Wow I finally did it, all my old Travel Blogger’s Toolkit posts from Going Awesome Places have been fully migrated and redirected over to Travel Blog Breakthrough. This is the first toolkit in the #TBB era and so you’re reading brand new content! Enjoy! – Will
On this week’s Travel Blogger’s Toolkit, I wanted to talk about a simple method of keeping organized that has really helped me these past couple of months. Before using this tool, I had a vague idea of posts I wanted to write but I was making decisions on the fly week to week in terms of content. This was manageable up to a certain point when I was just posting once a week but as you know, I’ve since ramped up my publishing to three times a week. Things were getting a little chaotic and I needed something to tie me down and make sure I stayed on the ball.
Problems with disorganization
- Coming up with content the week that it’s supposed to be published is pretty damn stressful
- I had scattered notes all over the place about upcoming pieces I wanted to put together
- I could never see past 1 or 2 weeks for my blog
- Since everything was in my head, sometimes I’d forget when I planned to write what
Introducing the publishing calendar
We all need a little organization in our life right? What was really looking for was a way I could visualize what posts were going out when and also at the same time keep track of different post ideas I have been waiting to get to.
Technology and implementation
You’ll probably laugh here because this is honestly not fancy. I’m not using a new startup tool or anything highly sophisticated (although there probably is a better way to do this). The tool that I’m using is Google Sheets. All I did was basically create a grid to make the spreadsheet look like a calendar and started populating it with the upcoming months.
To use Google Docs, you’re going to need a Gmail account but once you have that you’ll have full access to the suite of document related products like Docs and Sheets. If you’re familiar with Microsoft Excel at all, Sheets is going to be very easy to use.
Why I chose this
- Easy to use
- Familiar with spreadsheets
- Quick to get up and running
- It’s in the cloud so I can retrieve it on my laptop, phone or on any computer if I need it in a bind
- I love how I can customize it to the way I want with my own colors and only shows the information I need
- Full monthly calendar
- Column for notes
- Color coded – Orange for regular travel posts, blue for Travel Blogger’s Toolkit, Red for posts that still need to be done, Purple for sponsored posts
- Columns below for future post ideas and potential press trips
- First 3 rows are frozen so I can always see what day of the week it is as I scroll down
- Hide previous months that have gone by
- Doesn’t sync to a calendar (although that’s fine with me because I’d rather not clutter my main Google Calendar
- You need to “build” your calendar every month which means a bit of manual work. You have to realize that Google Sheets doesn’t have any native calendar features
- A new tool I discovered only a few months ago is called CoSchedule which is a great new tool that is calendar based that displays your editorial calendar for existing and draft posts plus helps you schedule out your social media. I’ve been using it for Going Awesome Places and it’s helped save a ton of time for all those tedious social media tasks. I love how you can see things in calendar form. What I’m testing right now is the creation of blank drafts to put placeholders on blog posts I want to schedule in. I will write a full review when I have it all figured out.
I know there’s a better way to do this but for now it’s served me well. I constantly refer to this doc to know how many weeks of extra leeway I have, what posts still need to be written, and jotting notes on brilliant new ideas I have. I also use this to know exactly when to schedule my WordPress posts after I finish writing them.
The key is that it’s all in one space and it keeps me organized.
I would love to hear from you about how you do this now. I’m always striving to do things better so just drop a comment below!
Thanks for stopping by! If you missed it earlier, I have a great post on how I got to 10K followers on Twitter in a matter of months and also how to properly leverage those H1, H2 and H3 tags properly in your blog posts. Don’t miss them!