Squeezing the “Other Stuff” into The Life of a Part-Time Blogger
Note from Lana | Lifestyle Queen Bee: Many of us bloggers aren’t living the glamorous life of being paid to travel, wear expensive clothes & use amazing products. Although it is our dream to eventually quit our 9 to 5’s to be paid to do what we love, the reality is, the majority of us blog on the side. If you say keeping your blog up to date, finding new, exciting content to write about and all the behind the scenes work like social media promotion/engagement, etc is easy…well, my friend, you would be lying. yes, there are times when things seem to run smoothly and that much needed Editorial Calendar of yours keeps you on track. But like it always does, life tends to get in the way and often at the most inconvenient of times. This can throw life into utter chaos and brings everything it touches into the hurricane. Today’s guest post, written by the amazing Katy Walton, is here to help you get all those ‘behind the scenes’ pieces into place so that you feel like you can keep your head over ‘blogging’ waters.
When I started blogging, I thought it was just about taking photos of my outfits and writing about them. Well, that was after two disastrous blogs that read more like the existential crisis of a teenage girl. But it only took a couple of months before I realised that being a blogger meant…
- Writing blog posts
- Regularly tweeting out new and old posts
- Joining networks and becoming affiliate members
- Reading and commenting on other blogs in the same niche so that you know what’s going on
- Running this, that or the other social media platform in order to grow your audience
- Taking photos, editing them and occasionally adding other elements where needed
- Writing About Me, Contact, and other pages
- Networking with and befriending other bloggers in order to support and encourage each other
- Guest posting on other blogs
That is a little bit more than just writing and taking photos. It’s fine if you make a living out of your blog and can spend a full working day of 8 hours on it. For most bloggers, that is a dream they can only aim for while working in the office (or wherever) in order to pay the bills.
[ Finding An Admin Balance ]
The first part about fitting in the “other stuff” with work and writing blog posts is to figure out what counts as what. So first up is blogging admin. This is all the stuff that enables you to run and tell people about your blog, like posting on social media and commenting on other blogs.
The thing about this admin stuff is that it can be done in small sections whenever you have some free times. It’s all about setting up a routine. The easiest place to start is creating a schedule for updating and interacting on social media. My favourite apps for this are Buffer and IFTTT, which makes social media so much easier. From automatically posting from Instagram to Twitter so that the photo shows through to scheduling pins, tweets and posts for specific points of the day, it actually frees up time.
IFTTT allows you to set up automated sequences so that you don’t have to think about it. For example, whenever I tag an Instagram post with #CounterCulturalCounterCouture it will appear on the Facebook page automatically. Though it will have the same copy on both posts, this allows you to share across platforms with minimal effort. You can also use IFTTT to automatically add the name, URL and tags of a new post to a Google spreadsheet so that you have a list of posts available at a moment’s notice.
Buffer is a scheduling app and website, that allows you to post to most of the major platforms. Though I use it for Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, Twitter is when it comes into its own. Using the spreadsheet created by IFTTT (told you it would be useful), I’m able to create tweets that are uploaded to Buffer to be scheduled as many times a day as I think is necessary. The extra time-saving method is to add a column to the spreadsheet of evergreen (won’t lose relevance over time) tweets. This means you just have to add tweets for each month’s new posts and then upload them to Buffer to be scheduled.
Whether it’s setting up a new IFTT or scheduling posts on Buffer, these jobs can be done in half an hour slots. I probably spend no more time on scheduling than an hour at a time.
The other piece of admin that you can do in even less than 30 minutes is the more fun part… interacting and engaging with people on social media. Along with the casual flick through when I have a spare minute or two, I have set aside 10-15 minutes Monday-Thursday where I can dedicate time to one platform per day for engagement. From checking out the Facebook feed for your blog page likes through to talking with people on Twitter, a dedicated 10-15 minutes a week allows you to purposefully engage with and to build your audience. This can be done in your lunch hour or during a coffee break!
But don’t comment on Instagram with just an emoji!
[ Setting Aside Blocked Time ]
Now that we’ve dealt with the admin, we need to think about the other “other stuff”. In other words, editing the photos and creating graphics for posts and social media. This does take more time, easily up to an hour just to perfect one awkward graphic. However, if you’re using either an image-based platform like Instagram or Pinterest, or if you want images with texts in posts, creating your own becomes an important part of your blog style/brand.
So where do you find the time to create these graphics? I’m afraid there is only one way… You have to purposely set aside time to do it.
Now I know you think that this was supposed to be full of cheats on how to minimise blogging tasks to take practically no time. Sorry but good graphic design takes time. The only way is to set aside purposeful graphic design time. By doing this you can focus 100% on the design, allowing you to finish quicker and to a better standard. The other option is sneaking in 5 minutes here and there. No one ever completed a graphic to a high standard in 5-minute slots.
Blocking off time isn’t great just for creating focused graphics. Anything that requires you to focus will benefit from specific set-aside time for it. Even better, by setting aside time, you know when you can rest, do housework and socialise without it stopping you from running an amazing blog.
Planning out when to do “other blog stuff” means that you can be a blogger with a life!
[ Scheduling is Queen ]
When I started blogging, I was told “Content is King”. In that case, I’m crowning scheduling queen. Whether you are scheduling social media posts or time for graphic design, you’ll be able to not only squeeze the “other stuff” into your life but to do it with ease.
So now you can enjoy living your unique life… without worrying about when you need to share your blog on Twitter.
Thanks, Katy for this great post reminding us not only how important blog admin work is but how much easier life can be when you take the time to plan for it!
What are some ways you balance your blog admin work? Share in the comments below!
If you’re interested in submitting a guest post to the blog, send me your idea via the Collabs page!
Now get to work planning your Admin time! 🙂