Blogging used to be something I got around to if I had extra time or if I had something particularly present on the forefront of my mind that I wanted to share. But there was no rhyme or reason, no accountability, and because of this, blogging one post (which included writing, editing, formatting, finding/taking appropriate images and formatting those, optimizing them for web, and finally publishing and sharing) also had the potential to consume a whole day's worth of work.
Then I realized... I don't have time for that.
I also love writing and I love my blog and I didn't ever want to become resentful of that work or the result.
So I created an answer.
A few months ago I wrote about my system for organizing workflow and business tasks using Trello. That system is still evolving and I'm still tweaking it to set myself up for efficiency. But at the end of that post, I mentioned the system I designed for organizing my blog calendar using Evernote so I wanted to dig a little deeper and unpack it for anyone out there also looking for an answer to cluttered writing and blogging practices.
Evernote is a simply a organizational tool designed as a web application than can be synced across all devices. I'm able to utilize the free version which has plenty of space and capability for my needs. I have about 15 different notebooks that house information for both business and personal needs, but for the sake of blogging I have 4 notebooks.
Notebook 1. Blogging Ideas
Brainstorms go here. Notes can be simply titles or a general topic I want to write about in the future. Over time, if I think of content that supports a topic, I'll dump it in the note under its corresponding title so when I decide to flesh out that topic, I have already somewhere to start. I also make notes titled "feature: (last name of client)" every time I finish a session and it needs to be added to the blog calendar. Lastly, all notes also get a tag or two with specific keywords to help me narrow topics for my calendar.
Notebook 2. This month's blog calendar
At the end of every month, I schedule my next month's blog calendar using Google Calendar. I have posts set on repeat 3 times a week-- 1 personal, 1 business, and 1 feature. I go to my Blogging Ideas notebook, choose which posts I want to dig deeper on that month, move those notes into the "This Month's Blog Calendar" notebook, and plug the titles into the calendar dates. Sometimes I move things around a little so there's only 2 posts a week or if I have a lot of featured posts backed up, I'll cut a content post. Basically there's flexibility, but I try to schedule at least 2 posts a week and stick to them. Then, that month, all the posts I need to work on are consolidated in one easy place. I can look ahead and know what's on deck.
Notebook 3. Blog Posts
I write the content for each post in Evernote first, then copy to my website platform from there. When the post has been published, I move the content note in Evernote from 'Blogging Ideas' into 'Blog Posts.' This way I have a full, backed up version of all my content, should I ever decide to change web platforms, or need to search a certain topic (it's a challenge to constantly create new content!).
Notebook 4. General Writing
This is for posts unrelated to my blog, but ideas for articles I may want to share elsewhere or submit to an alternate publication- content that doesn't really fit my blog audience, but that I want to write about nonetheless! Gotta have a place to put all those random ideas swimming in my brain or I'd go crazy!
I also dump articles, links, and education about writing in this notebook.
Another key factor to this process is using the editorial calendar and organization to get ahead. I try to pre-write and schedule my posts as much as possible, which is made easier by seeing what's on deck that month and writing in pieces, instead of trying to sit down and crunch it all out in one sitting, which can be completely laborious and painstaking.
And let me just note for the sake of honesty, that of course there are seasons when I stray from my calendar. Ironically, this is my first post in 2 weeks because in the midst of my busiest client load in years, a family reunion, and a few unexpected obstacles distracting from my work hours. I had to prioritize and blogging took a momentary backseat. That's the beauty of being a business owner, though, and I feel blessed to be able to have that flexibility. Also, because I've been so consistent in blogging the 6 months prior, I don't have to worry about a momentary lapse here and there.
Now, instead of exhaustion, I can step back from a post and feel proud and energized by the words and message because of the intent and heart imposed in it. I'm not writing just for the sake of "getting something out there" or because "it's good for SEO." I am constantly trying to simplify, to say more with less words. I'm posting focussed, better content more often, rather than a flood of information all at once every now and then. I've also seen incredible, natural results in my search presence and as a result, client inquiries. Those are all benefits that come in the overflow of consistent and purposeful blogging. This system helps keep me innovative, accountable, organized, and efficient to communicate well and make an impact both for my business and my audience.
Bloggers out there --do you have a system for organizing your writing? Do you have any tips for this one or evernote in general? I'd love to hear them! Sound off in the comments below!