Productivity Tools For Beginning Bloggers

ScreenShot20120714at9.00.06AMAs a blogger, you need an organizational process and a set of tools to help you turn out content efficiently and consistently.

“Wait a minute,” you say. “Maybe the word ‘blogger' is becoming old-school?”

“Hmmm,” COLIBRI thinks. “Would it be better to call us ‘multimedia content producers?'”

Brian Clark of Copyblogger fame uses the term “entreproducer,” which gets at the idea that bloggers are entrepreneurs as well as writers, multimedia content creators and publishers. As producers, bloggers organize a project management process geared toward, eventually, selling (and selling, if you are a nonprofit, may also be defined as educating, communicating or reaching out) to an audience. In other words, we write and produce to create change.

It’s great that, today, so many people have access to publishing their ideas and the means to create change. But is it easy? No way! Anyone who has seriously blogged understands the hard work involved in blogging and if you haven’t discovered that yet, you soon will.

As a blogger, you:

  • Create content
  • Format and optimize your content and
  • Share your content

Here are some tools that will help you organize yourself and work more quickly, whether you work alone or have partners.

Using Productivity Tools to Organize the Basics

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image18942315These are productivity tools you will create yourself:

  • Persona(s): The first rule is, know your audience. COLIBRI has talked about this before, but creating a persona for your target audience(s) and keeping it handy when you write or produce multimedia content helps you focus on your client and his or her needs.
  • Editorial calendar: COLIBRI has written about why editorial calendars are important, but it can’t be overemphasized. In a nutshell, editorial calendars allow you to organize your content ahead of time, ensure sure that it meets your business needs and makes it easier to repurpose content as needed. When you have a tight deadline, you can rely on the thinking you already did and just get started writing.
  • Style Guide: This tool, which can take the form of a list or a spreadsheet, keeps track of the fonts and colors you use and style decisions you made, such as whether you will use a comma before ‘and' in a written list. Keep this document in a file with photos for social media profiles, your logo and other branding materials. This way you don’t have to waste time looking for the things you need.
  • Password spreadsheet: COLIBRI would go crazy without this tool. As a blogger and social media professional or just a person who works online, you will start to build up a large number of online accounts. COLIBRI has over 50. What is more frustrating than trying to access your favorite productivity tool and not remembering the password?

Online Productivity Tools

These are tools you find online or download as apps:

  • Google Calendar: It may be obvious, but using the Google calendar means you can share your calendar with colleagues or have different calendars for different projects. Since you have to have a Google account for platforms like YouTube and countless other free Google tools, you might as well take advantage of their calendar.
  • Google Docs: COLIBRI could talk about Google all day, but she’ll stop with Docs. Docs make sharing documents and working on group projects easier and includes a spreadsheet function, a word processing function and a presentation program similar to PowerPoint.
  • Dropbox: This tool allows you to save documents to a server, which is handy if you have, say, a desktop and laptop and want to avoid duplicates, or if you want to share larger documents or files with groups of people.
  • bitly: This link shortening tool allows you to track your links and analyze click rates and other data.
  • InboundWriter: This tool could almost be called SEO for Dummies. Plop your article into InboundWriter, insert some key words and let the program analyze your article and provide suggestions for optimization. Yay!
  • Fotoflexer: This tool is kind of like Instagram, but has more options and allows for cropping and other enhancements. COLIBRI prefers Instagram’s filters, but Fotoflexer is, well, more flexible.

Promotion Tools

These online productivity tools streamline your promotion process:

  • Hootsuite: This scheduling tool and dashboard allows you to organize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in one place, schedule tweets and status updates and performs analytics.
  • Buffer: I am a huge Buffer fan. Buffer helps you share interesting things you find online by storing and scheduling tweets and posts for you. You can use Buffer to promote your own posts or other people's posts. After all, promoting other people's work is one of the best parts of being a blogger. Love it!
  • WiseStamp: This little app makes it possible to customize your email signature, including a logo, but it also allows you to add a feed for your latest posts. Your email works double time and you don’t have to shout.

Hardware

Smart phone: Don’t leave home without a smart phone! COLIBRI loves her iPhone. Whatever phone you use, having a camera, video and access to apps means you can take care of business on the go. Having an iPhone (no, Apple is not one of COLIBRI's affiliates) means smooth integration with a laptop or desktop and thus quicker, more painless productivity.

Okay, friends. Use these productivity tools and let COLIBRI know what you think in the comments section. Or, better yet, share your own productivity tools.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I think a great tool that all beginning bloggers could benefit from is Zemanta. It’s a tool that reads your post and finds relevant pictures, links, articles, and tags and allows you to pick and choose which to add–it’s great!

  2. I couldn’t live without Keeper — it’s a password app for iPhone and Android. It encrypts the data you store and keeps it in the cloud so you never have to worry about losing it. TOTALLY recommend them.

  3. Zemanta sounds like a great time saver. It seems like something that would help you understand, too, how your posts seem to other “people” even if the post is being read by an algorithm. . . .