This month, BlogHer University is all about finding balance between your blogging and your life.
It sounds simple for someone like me who considers herself to be a “life blogger.” The way it’s supposed to work for me is that I live my life, and then I blog about it. Everything works in harmony, right? Sometimes.
The truth is, sometimes life gets in the way of blogging, and sometimes blogging gets in the way of life. Ask any seasoned blogger who’s had an online life for a million years–in internet time, anyway–and they’ll tell you that it’s okay to be a little imbalanced in this regard. If we get so wrapped up in our internet life that we forget about or neglect the “in real life” (IRL) stuff, what’s the use?
Public Domain Image via Pixabay
Scheduling is the easy fix for a blogger or social media master who happens to live a very full IRL life. When I know that I’ve got an especially packed calendar on the horizon, I take a little time to plan ahead so my online presence (even if it decreases a bit) doesn’t diminish completely when I’m busy doing other things. Here are a few easy cheats (err, tricks) that I highly recommend:
Hootsuite is a great virtual assistant. You can link it to your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts, and then schedule posts as far in advance as you’d like on any or all of the joined accounts at once.
I use Hootsuite all the time when I’m scheduling tweets for the BlogHer Influencer Network. One feature I especially love with Hootsuite scheduling is that I can request that an email be sent to me when my post is published. This helps me remember to go back and log the proper information when I’m doing sponsor work.
Facebook scheduling directly on business and blog pages is a great way to stick to an editorial calendar or schedule posts that you hope will ignite conversation in the community you’ve created.
It’s super easy to use; instead of clicking “publish” on your page, drop the adjacent arrow down to find “schedule,” “backdate” and “save draft” options. At any time you can check out a list of what you have scheduled and —should you need to make edits —you have that ability.
Google Calendar is something I live by and probably my most-used tool (or trick). I put virtually everything I do in every area of life on my calendar. I even have separate calendars set up for family activities, work, Listen To Your Mother (I’m the National New Cities Mentor and a co-producer of the Chicago show), blogging, meal planning, and bill paying.
Whenever I agree to write a post (like this one!) or promote something online, it goes on my calendar. One advantage of Google Calendar is that I can access it from anywhere —I can’t remember what life was like before I was able to pull my phone out in public to check my schedule!
Reminders in Google Calendar are in the form of pop-ups or emails, or both, and you can schedule them minutes, hours, or days in advance.
- Keeping lists in my phone (I use the Wunderlist app) of pictures I want to post on Instagram and when I want to post them, blog post ideas I have on the fly, and a variety of other things keeps me organized in a whole different way. If life gets too overwhelming and I need a quick idea, I open up Wunderlist and find one.
Writing blog posts in advance and scheduling them to publish when I know I’m going to be away from my site for extended periods is something I do on occasion but not as much as I used to. This takes a lot of thought and planning, and I can’t always afford that.
I have accepted over the past couple of years that if I’m trying to achieve true balance in life and blogging, it really shouldn’t matter if my blog isn’t updated for a few days (or, ahem, a couple of weeks). My readers will be there when I return, and just reminding myself of that takes a load off of my back.
I have used Twitterfeed for years, to auto-tweet every time I publish a new post. (It works with other platforms now, as well.) You can create a custom tweet-starter —mine is “I wrote this:”–and even add a custom hashtag, like #TheNameOfYourBlog. This is a “set it and forget it” site, which I love.
Another shortcut, depending on your blog platform, is to link your blog to your social sites and each new post will be automatically promoted without any thought from you. Easy peasy!
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg: there are too many tools out there to address in just one post. Tell me: what are YOUR tricks of the trade?
Stay tuned this month in BlogHer University and join us on Fridays from 12-1 CT on Twitter with the hashtag #BlogHerU as we discuss blog/life balance.