Lesson 25 – How to Manage Blog Posts and Get Ideas

In order to write blog posts, you’ll need ideas. Ideas can from from anywhere. For this reason, we’ll need some tools, so you can jot down ideas, no matter where you are, or what time it is. Then we’ll need the tool for where you write the content. Finally you’ll want to keep track of the evolution from idea to published blog post.

How to Manage Blog Posts

It’s important to have a plan for how you’ll manage your content, before you start writing it. Otherwise you’ll find yourself 10 posts, or worse, a year in, with no real tracking for what you’ve published, and where the source information is.

I like the idea of having a “Blog Post Profile” on everything I’ve published. I do this in Evernote. A perfect blog post profile will contain the links to the document (where the post was originally written), the video URLS (Vimeo & YouTube), images used in the post, and any links to reference materials elsewhere on the web. Also if you offered a download in the post, such as a PDF file, that should be there too.

If your website crashed, and your hosting provider told you that the data could not be recovered, your blog post profiles would serve as a backup for you to re-create that content. For that matter, if you ever needed to, you could use that blog post profile to recreate the exact content (or another version) anywhere.

The other way I find these profiles handy, is when someone asks me if I have a blog or video on “XYZ topic,” I find it is easier and faster to search in Evernote. Once I find the blog post profile, I can share anything with them, but usually I send them the blog post URL, because I want the traffic. I don’t want to send them to Vimeo, or YouTube.

Now we need to decide where to write the content. For this I have settled in on Google Drive. For one thing, I can pull up a Google Doc from anywhere, with my mobile device. Don’t worry about organizing it. You can do that later, when you are at your computer. Write it in your root My Drive folder.

You can also just write in Evernote, especially if you want to create something on the fly. I’ve written some great content while waiting for a haircut.

I wrote this one, while I was hanging out by myself at my favorite bar / restaurant:

Almost Normal

I wrote it directly in Google Docs, using my tablet. I closed my tablet (as the article itself describes), actually the owner of The Morrison closed it. Good thing it was Google docs, and not an unsaved Word doc. When I got home that night, I sat at my computer, and everything was there, waiting for me to finish. I didn’t even have to open my tablet.

Keep in mind that you will need to copy and paste your blog post into WordPress. Some apps work better than others. Google docs works pretty well. You get extra paragraphs, that need to be removed, but this is a quick process and a small price to pay for having everything archived in Google Docs, which isn’t going anywhere, and is easy to access.

The last time I tried to copy and paste a blog post from Evernote, I recall having to do a lot of cleaning up in WordPress.

Penzu works well. In fact I’ve found it copies and pastes perfectly into WordPress, but Penzu scares me, as an app, and a company. When I go online looking for support, their Facebook page, for example, feels like a ghost town. If I felt more confident in Penzu as a company, I would probably use it.

What about your ideas?

There are so many places you can do this, but if you’re going to use Evernote, I would stick with that. Keep it simple. Use a tag called Blog Post Ideas, and perhaps a separate notebook. In fact you can create a whole workflow in Evernote.

Have a notebooks Stack called, “Blog Posts.”

Then a notebook inside of that for “Blog Post Ideas.”

When you produce an idea move it to a notebook called, “Blog Post Profiles.”

So the note that started out as an idea, winds up as the full profile with all of the attachments and information I mentioned above.

Other apps that work really well for managing your blog posts:

  • Wunderlist
  • ActiveCollab
  • Smartsheet
  • Google Keep
  • Google Sheets
  • Workflowy
  • Dynalist – like Workflowy but a lot more features, and a much better mobile app

How to Write Blog Posts

It seems funny to write you and tell you how to write. Mechanically it’s very simple. Open up a Google Doc and start writing. The next lesson will be devoted to this, exclusively.

So let’s talk about some stumbling blocks.

You might hung up on the actual writing part, because you’re thinking about structure, or SEO, or the right title.

Here’s my short, sweet, and crass answer:

Fuck all of that, and just start writing. Let the content write itself, and as much as possible write from your heart. The rest will follow. I promise. When you learn how to use Yoast SEO in the next lesson, you will learn how you clean it up and optimize it. For now just write.

Now where to get ideas from?

Start with the questions you are asked frequently. This is almost selfishly motivated, so you don’t need to keep answering the same questions over and over. It will be so nice to be able to send them a link, and have them watch the video. And since most of the questions you’re getting asked, probably have to do with how to do something in QuickBooks, the best way to help someone is to show them.

Next , visit forums, where people are asking questions. Write the content, record the video, and answer the question. Then go post an answer in the forum and link back to your post.

Here are some examples of places where you can do this:

  • Quora (QuickBooks Online Questions)
  • Of course our group on Facebook – BWAM
  • Feedly – Start adding in all of the sources of content that you like to read. Read the headlines every day, then read the stuff that interests you.
    • This will spark ideas as you read.
    • The articles themselves, may be something you can do your own version of.
  • Sometimes I go back to my sources for content ideas that I’ve logged, and that sparks new or related ideas.
  • Networking – talking to people is where I get the MOST ideas from, here’s an example:

My wife and I were talking on the morning I happened to be writing this. She hates working at her job. Not because she doesn’t like the job. She loves the job itself, actually, but she hates driving, and she hates working for “someone else.” She really wants to start her own business and work from home.

She’s been doing some research, and wants to become a Virtual Assistant. My wife is not the type to just jump in and do it (I am). She wants to do her research. This morning she told me that she had compiled a list of apps that she needs to learn.

And this is how a new course was born.

Course 10 – The Virtual Assistant’s Toolkit of Apps (Coming soon…)

I was curious, so I asked her to read off the list:

  • Google Apps (G Suite)
  • Dropbox Business
  • Huddle
  • Time Doctor
  • Bufferapp
  • MeetEdgar
  • Canva
  • Drumup
  • Post Planner
  • Doodle
  • Word Time Buddy
  • Nirvana
  • EZ Talk Cloud Meeting
  • Join.me
  • Uber Confreence
  • Skype
  • Hello Fax
  • Siri
  • Cortana
  • Mirmax
  • Minute Hero

Some of these I never heard of. Some I will replace. Now you have a list of apps you can do your own research on. You know these are being recommended to Virtual Assistants. Why not target them as clients for YOUR services. They can use you. Many of them offer bookkeeping as a service, but most of them don’t have any real bookkeeping background. That’s where you can help them. Train them, or do it for them. Let them outsource that work to you.

Ideas can come from anywhere. A lot of it is just paying attention and being present. When your mind wanders you miss what is right in front of you. This is why balance was so important to me, in developing this course. When you are better balanced, you are better focused and more in the moment. If you’re tired, get some rest. If you’re hungry eat something, but do it sensibly. Whatever you’re doing, and wherever you are, work on staying in the moment. Pay attention to your surroundings. The ideas will come.

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