list, saves time formatting each day and you can add it things you do everyday.
- Use Canva for your media pack and any document that you need to regularly update.
- Bookmark stock photo websites that are good – Kaboom pics, Unsplash, DTSP.
- Organise inbox – waiting for response/waiting for product folders. So I can go straight to that folder, chase things or re-file the email when it has arrived or I have spoken to the person and received my response.
So there you have it, minus a slight tech issue and a distinct lack of time, you haven’t missed anything by not being in the session!
* Affiliate link. This means I get a few pennies if you sign up. I only recommend products I use and I pay for social oomph each month like everyone else.