Friday, 18 March 2016
How I Organise My Blog With Excel
Having mentioned in a couple of Twitter chats that I have quite an obsessive Excel spreadsheet to help me organise my blogging, a few people have said that they'd like to see how I do that. Since setting up my spreadsheet last May, I've found I've been able to stick much more consistently to posting every other day; I do occasionally pop in an extra post or skip a day if needs be, but for the most part posting alternate days seems to work well for me! I have quite a few worksheets in my Excel file, so let's have a little look at what they cover...
My first three tabs are PR-related; I keep one sheet for contact details of PRs I've worked with and the brands they represent; one for PR samples; and one for sponsored posts. This helps me to easily keep track of things like products I've been sent, the date I received a product, and whether I've sent a link back to the PR once I've posted about the product - I like having everything in one place, it makes it so easy to refer back to and means nothing gets forgotten.
My next tabs are my planning space; I have a new sheet for each month, and this is where I plan out content for the month. You can see February's below; I fill in the dates down the left-hand side, along with a space for each day's post title or idea. So from this I can see what will be posted when, and try to make sure I space things out a little so I don't end up posting six reviews in a row or whatever. I can fill in regular features, like my Empties post on the last day of the month, straight away, and the rest gets filled in as I come up with ideas, have products to review, or am offered a sponsored post, say.
Things do get shuffled around, for example if I don't feel like I've tried a product thoroughly enough to review it then I might swap it back a week or two and move something else forward. My Excel obsessiveness doesn't mean no flexibility, as it's easy enough to cut and paste! Next to each post I highlight if it contains a PR sample (I like to spread those out if I can) or is a sponsored post (ditto), and I also fill in where I'm up to - so I can see at a glance if a post is started or written up fully, whether I've taken photos for it and edited them, and whether it's scheduled. March is all planned out, but April isn't quite filled up yet (posts blanked out so I don't ruin the surprise!) - you can see I've started drafting some posts, though, and I've taken photos for some as well.
My 'Misc' tab is exactly that - I just use this to keep a note of things like hex codes for my font colours and affiliate links, just for quick reference, as well as any links I might need to refer back to and that sort of thing. My 'Stats' tab is updated each month, which you can see below - I don't worry about this too much, I just find it really interesting! I like to have it all in one place so I can see how it changes from month to month; I'm just a bit of a stats nerd, really. And finally, the 'RTs' tab is just where I keep a note of Twitter RT accounts and hashtags to include in my promo tweets - I like to try new ones and see which are the most effective in getting my tweets to a wider audience.
And that's it! It might seem like a lot but it doesn't take a lot of time and it makes me feel a lot more in control of what I've got to do. And just to clarify, I'm not by any means suggesting you need a spreadsheet in order to be a blogger; this is literally just what I do, because people said they were interested! Do you use Excel for your blog, or another means of planning? I'd love to see how you keep yourself organised, or if you just blog when you feel like it!