WORD OF THE MONTH // Invest

invest

March already! How did that happen? This month, we’ll focus several of our posts around the word invest. What programs do we think are worth investing your money in? What conferences or events should you definitely invest your time in? We’ll also talk about how we’ve strategically invested our time in learning new things to help us blog better.

Do you have any items, tools, or events you’ve been debating about investing in? Share them below, and we’ll do our best to cover it this month!

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ORGANIZE // How I Organize My Blog Posts in Google Calendar

using google calendar as editorial calendar

Because I write for two blogs — my own and here at The B Bar’s blog, The Well — while figuring out how to stay on top of content for both blogs, I finally developed a system that is flexible but works for me when planning posts for both blogs.

I use Google calendar to plan out my blog posts. Victoria and I have a shared Google calendar for posts here on The Well and for any deadlines and meetings we have for The B Bar, and I also have one for my own blog.

If you aren’t sure what an editorial calendar is, or you want to learn more about how to develop one we have cocktail about how to create an editorial calendar (and it’s only $10!).

using google calendar as editorial calendar

Here’s a screenshot of how I use Google calendar for my editorial calendars. My blog’s calendar is in black and The Well’s is lavender (you can customize colors for all of your calendars in Google Calendar).

What I love about using Google calendar for my editorial calendar:

+ I love that I can have multiple calendars in Google calendar — sharing a calendar with Victoria for The B Bar really helps both of us be sure of our content calendar and dates we’ve communicated about.

+ You can turn the calendars on and off and only see whichever ones you want at a time. Above I have my personal blog calendar and The Well’s editorial calendar visible, but I actually have more calendars in Google calendar.

+ You can share the calendars with other people or groups of people. Victoria and I share The Well’s calendar, and I share the calendar for my Georgetown studio with 10+ people so we can schedule meetings in the conference room and any other things going on with the studio that everyone needs to know goes on that calendar.

+ Because it’s a digital calendar I can move things around whenever I want without erasing or crossing things out with a pen. It makes my calendar so clean and flexible. I like to be able to move posts around (which I do often). Sometimes I’ll put post entries on a Sunday, not because I plan to post them that day, but just to remind myself to put them somewhere on the calendar at some point. You can see an example of this on the 22nd in the image above.

+ I put an * at the beginning of the calendar entry if I’ve already finished the post and scheduled it to go live. This way I can see what posts I’ve finished for the week/month at a quick glance. We also use the asterisk method on The Well’s editorial calendar.

+ The calendars all sync on my iPhone and iPad so I can check my calendar anywhere.

 

I also wanted to show you what my normal calendar looks like and tell you how I use Google calendar for everything else: Read the full post »

FEBRUARY POST LINKUP // Favorite Instagrammers

Blog Linkup — Instagram

It’s time for our February link-up! This month, we asked:

WHO ARE YOUR THREE FAVORITE INSTAGRAMMERS, AND WHY?

 

Like last month, we each answered the question on our personal blogs (read Meg’s answer here and Victoria’s here), and have also shared a few more favorites below.

Two of Victoria’s favorites are @alenajaffe and @lindseyalouie. Each of these accounts is like a spa retreat for the eyes — both ladies focus on sharing images in a muted black and white palette, with beautiful photo composition and contrast where it’s needed. Victoria especially likes checking out Lindsey’s simple, practical outfits (totally her style!) and Alena’s overall aesthetic…she finds the coolest stuff!

alenajaffe

@alenajaffe

lindseyalouie

@lindseyalouie

Meg recently found illustrator Ryan McAmis @rmcamis on Instagram. He’s new to the platform, but his illustrations are so fun!

rmcamis

@rmcamis

 

Turnout for this month’s linkup was truly awesome! Be sure to check out all of our participants’ favorite Instagrammers — you’ll not only discover tons of new accounts to follow, but a bunch of fabulous blogs to read as well!

 

 

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ORGANIZE // How to Plan and Organize Your Social Media Posts (+ Free Downloadable Worksheet!)

ORGANIZING on social media

Social media is undoubtedly one of the best ways to connect with your audience (and tell them about what you’re working on), but with so many platforms to keep up on, one thing I often struggle with is remembering to post on all of them — and at the right times, to boot. It can be overwhelming, no? Of course, the easiest way to do this — and here I admit, I should totally take my own advice — is to get a calendar/schedule down, so that social media post planning becomes more automated. Here are a few ideas to help you streamline, organize, and plan posts on social media (including a free worksheet to help guide you!):

1. GET STRATEGIC

Just as you should create a plan for your blog, it’s a good idea to have something similar for your social media strategy. If you have a presence on multiple platforms, think about how you want to use them and how you want to connect with your audience on each one. If you don’t spend as much time on Instagram, it makes sense that you maybe only post there a few times a week (versus a few times a day, if you were especially active on it and had a very engaged audience). Same thing with Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+ — figure out how you want to use each platform, because this will dramatically change how you plan and organize for each one (which saves you time and stress in the long run!). PSST! At the end of this post, I’ve included a free worksheet that can help you plan your content for the platforms you want to use.

2. SAVE CONTENT IDEAS

This is one thing I’ve done for link roundups on my personal blog and here on The Well, which would translate perfectly to social media content planning. In my browser (I use Chrome), I have a few different bookmark folders set up. When I’m browsing online and come across articles that I think would be of interest to my various audiences, I’ll star the page and save it to the appropriate folder. Setting up a system that allows you to save content ideas for social media can provide you with a bank of posts when you need them. You could create folders for your blog, and a separate one for social/non-blog platforms (this can help keep the content fresh/unique on specific platforms). I’ve heard of other people using products like Evernote to save specific web pages, but it’s all the same idea — create a place where you can store sharable content, making it easier to generate social posts down the line.

3. STUDY ANALYTICS

Same as with your blog, it’s worth taking a look at social media analytics to understand what types of posts do well, and more importantly, when your audience is spending time on each platform. Virtually all of the major social media platforms now have analytics dashboards (or at least third party sites that can analyze usage for you), and regardless of your individual analytics, many articles have been published discussing highest usage times on each platform. Be sure to take a look at our resources list at the end of this post to find out how you can access your analytics dashboards for the most popular social media platforms! Once you get a handle on when users are on a platform and what they like to see from you, you can…

4. GET SCHEDULING!

Armed with all the info above, it’ll hopefully become obvious when and what you should schedule on social media. CoSchedule is an awesome tool that integrates with WordPress blogs, and allows you to schedule social posts as well as blog post promotion. Latergram is an app that allows you to schedule Instagrams (it won’t post for you, but it pushes an alert to you when it’s time to post, with your picture all ready to go). TweetDeck and Hoot Suite are two great tools that allow you to schedule tweets. And of course, Facebook’s in-house post scheduler is a great tool to schedule content for your page feed.

Doing a little bit of planning around social media can really help you feel a lot more organized, and like you have a handle on how you’re using each platform!  Tell me, do you have any other tips for staying organized with social media posts?

Image via Death to the Stock Photo

RESOURCES

How to find your analytics dashboard on…

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

 

Articles on the best times to post on social media:

Fast Company, “The Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Media”

Entrepreneur, “Post Smarter: The Best Times to Use Social Media Platforms”

PR Daily, “The Best Times to Post on Social Media”

 

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY WORKSHEET HERE

(note: if you’ve already downloaded our free blog plan guide, this is a great worksheet to add to that!)

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ORGANIZE // How I Organize Offline

keeping clients organized on paper

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit it: most of my organizational tools are all web-based. I use ToDoist for my daily checklists (and this is without a doubt, the #1 organizational tool in my life!). I use Trello as a project management system with all of my web design clients. And like Meg, I rely heavily on Google Calendar to not only organize my personal life, but also my editorial calendars for The Well and my personal blog.

But there’s one area of my business that, for me, only works when I put pen to paper. And that’s when I’m jotting down notes related to client projects. These can be notes related to their initial design inspiration, notes around their revisions, or even sketches of logos or site layouts. For whatever reason, I HAVE to write these things down. I can’t type them, I can’t put them in a place like Evernote. If I do, they just don’t feel real somehow (or, worse, I’ll forget about them). I think some things in life are like that — they just have to be written down in order to feel more tactile and permanent!

In any case, I write virtually all of my notes related to design work on actual paper. I used to have this nutty post-it note system, but once my business grew, let’s just say it got a little out of hand. A little over a year ago, I adopted a new system that works incredibly well for me. And all it took was some paper and a mini binder.  Read the full post »